Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing.

Warning: None

Notes: I wrote this on a whim; it's loosely inspired by my upcoming college transfer admissions deadlines. There really is no plot. It's set after the Eve War. Duo's POV.


Deadline

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October 2010


It's the most important decision of your young life, and you've been agonizing over it for weeks. Tomorrow is the deadline. You know that your procrastination hasn't alleviated any of your anxiety and that any responsible person would have dealt with this situation in a timely manner, sent in the appropriate paperwork long before the due date. You've always considered yourself to be both mature and dependable, but you've found yourself staring at the screen of your laptop for the seventh time in as many days, desperately trying to reign in your wayward, feverish thoughts and manifest them onto the screen in some semblance of rational, structured order. You have to impart to the review board just how much you deserve this, how well you'd complement their institution and tout your many virtues to emphasize what an asset you could be, but the truth is that despite your outward fa├žade you are incredibly insecure and self-doubting. You don't actually believe that you can succeed in this latest endeavor, this new and frightening step along your path to adulthood, and it shows in your stilled hands over the keyboard, your stinging eyes from too many hours staring at a blank page, and the melancholy frown that drags down the corner of your mouth. Perhaps it's time to admit defeat, walk away from your laptop and any foolish aspirations you may have been entertaining of a better life, awards and accomplishments to justify your diligent work, your dedication.

Maybe you're simply destined for mediocrity. Everything about you screams 'achiever' in garish neon lights, but inwardly you have no more faith in your ability to succeed than you possess in your ability to move mountains, to shake Earth to its foundations or harness the moon. You're painfully aware of your shortcomings and they seem to delight in the attention now, when you least need their baying jeers. They dance through your turbulent thoughts like vicious imps in a gleeful ritual, and any attempts to banish them only provoke more malicious rejoicing on their part. Frustrated and at your wit's end you turn away from your failed attempts at marketing yourself to perfect strangers and turn your back on the future. You grind the heels of your hands into your tired eyes and resist the urge to groan aloud as your fears and goals clash like rising flood waters in your mind.

When you finally pull your hands down and practically deflate in your chair, he's watching you from across the room. Normally you ignore your flatmate when you're aggravated because he has a notoriously short temper and you've never been famous for tact and prudence. Those shining personality traits combined in this cramped apartment have always been a recipe for disaster, volatile elements in an explosive reaction. Today is different, however. In your self-loathing you've decided that perhaps brash confidence is the new discretion and valor has no part in the sordid goings-on in your brilliant mind. Today, you stare back at keen blue eyes. Today, you need a distraction from your self-destruction, your nagging doubts, your worthlessness. So you stare. You're damned positive that he won't look away, break that gaze and subconsciously submit to anyone's dominance, let alone yours.

There's something familiar and almost comforting in the way he assesses you from ten feet away, like he can read your chaotic thoughts through your stressed eyes like text on a page, could probably sort and translate them into a language easily understood and do a more efficient and thorough job of writing up this asinine paperwork. He's judging you silently, mocking you subtlety. You think that he's never had to struggle as much as you, in any facet of life, and that makes you angry. Fury is a better substitute for this fog of self-deprecation in which you've lost your way. Rage slices through your cocoon of self-pity as effectively as any of your knives, releases you to think with more clarity now. You cast aside your insecurities and match his open stare with a derisive one of your own, your confidence asserting itself once more. Your eyes take on the devilish gleam you've acquired from too many things seen that yo can never unsee, from death and loss and strife and injustice. Your cocky swagger and general disregard for the opinions of others is your shield, your armor, your mantra, and it makes all things possible.

Your opponent for the afternoon snorts at the obvious change in your demeanor and rises slowly from his chair like a great powerful cat waking from slumber, all lithe muscle and controlled strength. He crosses the distance between you, pauses before you, and you meet his gaze once more, this time leaning back in your chair, crossing your arms over your chest, and arching one eyebrow at him in a guardedly questioning gesture. The almost fond annoyance on his handsome face is priceless. He opens his mouth to address you, falters momentarily, then snaps his jaw closed once more, as if it may actually be paining him to find the correct words to convey his thoughts. You smirk and look away to grant him a moment to compose himself. He's always spent a plethora of needless energy on expressing himself as efficiently as possible with as few words as he can manage. It's a talent you've come to both resent and admire.

"You'll be an effective Preventer agent." His voice sounds strained, as if complimenting you has wounded him. Your eyes snap up from your contemplation of the threadbare carpet to his face once more and he's looking pointedly to the side, staring at the opposite white-washed wall as if it holds the lock codes to his mobile suit, eyebrows drawn together in discomfort or annoyance, you can't be certain. And now that you've received his illustrious seal of approval you grudgingly admit that submitting this paperwork has become an attainable mission. After all, if Heero 'Perfect Soldier' Yuy has some manner of faith in your abilities, then the Preventers have to take you. Besides, you have no where else to go. He was recruited almost two weeks ago, and you've been languishing away while he slowly packed up his meager belongings and prepared to leave you behind. In the end you're always left behind. So you decided for once in your pathetic life to try following something you'd grown to value, even if it was your no-nonsense, patience-deprived flatmate.

You stand cautiously, letting your knees brush his just slightly to warn him of your intentions. He's always been very flighty around people, quick to pull the trigger or dislocate a joint and never apologetic afterwards. Despite the incessant risk of bodily harm, you've always found yourself strangely drawn to him, like a meteor on a kamikaze collision course with the moon. Slowly, you lean into him, warm and solid and tense, and your arms slide around his lean waist as if by habit, which this is certainly not. You feel the way his heartbeat his stuttering against his ribcage, the bulky metal of his gun against your forearm. You hear his breath hitch, barely perceptible, as your rest your forehead against his temple and a wry half-smile curves your lips. He practically hums with nervous energy, ready to break your arms and defend himself. He was never trained for this. "Thanks," you breathe into his ear. In your peripheral vision you see his intense blue eyes slide closed and feel him relax just slightly. He nods noncommittally and mutters something about 'dinner' before pulling away from you slowly without looking back. He disappears into the tiny kitchen. You're almost disappointed at the coolness of the room in his sudden absence.

With the cacophony of clattering pans and running water to drown out any returning doubts, you fall gracelessly back into your desk chair and turn back to your nemesis. The laptop waits patiently, like you thought Heero never would have, and you flex your fingers experimentally. Preventers will take you because you were a Gundam pilot. You're so overqualified for this position that it's laughably frightening. You've known that all along. What you actually doubted was his confidence in your abilities. You glance over the top of your computer screen at him, boiling rice or something as predictably bland, and he doesn't glare. The corner of his mouth quirks into something approaching a smirk. Your paperwork is done before his has time to yell at you for dumping an entire stick of margarine into the rice pot.