He was pissed off all right. I can't say I blame him. I wasn't thrilled either, not because we had to get our hands on the parts – we needed to do that anyway – but because it was a hell of a way to say thanks.

Duo spent the good part of the morning telling anyone who'd listen how he was going to pay the other kid back. He didn't look too happy when someone pointed it was going to take him a while to track the white Gundam down while his was still lying flat on its back.

I'm sure Deathscythe heard an earful after that one.

The kid and his mobile suit came with Duo, both looking banged up but the boy limping around looked more pissed off about his Gundam than his own leg. Can't say I blame him. Duo would've reacted the same way, only he'd have been a lot friendlier underneath.

Doesn't mean the other kid didn't have it in him to be friendly, but you wouldn't know it to meet him that day.

Funny thing about times like these. Brings out the best and the worst in people. I don't think the kid should have thanked Duo by stealing, but we were going to get the same parts anyway, so all he really did was move his own Gundam up a notch. Duo doesn't see it that way and if it had been mine, I'd have been pretty mad, too.

It wasn't just that the kid touched Duo's Gundam, though. It went deeper than that.

Never did get the whole story on how Duo got hold of Deathscythe in the first place and sometimes that old saying is truer than we'd like it to be. I'm not saying ignorance is always bliss, but sometimes it's enough to keep you out of trouble. None of us would be where we are now if that knowing what was going on scared us, but we learned that it was a need to know basis. As long as we were all on the same side, that was good enough for me.

Duo knew the kid was on our side. He wouldn't have dragged him along otherwise. It wasn't that he thought his Gundam gave up parts so someone could turn around and use them against him. Duo took it personal.

Kid's never had a lot of friends and he'd not like knowing I'm saying this, but that bothered him as much as his pride getting hurt.

Someone like Duo can get along with anyone if he has to. He flashes them a toothy smile, makes a joke or two, maybe punches them in the arm and insults them to get their attention. He got it, too, but not the way he wanted. You want to get to Duo, you ignore him, and that's what that kid did.

I heard how he came across that second Gundam. He found it underwater, realized it was ready to blow, and he took that thermal scythe and put it where the sun doesn't shine. He figured it'd be a good source of spare parts of Deathscythe and I'm sure he's not appreciating the irony.

There's more to that story but if Duo's told anyone, they're keeping it to themselves. As far as I'm concerned that means it's between him and the kid. Makes me proud of Duo. He should be putting that charm to good work, sneaking a couple kisses behind some old gnarled tree known for that reputation at school. Instead he's a man who's seen too much, hiding behind a smile that's too easily given.

The fact that he complained about that kid when he went to bed and that he got up to check on him in the middle of the night, that told me a lot more than Duo bringing him here in the first place.

He's not going to forget this and it'll take a long time to forgive. Duo probably knew the kid was trouble from the start. Don't think I'm too blind not to know a bullet wound when I see one or two of them. The broken leg wasn't the only thing wrong with the kid.

I try not to miss too much that goes on around here and I knew Duo's gun had been discharged. Wasn't too hard to figure out just who had been in the line of fire at the time.

No doubt in my mind they'll run into each other again. I don't know when, but it's not hard to figure that the Gundams are going to have to work together. That's not destiny, it's smart planning, and the brains behind these mobile suits, even mine, we're not stupid.

The kid didn't seem stupid either, but he's young. Both of them are. They'll watch each other's back if they need to, but when the smoke clears, I hope the kid doesn't underestimate Duo.

If he does, well, he'll learn the hard way.

Don't we all.

8 January 2006

Notes: Old fic - written for LJ community gw_jeopardy (category Hit Me With Your Best Shot/800 points - One for One)