Disclaimer: Don't own any part of Gundam Wing or the characters, more's the pity. This is for fun...no profit involved.

Warnings: AU, yaoi, swearing, bigotry, some OOC

Pairings: 1X2 eventually, 3X4 also eventually

A/N: I have to apologize for how long this took. One thing after another conspired against me (including myself since I got a puppy who sucked up a LOT of my time in the late summer and fall). I will try to do better, promise!

SMOKY HILLS

"After selling the latest batch of 'shine, I'll be able to pay the taxes and have enough left over to maybe buy Jenny one of those fancy dresses they sell in the shop in town. She deserves the best—the very best of everything. As hard as she works—cooking, cleaning, gardening and canning—she always finds time to brighten up the house with fresh flowers, or make a special dessert for me. And then she'll stay up half the night to help me haul jugs up to the still. She's one in a million, my Jenny..."

excerpt from the private journal of Samuel Barton

Chapter Forty Nine: Fortune Teller or Fraud

All eyes at the table turned to the newcomer, except for Duo's; he was glaring fixedly at his empty plate.

The new arrival was a young woman, maybe in her mid-thirties, if Heero had to hazard a guess. Her feet were clad in sandals, and the Bohemian-style skirt she wore revealed slim ankles, where those telltale bells were jingling faintly. There was a tattoo of a butterfly barely visible just about the glittering jewelry on one ankle, and around the woman's waist was a sash tied so the ends trailed down one side of the swirling skirt.

Considering how colorful her skirt was, with a patchwork of various hues, the top half of her ensemble was curiously plain. She wore a simple white peasant blouse, with a black shawl wrapped around her shoulders. Straight, dark hair fell in a silky mass down her back, and her eye makeup was almost Goth-looking. Only a pair of shining silver hoop earrings and a matching multi-strand necklace brightened what looked to be a very serious face.

"Who's that?" Trowa hissed to Duo in an undertone.

Duo just shook his head, his lips a thin, tight line across his face.

"That's Miss Silvia," Quatre whispered. "She's a—well—I guess you could call her an eccentric." He cocked his head to one side thoughtfully. "She rarely leaves her house, and then only to go grocery shop or run errands. I don't think I've ever seen her in here."

"Oh, she drops in on occasion." Sally had come along to gather up plates and offer drink refills, and happened to catch the hushed conversation. "She's a psychic," she told Trowa. "At least she thinks she is. Claims to be a medium and fortune teller."

"She's a fraud," Duo muttered, tearing his gaze away from his plate and looking at Heero.

Sally reached out and nudged Duo's shoulder. "Says you," she teased. "As I recall, you kids used to avoid walking past her house on the same side of the street. And I know I saw Mueller pull a rabbit's foot out of his pocket and kiss it that time he fell off his bike into her tulip bed."

"That was because he thought he broke his leg at first," Duo said dryly.

"Yeah? And does that explain him making the sign of the cross at her house, too?"

"Mule's an idiot," Duo muttered. "Always was."

Sally opened her mouth to retort, but paused and straightened as the aforementioned Miss Silvia approached their table. "Uh, good afternoon Silvia."

"Hello, Sally." The woman's dark gaze scanned the four men seated at the table. "I've met you, Duo, and seen you around, Quatre. But I haven't had the pleasure of meeting the Barton heir or his handsome friend."

"I'm Trowa," said the auburn-haired man, politely shaking the slim, ring-bedecked hand she held out. "And this is—."

"She's a psychic!" Duo snapped curtly. "I'm sure she can figure it out."

A bit surprised by the venom in his boyfriend's tone, Heero nonetheless took her hand. "Heero Yuy—Trowa's maternal brother."

Silvia smiled almost slyly, casting a sidelong glance at Duo. "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. No doubt your arrival here is what's sparked the recent surge in spiritual activity."

"Um, pardon?" Trowa said blankly.

She looked vaguely surprised. "You mean you haven't noticed?"

"Noticed what, exactly?" Heero asked with a frown.

Duo let out a low growl, half-rising from his seat. "Jesus, Sil, give 'em a break!" he snarled. "They're new to town and don't need a lot of superstitious tripe thrown at them. Go bust a ghost somewhere else!"

She met his gaze steadily, and he froze, his expression shifting from anger to apprehension. "Shame on you, Duo," she chided. "You of all people know how closely the spirit world and our own coexist in Smoky Hills."

"I also know you're nothing but a fraud," Duo said again, though his tone was sullen rather than heated this time.

"I'm sorry I couldn't help you find Solo," she murmured. "But at the time—."

Duo jerked back sharply, a faint flush creeping up his cheeks. "Just shut up about it!"

"Duo—?" Heero laid a hand on his arm, but he shook it off, pulling out his wallet and dropping some money on the table, before pushing past Quatre to get out of the booth.

"I'm heading home, Quat. Not hungry for dessert—and if I was, I lost my appetite." He turned away quickly, heading for the door, but Silvia's next words stopped him in his tracks.

"I can help you find his killers."

Duo spun to face her, conflicting emotions chasing themselves across his face. But he seemed to settle on one at last, and narrowed his eyes. "You couldn't even tell me he was dead, Sil! You couldn't give me that much closure, despite all your so-called 'powers.' So don't come in here now pretending you want to help. We don't need any of your bullshit mumbo-jumbo. Just stay the fuck out of it."

He turned and slammed his way out of the door, nearly knocking over Hilde, who'd been on her way in. She stumbled back in surprise and watched him stalk away, then turned a puzzled look to the people at the table. "Whoa! What crawled up his ass and died?"

Heero looked at Silvia, pondering her use of the plural when referring to Solo's murderer. But then he shook off his indecision and gestured Trowa to let him out of the booth. "I'm going after Duo—to see what's going on." He paused as he passed Silvia. "I'll be looking you up later," he told her flatly, not bothering to mention it would be for an interrogation rather than a psychic reading.

Then he walked briskly out the door.

Trowa managed a forced laugh in the silence that followed the sudden outburst of activity. "Well, once again my brother leaves me holding the check," he joked, pulling out his wallet to pay for the remainder of the bill.


Heero overtook Duo almost halfway back to the house. "Hey! Wait up, Duo!" he called as he jogged the last few feet to catch up.

Duo stopped, not turning to face him. His hands were still clenched in fists at his side, and from the rigid set to his shoulders, Heero could tell he hadn't cooled off.

The Japanese man put his hands on those tense shoulders and moved so he was almost pressed up against Duo's back. "Talk to me," he said quietly.

He felt the stiffness ease from the lean frame, and Duo sighed in resignation. "I s'pose I may as well get this over with." He turned to face Heero, apparently forgetting the fact that they were almost flush against each other on a public sidewalk. "After Solo went missing and the cops blew me off, I went to Silvia, hoping she could maybe help me find him." He shoved his hands deep into his pockets and dropped his gaze to the sidewalk. "Stupid, huh? Thinking a wanna-be psychic could help me!"

"It wasn't stupid," Heero said gently. "You weren't stupid. You were desperate and in love."

"I was grasping at straws," Duo admitted. "I just hoped that when all else failed, maybe she'd have some answers no one else did."

"I take it she didn't."

"She—." Duo shrugged, scowling down at the ground and using the toe of his shoe to flick a pebble off to the side. "She did some kind of card reading and gave me a load of mumbo-jumbo about things being dark and obscure. Talked about Solo being hidden or trapped or something—made it sound like he was lost or confused and trying to find his way, or some such bullshit." His scowl deepened. "I suppose now she'll claim she misinterpreted the message."

Heero found himself smirking faintly. "Well, psychics are notoriously unreliable," he noted. "And vague."

Duo snorted wryly.

"I don't believe in them, myself," Heero said evenly. "You shouldn't either."

"I don't. Not any more," Duo muttered.

"But—," Heero added. "I do want to talk to Miss Silvia."

"Why?" Duo wondered, finally looking back up at him. "She's a fucking fraud, 'Ro. I swear, not one thing she's ever predicted has come true." He paused with a faint frown. "Well, there was that one time she guessed who'd win the local election—but considering Richter owns half the town, she could hardly get that wrong. And I think when the Gradys' son got lost in the woods, she might've helped find him—."

"Duo!" Heero waited until the indigo eyes were once again fixed on him. "I want to talk to her because sometimes when people seem to know a lot of stuff they shouldn't, they're actually involved in the crime themselves."

"But Silvia didn't know anything—."

"She claims to. She said back there that she could help find the killers."

"So? She says lots of stupid shit like that," Duo argued. "Doesn't mean it's true."

"But why did she use a plural? Killers. Why not just say killer?" Heero wondered. "I mean, sure word has gotten out that there's a homicide investigation underway. But I've only interviewed a couple of people. And I never implied anything about there being more than one murderer. Why would she make such an assumption?"

"Because she's an ass," Duo grumbled.

"Or—," Heero added speculatively, "—she knows something." Duo opened his mouth to respond, but Heero cut him off. "I'm not saying she was involved in it—not necessarily. But—she might have heard something or caught a clue from someone who went to her for a reading, like you said."

"Like me, you mean?" Duo said tightly.

Heero sighed in frustration. "You've got to stop reading into what I say, Duo. I already told you, I know you didn't kill Solo. And no circumstantial evidence will change my mind about that—or about you." He reached out and caught Duo's wrists, tugging him even closer. "This is why I will not discuss the case with you. I don't want you feeling like you're being accused of anything. Just because some stray piece of evidence seems incriminating, doesn't mean there's not an innocent explanation. Police work is very complex and, well, an inexact science." He paused and smirked. "Except where Chang's involved that is. But my point is, I'm not going to subject you to all the possibilities suggested by each interview or clue."

"So I won't even know if you end up suspecting me—."

Heero actually growled at him. "Dammit, Maxwell. You're the first guy I've been genuinely attracted to since—." He caught himself sharply. "—in a very, very long time. And I know you're attracted to me. So stop throwing roadblocks in our way!"

"I'm not the one shutting you out of the investigation."

"No, you're the one trying to scare me off by telling me the town is full of homophobes, or that your friends will monopolize my time, or that maybe I should be suspecting you of murder!" Heero snapped back. "Would you just stop?"

Duo blinked at him in surprise, his jaw dropping slightly. "I'm not—." He shook his head. "I didn't know I was doing that," he admitted. "I don't want to scare you off—."

"And yet you seem to take great delight in questioning what I see in you," Heero pointed out.

"Well, yeah," Duo conceded with a half-shrug and the hint of a wry smile. "I guess I do. Question it, that is."

Heero shook his head. "If you're fishing for compliments—."

"No—just—questioning your sanity maybe," Duo smirked.

"I'm perfectly sane, Duo Maxwell," Heero said firmly. "And I'm perfectly capable of deciding what I want in a man. So would you just allow that maybe, just maybe, when I say I want you, I've already given it plenty of thought, and I have sound reasons?"

"Y'gonna tell them to me some day?" Duo asked, his cheekiness returning bit by bit.

"When I think they won't inflate your ego too much," Heero replied, leaning in to kiss Duo gently, but very firmly.

Duo relaxed in his arms, until the sound of a car approaching from town made him aware of his surroundings, and then he pulled sharply back, looking around them in concern. "Fuck! F'got where we were," he muttered, smoothing his shirt nervously and stuffing his hands back into his pockets just as a car rounded the bend and drove noisily past.

"I didn't," Heero said evenly.

"I'll bet you didn't," Duo agreed. "Always so sure of yourself, aren't you, 'Ro?"

"Not always," replied the Japanese man, his eyes a little distant. "But in this case, yes. I'm on solid ground when it comes to my feelings for you. And I'll do whatever it takes—however long it takes—to prove it to you."

Duo smiled warmly at him. "I like the sound of that," he admitted. "C'mon—let's get back to Quat's and my place so we can make out a little before the folks get home, hm?"

"Sounds good." Heero fell into step beside him and they walked the remainder of the way to the house in companionable silence.


When Quatre and Trowa arrived a bit later, they found the two sitting on the porch swing, talking about the bird's nest up in the rafters and how there'd be babies in it before long.

Quatre took the hint at once, dropping the subject of Silvia's visit altogether as he plunked down on one of the lawn chairs. "So—about the buried treasure on Barton land," he said bluntly. "Are you in, Duo?"

"In?" Duo tore an adoring gaze from Heero's face to look quizzically at his roommate.

"Will you help us follow the clues and try to find it?"

"Of course," Duo said with a shrug. "Not that I have much firsthand knowledge of the Barton place. Like I told you before, the old man kept a shotgun loaded with rock salt to pepper the asses of any trespassers he caught. We mostly steered clear of the place."

"Mostly," Quatre echoed knowingly. "Which means only when you thought the old man might catch you kids."

"Well, yeah."

"That still gives you a better idea of the lay of the land there than most folks," Quatre pointed out.

"I've walked a lot of the trails," Heero added to the conversation. "Maybe some of the descriptions will match what I've seen."

"Are you sure you're not too busy—?" Quatre asked carefully, trying to avoid a return to the topic of the murder investigation.

"I'm sure a little treasure hunting would be a welcome break," Heero told him just as carefully. "Not that I really think we'll find anything."

"Skeptic!" Duo accused. "Man, if you'd been around town as long as I have, you would've heard all the stories. The Bartons had to be loaded. And it's for damn sure they couldn't have spent it all around this dump. There is just nothing worth buying in Smoky Hills."

"I didn't say the money didn't exist," Heero pointed out. "Just that I doubt we'll find it."

"Ah." Duo gave a dramatic sigh. "Not a skeptic—a cynic."

Trowa snorted wryly. "If you only knew the half of it."

"I am not cynical," Heero protested. "I'm practical."

"You walk a very fine line between the two," Trowa corrected him. "I seem to recall that when we arrived in town, you said postal workers were overpaid civil servants—."

Heero glared back at him defiantly. "Maybe before I met some!"

Quatre smiled sweetly. "That's okay; Duo and I speculated about you two being serial killers." He paused to watch their shocked faces and then added, "Before we met you, of course."

Duo laughed loudly, thinking back to some of their wild speculations about the residents of the Barton farm. "God, Quat—if we'd only known then what we know now!"

"I wouldn't do a single thing different," Quatre said firmly, casting a sidelong glance at Trowa.

Duo mulled it over for a moment, sobering. "I s'pose I might have skipped the drinking myself into a stupor." He grimaced and looked at Heero. "Did I ever thank you for looking after me that night?"

"I think you did—after you got over being mad at me for suggesting you'd be a suspect."

Duo grimaced again. "God, 'Ro—why are you even giving me the time of day after all the stupid shit I pulled?"

"Maybe because after the stupid shit got my attention, I figured out what a great guy you were, and realized I wanted to get to know you better."

Trowa blinked in surprise, looking askance at his brother.

"What?" Heero demanded with a scowl.

"Nothing," came a smirking reply. "Just wondering when you grew a set, and got so talkative about your feelings. I seem to recall you being a big chicken about approaching Duo in the first place."

"And you weren't when it came to Quatre?"

"Boys—boys!" Duo cut in with a grin. "Is this what sibling rivalry sounds like?"

"Actually," Trowa replied with a less teasing and more genuine smile. "It's more like 'sibling encouragement.' I'm complimenting my little brother on his progress." He reached over to tousle Heero's hair fondly. "I think Duo's a good influence on you."

Heero growled and swatted his hand away.

"To get back to the plan," Quatre interrupted. "I think we should start by getting a good topographic map of the farm and the surrounding land, and then break it down into sections we can search."

"Needle in a haystack," Heero sighed skeptically. "But that's as good a plan as any."

"I've got topo maps," Duo spoke up. "Like I said before. They're probably buried under shit in the back of my closet; but I could maybe dig 'em out for tomorrow. We could look them over while you guys are here for dinner."

"That's a great idea," Quatre replied. "We can compare the maps with locations on the farm, and when we get the time to search, maybe we'll spot landmarks that Samuel described."

"Or maybe the land has changed too much over the years," Heero couldn't help but point out. He paused and bit down on what he might have said next, as Quatre shot him a look. But when the blonde slanted a sidelong glance in Duo's direction, Heero suddenly caught on.

Quatre wasn't just obsessing about a treasure hunt; he was trying to get Duo involved in something that would provide a distraction from the search for Solo's killer.

Heero fought the urge to smile, and simply nodded once in reply to the unspoken message. "But between my familiarity with the trails around the farm, Trowa's journals, and Duo's maps...if anyone can find the so-called treasure, it would be us."

Duo had missed the significant glances, his attention captured by the stack of journals in Trowa's lap. "Hey Tro'? Any chance I could read some of those?"

"Sure," replied the auburn-haired man. "As soon as Rashid takes a look, you're welcome to borrow them. I know when you helped me haul that trunk down out of the attic, you said you were interested."

"Yeah. Might be nice to read some firsthand accounts of things—find out how many of the old stories have a basis in fact."

"At the very least," Quatre spoke up. "There's more than one mention of mountain lions in there." He ignored the dark look Duo gave him. "Hey, if they were around fifty or a hundred years ago, who's to say there aren't still some?"

"There are," Duo muttered. "But try an' get the DEP to admit it—."

"I think I've seen tracks around the barn," Heero said without thinking.

Duo's head shot up, and he fixed a searching look on the dark-haired man. "Seriously?"

"Seriously. I got woken up in the middle of the night, and thought I saw something. When I investigated the next morning, there were very large tracks."

"Wish you'd have told me sooner," Duo sighed. "I would've done plaster castings of them."

"Why?" Trowa asked.

"Duo's been trying to prove there are mountain lions around here for years," Quatre answered.

"Quat!" Duo snapped, scowling at his roommate.

"What?" came the defensive response. "You have!"

"That doesn't mean I want to broadcast the fact!" Duo growled back, blushing furiously. "Everyone already thinks I'm an idiot for it—."

"I don't," Heero said quickly, cutting into the blossoming argument. "Duo—I'm on your side. I believe there are wild mountain lions around here. I really do!"

Duo looked sharply at him.

"That night by the barn, I think what I saw might have been a mountain lion."

Duo's eyes narrowed. "You're not just saying that to make me feel better—?"

"No, I'm not," Heero said firmly.

Duo studied his face, and then relaxed, apparently deciding he was sincere. "Well, thanks. It's nice to know at least one person in this town doesn't think I'm a nut."

"Why would they think that?"

Duo sighed and shook his head. "I really didn't want to get into this yet." He cast a vaguely resentful look at Quatre, and then dropped his gaze to the floorboards. "A long time ago, Yuy, my truck broke down out by the reservoir. I had to walk all the way back to town, and along the way there was a mountain lion following me—stalking me." He paused, as if waiting for laughter or a skeptical response, and when it didn't happen, he looked up cautiously to find Heero watching him earnestly. "I made the mistake of telling Ralph about it."

"Oh, Duo," Heero sighed, easing closer to him on the swing. "I take it Loud-Mouth Kurt told anyone who'd listen, and since there was no one to corroborate the story, you got mocked for it, right?"

"That's pretty much it in a nutshell," Duo said with a shrug.

"I was one of the skeptics," Quatre admitted, looking deeply embarrassed. "I used to tease Duo about it right along with all the other obnoxious idiots in this town. At least until I realized how unkind I was being."

"You? Unkind?" Trowa asked. "I just can't picture that."

"Oh, I was."

"Not really," Duo cut in. "He was joking around. Ralph and the rest—well—they pretty much pegged me as someone with an overactive imagination—or just plain crazy."

"You're neither," Heero assured him. "You saw what you saw. And anyone who'd think you'd make something like that up is just plain stupid." When Duo didn't do more than give a rueful smirk, Heero slipped an arm around him over the back of the swing. "You were right about the mountain lion, and you were right about Solo. You knew his disappearance wasn't right. And if they'd listened back then, the mystery could have been solved years ago."

"I hope it can be solved now," Duo said wistfully.

"I'll do my best." Heero gave a quick squeeze and then drew back, looking over at Trowa. "I think it's time you and I headed for home, eh? The animals need to be fed, and I want to go over my notes before tomorrow's interviews."

"But you'll both be here for supper tomorrow, right?" Quatre reminded him. "I'm planning a special meal."

Duo rolled his eyes and grinned. "Special? He's thought of nothing else all week!"

"I have so."

"Have not," came the teasing response.

"We'll absolutely be here," Trowa said firmly. He smiled warmly at Quatre as he stood up. "I'm sure whatever you make will be terrific."

"Should be," Duo mumbled. "He's taking the day off for it—."

"Duo!"

"What? You are."

"You don't have to go to a lot of trouble, you know," Trowa assured the blonde. "I'm sure I speak for both of us when I say we're more interested in the company than the food." He gestured to Heero, who was also standing to leave.

Quatre made a huffing sound in mock frustration. "Well that's a fine thing to say! I'll have you know I'm an excellent cook!"

"'Cept for that time you burned water," Duo threw in glibly.

"I wasn't insulting your cooking," Trowa amended carefully. "I just don't want you to feel you have to fuss."

Duo shoved Heero towards Trowa. "Go on and take your brother home before he says any more to get Quatre wound up. He's already determined to make tomorrow's meal perfect, and nothing either one of you says will relax him. So just get ready for some amazing food."

"We will," Heero assured him, heading for the steps. He paused at the top, and turned to tug Duo in for a quick kiss goodnight, before continuing on his way.

Trowa smirked at Duo's besotted expression before following his brother. "Wouldn't hardly believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes," he teased.

Duo shot him a glare that rivaled some of Heero's best, but his wistful smirk kind of ruined the overall effect and left Trowa chuckling as he went.


Heero climbed into his car and started it up while Trowa put the journals in the back seat before joining him. "Take it easy on Duo," he cautioned rather sternly.

Trowa raised an eyebrow. "Meaning?"

"Don't tease him when I kiss him goodnight; he's already self-conscious enough about being seen with me."

"Afraid I'll scare him off?" Trowa asked with a grin. "I don't think there's a chance in hell of that happening. He's smitten!"

"I sure hope so," Heero muttered quietly.

"I'd bet the farm on it," Trowa asserted, watching the faint worry lines ease from his brother's face. "And while we're on the subject of predictions…what did you think of the psychic?"

Heero snorted wryly. "What do you think? I deal in fact, Trowa. Not fantasy. I don't know what her game is, but I can assure you, she's no more clairvoyant than you or I."

"You sure about that?"

"Very. From what Duo told me, she played the typical game most 'cold readers' play. She gave him vague comments about Solo being lost or confused." He shook his head. "Sorry, but if she couldn't tell him Solo was dead eight years ago, she's nothing but a fraud, just as he said."

Trowa made a "hm" sound in agreement.

"Madame Mimi was a better psychic than Miss Sylvia," Heero added with a smirk, referring to a woman back at the circus who'd used a crystal ball and tarot cards.

"Hey, Madame Mimi was downright good," Trowa insisted. "Remember that time she predicted Bo-Bo the Clown would get stepped on by an elephant?"

"I think that was more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than a psychic vision," Heero said with a chuckle.

"What? You mean considering he went around practically daring the elephants to do something to him?" Trowa replied. "Yeah—he was kinda asking for it."

"You think?"

Trowa laughed and leaned comfortably back in his seat. "Clairvoyants and kidding aside, how'd the investigation go today?"

Heero sighed. "It went fine, considering how little actual evidence I've got."

"If we can fix up Dekim's journals, maybe there'll be more."

"Like an admission of guilt?" Heero said rather bleakly. "I really don't want to find out your grandfather killed Solo."

"I s'pose it'd be a bit awkward, what with you dating his boyfriend and my grandfather having been the one who murdered him," Trowa agreed. "But maybe it was some kind of accident, and Dekim just covered it up," he hazarded. "He was an old man by then, and in the journal entries I could read, it sounded like he was pretty freaked out by whatever secret he was hiding."

"And his secret might have nothing to do with Solo at all," Heero pointed out. "In fact, I'd be surprised if it did."

"What about those guys Duo mentioned—Otto and Trant?"

Heero grimaced. "They're a couple of piece of work, those two. One's an overindulged jerk who feels like he's entitled, and the other is—well—cagey and evasive." A frown creased his forehead as he recalled Trant's open hatred of Solo, as well as his smug expression. "The trouble is, they're so easy to dislike that it's hard to be objective about their possible guilt."

"From what you told me about that confrontation at the convenience store, they're both prone to violence."

"But then, so's Duo," Heero admitted. "At least that day he was." He couldn't suppress a smile. "He was ready to kick both their asses if I hadn't stepped in."

"Do you think he could've?"

Heero laughed outright. "They'd have beat the shit out of him," he said flatly.

"And you wonder why you can't be objective about them," Trowa sighed.

"Yes, but I have to try to be," Heero insisted. "That's why tomorrow I'm going to talk to Hilde Schbeiker. Trant mentioned that she once had a thing for Solo. So maybe she'd have noticed if anyone else caused him problems."

"Wait a sec…the girl from the convenience store?" Trowa asked with wide eyes. "Duo's best pal there? She was hot for his boyfriend?"

"According to Trant," Heero shrugged. He gave a sigh of his own. "Trowa—everyone in this town seems to have had some connection to the whole mess! It could take ages to sort things out."

Trowa grinned widely. "Hell, we didn't move to Smoky Hills—we stumbled into a regular Peyton Place, didn't we?"

Heero scowled through the windshield. "I hate soap operas," he muttered sulkily.