Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing. The following is an intellectual exercise with no intention of profit. That said, these characterizations, words, and situations are mine. Please ask before reprinting.
A/N: This fic will feature several different pairings - and probably not the ones that you expect after a first glance. This is told in third person POV, but it will switch to different characters with each chapter. While not a crossover, I definitely want to acknowledge that the TV series, "Dirty Sexy Money" and the movie Two Weeks Notice both influenced me to write this. I would appreciate any feedback, whether it be negative or positive, criticism or lavish praise. Lavish praise preferred.
A/N #2: Thank you so much, everyone who read this story. It was my first attempt at writing in YEARS and it was nice to see so many people interested in following this as it progressed.
A/N#3: IF you really enjoyed the 2x3 dynamic, you might want to keep a look-out for more of my stories, because I really can't seem to get them out of my head. I'm working on Umbra right now, but soon I will be starting work on my next fic, set in the GW universe, a few years after EW. It'll be pretty dark, and I hope pretty good.
A Little Less Normal
Trowa woke up to the gasping sensation of drowning. There was a solid weight on his chest, and his face was wet and getting steadily more wet as Bella proceeded to literally bathe him in kisses.
"I'm up," he groaned and gently shoved her off of him.
She looked up at him with large, adoring eyes and wagging her tail - her wolf tail, as Duo called it. Trowa shook his head and reached out to pet her, scratching that spot just under her floppy ears that had her tilting her head into his palm.
He glanced over to see that Duo was still completely, deeply asleep and he smirked. As usual, Duo had at some point in the middle of the night shifted so that instead of sleeping on his side he was at a crazy diagonal across the bed and his feet were tangled with Trowa's under the sheets.
Bella whimpered slightly.
"Okay, okay, let's go outside," Trowa whispered to her. He stood up and pulled on the pair of sweatpants he kept near the bed.
She jumped off the bed, her landing no longer awkward after so much practice, and led him out of the room. One of Duo's very firm rules about the dog, that first week that she had been brought home, was that under no circumstances would the dog be allowed to sleep with him. It could sleep with Bella, or it could sleep on a bed downstairs, but not in his bed. That had lasted all of one night before Duo had given in to her whimpering, opened the door, and ushered her in.
Trowa was grateful for the size of the king bed, because all three of its usual occupants liked to stretch out, and with Bella's size they barely fit some nights.
He opened Nathalie's door and softly whistled.
Two fluffy heads popped up from the mound of covers and regarded him sleepily. Beside him, Bella barked softly, as if to say, come on. The two puppies scrambled over each other and the still sleeping Nathalie, jumped off the bed, and scrambled across the floor to them.
Trowa led his pack downstairs and to the back door where he released them to the back yard. After grabbing a cup of coffee, he joined them.
The puppies were sniffing dangerously close to Duo and Nathalie's herb garden, and Trowa had to warn them off before he could settle onto one of the Adirondack chairs and enjoy the early morning quiet. Quiet for about two minutes before the puppies started yapping at each other as they chased each other around the yard.
When Bella had given birth to her litter – on Duo's bed – the braided man had told Nathalie that she could keep one puppy, but the other five had to go. Nathalie had immediately picked a black and white, fluffy puppy whose favorite hobby those first weeks had been to follow Nathalie around and lick her feet. However, as the weeks went by and the other puppies eventually found homes, one puppy, the runt of the litter, was constantly overlooked. Trowa could understand why – whatever strange breeds Bella had in her had honestly made for adorable puppies, except for one. The runt was short haired, where her siblings were long haired, and her coat wasn't spotted but brindled in a crazy pattern of brown, black, white, and gray. The runt had taken to following Trowa around, and by the time she was eleven weeks old and still had no home, Trowa suggested to Duo that they simply keep her. Duo had rolled his eyes and muttered something about bleeding hearts, but given in.
Usually Sara or Duo walked the dogs – Duo particularly liked to take them out at night before going to bed – but Trowa had told Sara that he would take them out in the morning. He enjoyed the chance to relax before the start of his usually long days, and he knew how much both Duo and Nathalie loved to sleep even just five extra minutes.
After twenty minutes, Trowa rose and called the dogs back inside. The puppies immediately took off to go back to bed with Nathalie, but Bella sprawled on the floor near the door, enjoying the warmth of an early morning patch of sun. Trowa rubbed her belly for a few minutes.
"Good morning," Sara said, walking into the kitchen.
"Morning," Trowa looked up and smiled at her. It had been…strange to adjust to being taken care of by a woman nearly old enough to be his grandmother, but eventually he no longer felt like an intruder or a guilty teenager when Sara greeted him in the mornings.
"Big day," she said with a smile.
Trowa sighed and stood. "We'll see."
"Don't tell me you changed your mind! Everything's –"
"No, no, I just – well, I still have to ask," Trowa said. He ran a hand through his hair.
"Then go ASK," Sara chided him. She gave him a hard look.
"I was going to let him sleep in a little longer."
He quailed under her authority and went back upstairs. He brushed his teeth before rejoining Duo in bed. His lover was still sound asleep, laying on his stomach and wrapped in a cocoon of sheets and blankets.
Trowa pulled back the blankets to uncover Duo's back and started kissing his way up Duo's spine towards the nape of his neck.
About halfway there, he noticed Duo start to stir beneath him, and by the time he gently sucked on Duo's earlobe, the other man shuddered and rolled over with a grin.
"Morning," Duo said, looking sleepy and sexy with his bangs in disarray and his eyes filled with lust.
Trowa smirked. "Good morning, old man."
Duo groaned. "Ugh, don't remind me."
Trowa leaned down and kissed Duo's torso, stopping to suck and bite on his flat nipples before travelling lower.
"We have to leave in two hours," Trowa told him just as he reached Duo's naval.
"Or… we could stay here all day instead," Duo pointed out. His hips jerked slightly when Trowa ghosted a hand over his thigh.
"Your mother would kill you. It's your birthday party."
"Yeah, which means it's my birthday. I should get to spend it how I want. And I want to spend it in bed with you."
Trowa licked the underside of Duo's very firm and very aroused penis, causing the other man to groan.
"That would sort of ruin my plans for the day," Trowa commented idly.
"And what would those be?" Duo gasped when Trowa closed his lips over his erection and drew the entire length into his mouth.
Trowa released him and looked up Duo's body into hooded eyes.
"I thought we would go to your birthday party, I'd help Howard with the grilling –"
"You? He said you could help him?"
"But – that is – God, I hate my life."
"Anyway," Trowa continued, lightly stroking Duo's erection as he talked, "I hoped we could leave early, after the toasts, and run home to grab a few things before we got on a plane and went to Paris for a week."
"Paris?" Duo asked, an amused twinkle in his eyes. "What's there to do in Paris?"
"Since the Louvre is out," they had taken a trip back to Paris for Christmas with Nathalie, and Duo had politely but firmly been told by the Museum security that he was not allowed inside, ever again. "I thought we could do a little sightseeing – at places you are allowed entrance to, maybe Versailles? – but mostly my plan was to spend a week in bed with my fiancé."
"A week in bed? Well – wait, did you say your fiancé?"
"Yes," Trowa said, looking at Duo closely for his reaction.
"But Trowa, you don't have one of those." One corner of Duo's lips was lifted in the beginnings of a grin.
"Well, being the great catch that I am, I figured I could just pick up some guy while you were buying a croissant or something," Trowa joked, more to ease his own tension than anything else.
"Or you could just ask me," Duo pointed out.
Trowa smiled and moved up the bed to lay beside Duo, their faces only a few inches apart.
"I know we've talked about the future, and agreed that we want to spend our lives together," Trowa began, "but I would be honored if you would join me in making our partnership a formal commitment."
"With a ceremony."
"With a ceremony. I'd like to become your husband in front of our friends and family. And Wufei."
Duo chuckled at that. "You'd have to wear a tux…"
"They're growing on me," Trowa told him. Which was almost the truth – he had worn them so often over the past year that he was, at the very least, becoming accustomed to wearing tuxedos. He would never share Duo's pleasure in the formal wear, but at least he didn't grouse about it as badly as Heero did now.
"Well?" Trowa prompted when Duo still hadn't answered.
"This is something that you want?"
Trowa ran his thumb over Duo's jaw and to his lips.
"Yes. More than anything else."
Duo grinned and leaned forward to kiss him.
"Me too," Duo said. He crawled onto Trowa's body and straddled his hips. "But, as the birthday boy, I really think I have the right to spend at least the next hour in bed with my fiancé before we do things your way."
"I've no objection to that," Trowa assured him after another kiss.
It was two hours later when they finally showered, dressed, and made their way downstairs. They would be late to Duo's birthday party, which Celia had moved to an earlier time to accommodate the plane tickets Trowa had purchased for that evening, and Trowa was sure she would voice her displeasure over their tardiness.
Nathalie was already downstairs and curled up amidst the dogs on the couch, watching television. At the sound of their footsteps, she turned her head and shot Trowa a questioning look. He winked at her.
"Hey, kiddo, ready to go?" Duo asked.
"If you are – it took you long enough. I thought we'd be stuck here all day." She turned off the tv and squirmed out from under the dogs. "Is something wrong? You look all serious." She directed that to Duo, who, in fact, was frowning slightly.
"Well, um, Nat, how would you feel about Trowa and me getting married?"
Her jaw dropped. "But – but what about me? Does this mean you don't love me anymore?"
Duo looked stricken. "What? No! Of course I love you! I always will –and Trowa loves you too!"
"But, he's so… tall. Things will never be the same again!" Nathalie complained and then started to giggle.
Duo looked at her, and then spun to take in Trowa's amused smirk.
"You – she's kidding, right?'
"I am tall."
"You're like an inch and a half taller than me, LeBron, don't get delusions of grandeur." Duo's voice betrayed his irritation.
Trowa kissed him – a tactic he had learned to be one of the best and quickest ways to ease Duo's temper.
"I talked to her a week ago, to make sure it would be okay. She's just kidding."
Duo pulled away to glare at Nathalie.
"Not funny," he told her.
She smirked. "It was a little funny," she argued.
"It was a lot funny," Trowa said.
"I hate you both," Duo muttered. "It's my birthday and I really don't appreciate all of this laughter at my expense."
Sara came into the room then.
"You have to be leaving now or you will be intolerably late to your party," she told Duo.
"Yeah, yeah, we're going."
Sara looked at Trowa, who nodded at her. She smiled and then hugged Duo.
"Happy birthday, darling," she said and then squeezed Trowa's shoulder as she walked back into the kitchen.
"And you told Sara too," Duo guessed as they left the house and piled into the Prius.
"And did she also approve?"
"Of course. She loves me."
"Yeah, I can't blame her for that."
By the time they finally arrived at the Hamptons, a fair number of guests had already arrived, and Trowa could anticipate the level of irritation that Celia would direct at him for not having Duo arrive on time.
Sure enough, Duo's mother greeted them with a stormy look, and was about to say something when Duo grinned and kissed her on the cheek.
"Mom, you'll be happy to know that Trowa's going to make an honest man of me. We're engaged."
Celia, who only knew that Trowa had wanted to take Duo to Paris for his birthday, looked shocked and then delighted by the news.
"That's wonderful!" She hugged Duo and then Trowa. "Congratulations. Now please go mingle with your guests before they forget why they came here in the first place." She shot Trowa a sharp look, and he hung his head in apology.
Nathalie spotted Catherine, Luc, and Lilly, and took off to join her friends.
"And she's okay with us leaving for a week?" Duo asked.
Over the last year, Duo and Trowa had taken a handful of weekend trips, and with each trip Nathalie's separation anxiety seemed to diminish, but Trowa knew that both Duo and Nathalie were leery of an extended time apart from each other.
"Yeah, she's going to stay with Catherine. I think she'll do better there, for a week, than with Celia."
"Good thinking – it'll feel like a vacation for her instead of getting left behind."
It was clear that Nathalie was telling them the news about their engagement. Catherine left the children to come over to them.
"And did she approve?" Duo asked.
"I didn't ask her," Trowa told him. He had been on the fence about it, but in the end had decided that, like Heero and Wufei and Hilde, Catherine could learn about their engagement after the fact. His sister had warmed to Duo, but Trowa wasn't willing to risk the potential fight that her disapproval might result in.
"Happy Birthday, Duo," she said and hugged him tightly.
"Thanks, Cathy," Duo said and hugged her back.
She pulled away and looked up at Trowa.
"I hear that congratulations are in order."
Duo grabbed Trowa's hand in his own.
"Yep – he broke down and asked me to marry him."
"He – you asked Duo?"
Trowa frowned. "Yes, I did."
"Nat didn't say – well, that's fantastic news!" She kissed Trowa, and he could sense that the knowledge that HE had asked Duo and not the other way around made her happy. She kissed Duo.
"Do you have a date picked out?"
Trowa had not given any thought to it. He looked over at Duo, who shrugged.
"There's no rush. It'll happen."
Catherine smiled and then looked at Trowa and gave a happy sigh.
"I'm so glad for you, Trowa."
"Well, I should go and let you talk to the others."
Duo pulled Trowa with him, clearly planning to make him suffer through greeting the guests.
By the time that Heero and Wufei showed up twenty minutes later, Trowa's face was starting to hurt from smiling at complete strangers and thanking them.
"Did you tell either of them?" Duo asked him as his brother and his lover started towards them.
"No. I thought you would like to tell Heero. All he knows is that I needed the week off to take you away for your birthday."
Duo nodded and then smirked.
"Happy birthday, Duo," Heero greeted when they walked up. "Trowa."
"Happy birthday, Duo," Wufei echoed.
"Thanks guys. It's been okay so far, you know. Yankees won last night, so that puts them two games ahead of the Red Sox, and I got to sleep in this morning, and Mom didn't make me stand beside her to greet people, and it turns out Trowa's taking me to Paris to celebrate our engagement."
Wufei caught on quicker than Heero, and he smirked broadly.
Heero, however, scowled.
"C'mon, Yuy," Wufei jabbed him in the ribs.
Heero growled and dug out his wallet and pulled out a crisp, hundred dollar bill and shoved it into Wufei's hand.
"Wha -?" Duo asked.
"When Trowa asked for the week off I knew something was up. I bet Heero that he was going to ask you to marry him."
Trowa arched an eyebrow at Heero's still disgruntled look.
"I thought you'd just propose to him at a baseball game," Heero grumbled.
Trowa smirked. "I thought about it, but the Yankees and Red Sox don't play again until late June… and this seemed like the right day to ask."
"Plus he didn't want to get his ass kicked for kissing a guy at Yankee Stadium while dressed like the Red Sox souvenir shop," Duo muttered.
"You know that he's my brother," Heero said, his voice serious.
"Yes," Trowa agreed.
"Which means, that, unfortunately, if you get tired of him, I have to take his side. As much as I might want to take yours." Heero's voice was serious, but his eyes were filled with amusement.
"Hey! I'm standing right here."
"I know," Trowa agreed with a sigh. Duo punched his shoulder.
"I should go help Howard," Trowa said, noticing the bright floral print shirt making its way to the grill.
Trowa walked away from the group, but Heero followed him.
"But, seriously, if you break his heart, I'll kill you," Heero told him in a conversational tone.
"Why have you never threatened me before?" Trowa asked.
Heero shrugged. "By the time I knew you two were dating it was too late to really be effective, so I've been saving it for the right time. But I am serious."
Heero nodded, slapped his shoulder, and left him to rejoin Wufei and Duo.
Trowa spent the next hour assisting Howard at the grill, grateful to relax in the older man's company while he watched Duo navigate through the dozens of people at his party.
He watched in amusement as Hilde greeted him and then threw herself at him and kissed him when he told her about the engagement. He watched in horrified sympathy as Relena squealed at the news and started to list ideas for the ceremony. He watched in anticipation as Thomas Darlian approached him and then shook his hand at the news.
The last year had been tumultuous, to say the least. When the truth of Duo's parentage was inevitably leaked to the press during Treize's trial several months ago, Celia and Thomas had been hounded by gossip columnists for two months before the news cycle picked up some new juicy gossip. Thomas and his wife remained married, which Trowa knew had devastated Celia.
Thomas and Duo's relationship continued to be uneasy, although Thomas now made an effort to at least be polite to him, and was actually friendly if Relena was present to oversee the interaction.
Trowa knew that Duo would have preferred to ignore his relationship with Thomas Darlian, and that any interaction with the man usually set his teeth on edge.
By the time that the guests took their seats to begin dinner, Trowa was confident that everyone had been personally informed about their engagement. He was surprised and pleased that everyone had seemed genuinely happy for Duo.
"Most of you already know this," Celia began her toast a few minutes later, "but today is a very special day indeed. It is Duo's thirty-first birthday, and also the day of his engagement to Trowa Barton. My son deserves every happiness in life, and I know that Trowa will devote himself to ensuring Duo's happiness. I look forward to you joining our family."
There were cheers from the crowd, and Duo took the chance to lean over and kiss Trowa.
"I promise not to make this speech as long as last year," Heero said when he stood.
"Thanks!" Duo taunted him. Heero smirked back.
"This past year has been one of changes and challenges. My brother and I lost our father, and Duo had to leave behind his life as a teacher to help me safeguard our father's legacy. It was a role that he filled – if not with pleasure, then with determination, strength, and integrity. And it is with great pleasure that, today, I officially fire Duo as CEO of Yuy Inc."
"Thank God!" Duo rose and clasped Heero in a bear hug. The assembled guests laughed.
"He will be replaced by the infinitely more willing Wufei Chang, but, this isn't a board meeting." Heero sobered. "Last year I delivered a brief list of my brothers accomplishments, but I think his ego's big enough this year, so I'll skip over those and just say this. Duo is an amazing man, a great brother, a terrific father, and I am confident, he will be a wonderful husband. Happy birthday, Duo."
"Much shorter than last year!" Duo agreed with a laugh.
"Oh, one more thing," Heero said, rising just as he sat. He smirked at Trowa and then looked down at Wufei beside him. He tugged on his hand until he stood up beside him.
"Not to steal the spotlight from Duo, but, since we're on the topic of weddings, I'd like to tell you all that Wufei Chang and I were married two weeks ago."
Duo's jaw dropped, and even Trowa was taken aback. HOW had Heero or Wufei not mentioned this to him? He saw both of them every day.
"That son of a bitch. He just had to win this, too," Duo muttered.
Trowa laughed. "You're seriously taking this as a competition?"
"No, I just – well –"
"If you want to beat them at eloping, we could get married next week in Paris."
"You're just trying to get out of wearing the tux."
Duo grinned and kissed him.
"Nope. We'll just have to beat them by having the most badass wedding imaginable."
Thanks everyone for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. I had a great time writing this, and I really enjoyed the feedback you all gave me and knowing that other people cared about Duo and Trowa's happiness as much as I did.