Four times Heero threatened to kill Duo, and one time he remembers why he doesn't ever follow through
Disclaimer: All Gundam Wing characters, objects, settings, and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended no money is being made from the writing of this fanfiction.
Notes: Written for fivetimesbb on LJ
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These days, Heero Yuy was a rather content man. That hadn't always been the case. Once upon a time, Heero was a very troubled youth. He was angry and violent and lonely, although he hadn't known it. But all that changed when Heero left his training facility to fight a war and ended up finding friendship. Surprisingly, he found it amongst other fighters, other Gundam pilots, Duo Maxwell in particular.
It was an odd friendship. Duo was funny, outgoing, and friendly, while Heero was stoic and introverted. Most people had a hard time understanding their friendship. Sometimes Heero was one of those people. After the Eve War ended, Heero, with encouragement from those he had come to care about, made the decision to try really living for the first time. He travelled for awhile, but when he came back, he decided to move in with Duo in the hopes that his new roommate could teach him more about friendship and show him how to enjoy his new life.
On the whole, his experiment had been pretty successful. Living with Duo had helped Heero create a fuller, happier life.
When he wasn't tempted to kill the man, that is.
1. The Laundry
Heero was in charge of doing the laundry. This was primarily because, in his natural habitat, Duo tended more towards the "lazy slob" end of the spectrum. At first, Heero did only his own laundry on laundry day. Many things about Heero had changed and relaxed since his days as a guerilla mobile suit pilot, but his regimented weekly scheduled regarding his exercise and hygiene was not one of them. Eventually, Heero got tired of smelling Duo's laundry pile (and of having to dig his own stolen clothes out of it), so he started doing Duo's laundry as well. In return, Duo began keeping his clutter confined to his room. The arrangement suited them both.
Wednesdays were laundry days. On this particular Wednesday, Heero came home after work to start his usual laundry routine. He took off his shoes in the entryway, just as he did every Wednesday. He took off his tie and his Preventers jacket and left them—along with his keys and laptop bag—in his bedroom, just like he did every Wednesday. Then he padded down the hall and went into Duo's room to collect the messy pile of dirty laundry the braided man built up over the course of the week, just like he did every Wednesday.
Only this Wednesday, unlike every other Wednesday, there was no monstrously large pile of dirty laundry. There wasn't so much as one stinky sock.
Heero stared at the empty floor space that was currently defying his carefully created weekly schedule and frowned, perplexed. When no dirty laundry magically appeared, Heero, still frowning, left Duo's room and made his way to the laundry room and the comfort of his own laundry hamper, which would not be inexplicably empty of dirty clothes.
Except for the fact that it was.
Heero stared, wide-eyed, at the clean, white bottom of his hamper. Frowning, he closed the lid, counted to ten, and lifted it again, certain that he was just imagining that all his dirty clothes had disappeared. Cautiously, he peered inside.
Nope. Still empty.
Scowling now, Heero slammed the lid of his hamper down and glared around the empty laundry room. Something about it was bothering him.
There was something white and grainy spilled across the top of the washer. Moving quickly to investigate, Heero lifted a pinch of the stuff to his face with thumb and forefinger and sniffed. As expected, it smelled like laundry detergent. Upon closer inspection, he found small dashes of detergent scattered across the top of the dryer and over the linoleum as well. The box of sheeted fabric softener also looked disturbed. And now that he was thinking about it, the room smelled a little more like clean, fresh laundry than it did on any other day but laundry day. Suspiciously, Heero reached out and laid his hand on top of the dryer. It was warm.
With a growing sense of dread, Heero opened the dryer door and leaned down to peer inside. Sure enough, the machine was full of soft, fresh smelling laundry. Heero's scowl deepened. There wasn't supposed to be laundry in the dryer until he put it there. And there was something off about the laundry that wasn't supposed to be in the dryer. Curious, Heero reached in and pulled out a garment he was pretty sure belonged to him. Only it looked...wrong.
Just then, he heard footsteps enter the room behind him and come to a sudden stop.
"Oh! Heero. You're, uh, you're home."
Heero turned to look at his roommate, still holding the pink monstrosity that used to be his favorite work shirt.
"Right. Heh heh. Um, about that..." Duo rubbed the back of his neck with one hand, nervously avoiding Heero's eyes. "It's just, you've been really stressed lately, what with Lena's new campaign and the firewall breach at the Preventers last week, and I thought you could use a break."
Heero looked at the shirt, then back at Duo.
"I was just trying to help?" Duo offered.
"By dying all my shirts pink?"
"Well, that part was an accident. I was really careful to sort all the clothes, just like you always do! Only that one pair of Valentine's boxers I have snuck into the white pile when I wasn't looking and..." Duo trailed off in the face of Heero's hardest glare. His expression waivered as he attempted to look contrite, but after a moment or two, his irrepressibly mischievous grin broke through. "Look, Heero, the truth is that I thought it might give your love life a little boost, that's all."
"What?" Heero bit the question out.
"I mean, you have been pining after a certain someone for years..."
Heero's glare hardened. "I'm going to kill you," he stated calmly. His reaching hand closed milliseconds later on the empty air where Duo's braid had been.
Lightening quick, Duo cackled as he danced further out of Heero's reach. "Does this mean you don't like the shirts?" he asked, his innocent tone in direct contrast with the devious look in his eyes.
Heero snarled and lunged at his friend. Duo took off running, only barely dodging Heero's grasp as he laughed and called back over one narrow shoulder, "But Heero, Lena will loooooove your new look!"
2. The Bio
One day, after a long week away training new Preventer recruits, Heero came home and sat, for the first time in a week (a week!) before his beloved laptop. He booted it up, and as soon as he'd typed his way through the many layers of security protecting it, he opened his email.
"250 emails?" he murmured, staring at the number next to the little Inbox link. Frowning he clicked on it, scrolling slowly through the revealed list of messages.
"Re: your bio—Myra Jones?" He scanned along. "Re: your bio—35yearsyoung? Re: your bio—ladylove?" Almost all of the 250 emails were preceded by the same heading in the subject line: "Re: your bio." Heero frowned. "What is all this?" he wondered aloud. He checked the "from" column and noted that all the emails were also from the same sender.
"What is uHarmony?"
Frown growing deeper, Heero pulled up his internet browser and did a web search. A few minutes later, he was staring, wide-eyed, at a dating website with big letters across the top spelling "Universal Harmony—Discover your perfect match with our online dating services."
Heero stared at the screen for a long, tense moment. Then he began typing. He typed and he typed and he typed, and before long, he was staring at one of the most horrifying things he'd ever seen.
There, in garish red letter across the top of his screen, was Heero's name. And below it, a large picture of Heero. He had no idea where the picture had come from; he would never have consented to someone photographing him when he was still damp from a recent shower and wearing nothing but a thick blue towel tied tight around his hips. And below that a short "description" of...someone who was definitely not Heero. Heero hadn't much of a sense of romance, really. He certainly didn't have any particular fondness for long walks on the beach, watching the sun set over golden sand dunes, evenings spent reading by a fire, or...fluffy white kittens?
Heero sneered. Then he thought about it. Never mind that his name and his picture were pasted for all the world to see; if he didn't know any better he'd say this bio described...Quatre.
Heero's eyes narrowed suspiciously. A dating bio he had never posted, combined with a description of Quatre's very-not-Heero-like personality, just reeked of a Maxwell prank.
More than a little irritated, Heero swore vengeance on his roommate. Just as soon as he deleted this stupid account.
Only when he tried, he was informed that he could not delete the account without verifying his identity. Which he could not do without the appropriate password. Which he did not know because he hadn't set up the account. And, most shocking of all, he couldn't seem to hack into the database.
Deciding to worry about this later, Heero viciously deleted all the hundreds of emails from women he didn't know, and went back to work.
Only, as the day wore on, the emails began to arrive more and more frequently. Soon he couldn't go two seconds without a little "new email" message popping up. Heero was fast losing his patience, and when another hour spent trying to guess the right password for his faux dating bio failed to produce results, Heero printed a screen shot, shoved his chair back from his desk and, print out in hand, went in search of his soon to be ex-best friend.
When he reached Duo's office, Heero shoved the door open without knocking. Duo looked up from his computer curiously, then grinned brightly when he saw who was standing in his doorway.
" 'Ro! Welcome back, buuuuuuddy! How'd the trip go?"
"The trip was fine, Maxwell. Do you want to know what's not fine? Coming home to hundreds of emails and this." Heero shoved the screenshot in his friend's face, forcing the long-haired man to jerk back in order to focus properly on the page.
"Oh, that," Duo said slowly, after a long moment.
When Duo failed to elaborate, Heero narrowed his eyes with murderous intent.
"Weeeeeell...it's like this. You've been doing really well lately at, you know, being a normal person. You've got a good job and good friends. You even seem to have lost the more serious suicidal tendencies, which is a huge relief, let me tell you. But you still don't seem real happy, 'Ro. I'm just trying to help you out."
"This," Heero wiggled the screenshot in Duo's face again, "is supposed to make me happy?"
Duo grinned wickedly. "I just thought that, maybe if we found you a girl, you'd loosen up a bit."
"Found me a girl."
"By taking stalkerish pictures of me coming out of the shower—"
"Well it's not like you'd've let me take one if I'd asked."
"— and describing Quatre in the biography section?"
"Everyone loves Quat, 'Ro, and let's face it, you still have problems with people. I figured we might have more luck if we introduced the real you slowly."
"Duo..." Heero growled warningly.
"What?" Duo snickered. "I just figured you've been mooning after Relena for years without making a move. It's time you moved on, Heero, and clearly you need some help with that."
"Mooned?" Heero's jaw dropped. "I never..." he trailed off as he began to advance on his friend. Duo instantly shoved his chair back and slid across his desk as Heero came around it, darting quickly for the door.
"Delete the bio, Duo!" Heero demanded.
"But Heero, you really do need all the help you can get. I really think you should reconsider!" The end of the last word turned into a yelp as he dodged Heero's reaching hands.
"I'm going to kill you, Duo!"
3. The Gun
One of Heero's favorite places was the Preventers shooting range. Despite everything he'd been through and all the violence he'd seen, he still loved everything about his gun. He liked the feel of it in his hand, the noise it made when he pulled the trigger, the power he felt knowing he was a perfect shot. Most of all, he liked the release he felt when he fired it at the end of a long and stressful day, especially long and stressful days full of stupid bureaucrats who don't the first thing about what appropriate security measures are necessary for maintaining universal peace. However, after the war and the new appreciation for the value of life that he'd gained from it, his favorite targets had become just that: targets.
He would never admit it, but he actually liked it best when all four of the other pilots were in town and they conducted intricate paintball wars. But as that wasn't an option today, Heero was willing to settle for an hour alone with his beloved gun and an empty firing range.
Plus, he got to use "target practice in preparation for tomorrow's mission" as an excuse to get out of his stuffy office and his stuffy suit for an hour.
"Tomorrow's mission" was another thing Heero was looking forward to. It was an undercover mission, one that was supposed to last anywhere from a month to several months, depending. Heero hadn't had the opportunity to do anything like it for years. Heero loved undercover missions.
Heero made his way back to his office after his third long and bureaucrat-filled meeting of the day like a man on a mission (which he was). People in the halls took one look at his face and practically climbed over one another trying to get out of his way. Heero, who was focused on getting to his gun before he felt the need to use it on a person rather than a paper target, didn't really notice.
He did notice that his gun was missing when he reached his office, however. He'd left the gun in a securely locked drawer this morning before leaving to attend the first of the meetings for which he was (stupidly) not allowed to carry. But when he went to open the drawer to retrieve the gun, he found it already unlocked and the gun missing.
Heero stared blankly at the drawer's lack of contents, then snarled silently and marched out the door and down the hall towards Duo's office. He shoved the door open without bothering to knock and was already opening his mouth to demand to know what the former sneak thief thought he was doing stealing Heero's gun when he realized the office was empty. Irritated, he thought for a moment about where his friend might be and decided his best bet was down at the gun range.
Heero marched his way down to said range. The thunderous expression on his face had people he passed calling others in warning, and soon the hallways were completely deserted. Heero was just happy not to have to deal with more idiotic people. (Aside from a certain braided idiot, whom Heero was very eager to have to deal with. Especially if he could do it violently.)
When Heero arrived at his destination, he had to do a lot of searching in some very dark and deserted corners before he found his roommate.
"Duo! Where. Is. My. Gun!"
"Heero!" Duo faced him bravely, Heero would give him that. Not that bravery mattered much to a dead man. Which Duo was, if he didn't turn over that gun immediately. "Which gun?" Duo's expression was innocent and nonchalant. It would have worked on anyone who didn't know what a consummate actor Duo was. Meaning, it didn't work on Heero.
"My Walther PPQ. The one I carry on me at all times unless I am in a stupid bureaucratic meeting."
"Ooooooh, that gun!" Another innocent face. "What makes you think I had anything to do with your gun?"
"I had a meeting this morning. My gun storage drawer is secure. It was open when I got back from my meeting. You're the only person capable of picking my locks who would dare to actually do it. Where. Is. My. Gun!"
"Umm..." Duo started backing away. "Well, you see..."
"Duo. Stop moving and tell me what happened to my gun," Heero snarled.
"I only borrowed it so I could clean it for you! I was worried you might not have time to do your obsessive before-mission, super-intense gun cleaning because of all the meetings, and I was cleaning mine anyway, so I figured, why not? I just wanted to make sure it was clean and fully functional before you left tomorrow!"
Heero growled. "What. Happened!"
"The recoil spring is missing!" Duo blurted. His eyes instantly widened in shock and he clapped his hands over his mouth.
"I was cleaning it, and all the pieces were there, and I got up to grab a soda, just real quick, 'cause I needed the sugar boost, and when I came back it was gone!"
"Duo," Heero's voice was more of a hiss than an actual word.
"It must have been a squirrel or something!"
"Trained by the enemy to incapacitate you. It probably came in through the window and stole the spring! It wasn't my fault, I was so careful!"
"Except when you weren't at the table!" Heero snarled.
"Right. Except for that," Duo agreed weakly.
"If you had listened to me and stopped playing jokes on people at work, maybe they wouldn't take revenge on you using! My! Gun!" Heero lunged at his friend. Duo shrieked and ducked beneath his reaching arms.
"Bye, Heero! Goodluckonyourmission!" Duo called as he raced full speed out the door.
"Duo! I'm going to kill you!"
4. The Laptop
Duo joked a lot about how Heero's best friend was his laptop. Heero rarely gave him the satisfaction of reacting to his taunts, but he supposed Duo was right; in a way, his laptop was his best friend. When Heero hadn't anyone in the world to lean on, he'd had his trusty laptop. The machine might have been replaced several times since the war, but Heero was still very dependent on his computer. And therefore very protective of it.
Heero was comfortable with his "relationship" with his computer, but he knew it could be used against him if he wasn't careful.
He knew this because it had happened in the past. Once, during the war, his computer had been captured when Heero had had to abandon a safe house unexpectedly and he'd been forced to utilize the remote self-destruct function on it. That had been a crushing blow.
Another time, Quatre had kidnapped his laptop and held it for ransom. "Come to the reunion, Heero," he'd said, "or you'll never see Harold again." (Heero refused to acknowledge the stupid name Duo had given his laptop. Heero's friends, however, refused to call it anything else.) In response, Heero had traveled to Quatre's house, snuck his way inside, and stolen his computer back. While he was there, he hacked into Quatre's home electronic system (the one that automatically ran the whole house) and programmed a tiny, practically harmless, but extremely irritating virus in it. Then he'd refused to go to the reunion in retaliation. (He'd attended every one since, however. He wasn't willing to deal with Quatre's Big Eyes and Sad Pout ever again without good reason.)
The time that ended with Heero taking to sleeping with his laptop under his pillow again began with a trip to the office. It was an average workday. Heero arrived in his office right on time and set his laptop case in his chair. He pulled the machine from its case and set it on the clean, shining surface of his desk. He hit the power button, and while he waited for the computer to boot up, he set about plugging in the power cord and the mouse he used at work. By the time he was finished, the familiar start-up melody rang out from his laptop's speakers and the computer prompted him for his password.
Heero sat down in his office chair and typed in his 24 character password from memory. He waited patiently for the computer to process, hands already poised to type in the first of many commands. So when the expected welcome tune didn't play, and an unexpected message popped up, Heero was more than a little surprised.
"Wrong password?" he read. Hmmmm...maybe he'd just typed it in wrong. It'd never happened before, but there was a first time for everything, right? So Heero typed the password in a second time, but he got the same message in response. Scowling now, Heero checked to make sure that the caps lock was off and the num lock was on. Then he tried the password a third time. This time, instead of the "wrong password" message, a little chibi figure dressed in a hooded robe and carrying a long-handled scythe came racing across the bottom of the screen. When it reached the center, it turned to face front. It was only then that he noticed that the small figure was smiling up at him with Duo's eyes and Duo's wicked grin, and that Duo's braid was hanging over one shoulder.
"Wrong, wrong, wrong!" the little figure chanted up at him in a high pitched voice. It held up one hand and wagged a finger in his direction.
"Duo," Heero growled. He wasn't sure how the braided menace had done it, but it was obvious that Duo was behind it. Still, annoying as this little pest was, Heero was a talented and experienced hacker. Stretching his arms out and lacing his fingers together, Heero cracked his knuckles and then wiggled them over the keyboard a bit, warming up. Then he set to work.
"Uh-uh-uh!" the little menace cried a few minutes later, cackling madly before setting a little bomb (complete with a skull and crossbones painted on the front in white) down at his own little feet and racing off-screen. Heero typed frantically as the little fuse burned away, but his efforts were fruitless. Within seconds, the little bomb exploded in a colorful display of reds and oranges and yellows, bringing him, to his frustration, back to the welcome screen, complete with taunting Duo-shaped Grim Reaper in one corner.
Heero set to work a second time, and this time he made it a little further before the cackling menace set off another bomb, this time pointing and laughing the whole time the fuse burned away.
Truly angry now, Heero tried a third time. This time the chibi Duo on his screen paused long enough to point and say "Heero is a dumby" before blowing all Heero's efforts to kingdom come. The fourth time, the little figure declared that "Heero couldn't hack a computer to save his life." When Heero snarled and cussed at the laughing figure, the chibi frowned and said "Naughty Heero needs a time-out!" And when the computer "blew up" this time, it shut itself down. No matter how many times he tried, Heero couldn't get it to boot up again.
Furious, Heero let out an inarticulate cry of rage. Somewhere in the depths of the office, Heero could hear the real Duo laughing.
"I'm going to kill you, Duo!" he shouted.
Wherever he was, Duo just laughed harder.
5. The Reminder
"Preventer Storm to HQ, Preventer Storm to HQ. I've got a C-450 here. Requesting back-up," Heero shouted into his com, diving behind a stack of crates to avoid getting shot.
"Roger that C-450, Preventer Storm. Back-up is half an hour out."
"Half an hour? I've got at least ten men here with AK-47s and I'm nearly out of ammunition. I'll be dead in 30 minutes!"
Heero was furious, and not just because back-up wasn't going to reach him in time. Heero was here to investigate several tips the Preventers had received that there was a minor drug lab operating out of this warehouse. It was supposed to be a simple recon mission, in and out, completely safe. Instead, it'd turned out this was the headquarters of a universal drug syndicate, and they were very well defended. Heero had almost managed to sneak his way back out when he'd been spotted, and he was now pinned down in a corner a mere 10 feet from the exit.
"Understood, Preventer Storm. We'll be there ASAP."
Heero cursed quietly under his breath, ducking his head involuntarily as another burst of gunfire slammed against the other side of the crates protecting him. He heard an ominous splintering.
ASAP meant "we'd like to get there sooner, but our original estimate is really the best we can do."
Heero knew half an hour was a very optimistic guess. Half of Preventers was out with the flu, including Duo. That, combined with the relatively low danger assessment for this mission, was why Heero was currently partnerless. And armed with only one gun and one extra magazine.
Heero took the opportunity, whenever he was able, to fire a return shot at his enemies. He hit home on several occasions, if the shouts were anything to go by, but he went through his remaining ammo long before he ran out of adversaries. After that, he listened very carefully for awhile to the sound of movement and gunfire, trying to determine where his opponents were located. It was possible he might be able to take one out and steal their weapon if they were close enough...
Suddenly, there was a crash as the window above Heero shattered. Heero ducked and covered his head as shards of glass came down around him in a glittering shower. He hissed as a few shards sliced his arms and hands, then caught the gun and the extra ammo that had been dropped through the newly opened window. He thumbed the safety on the gun, then chambered a round and crept to the end of his protective crate stack.
"Duo?" he called.
"Gotcha covered, 'Ro!" came Duo's voice from above, followed by a prolonged coughing fit.
"What are you doing out of bed, you idiot?"
"Saving your suicidal self, obviously! I couldn't just let you get yourself killed out here on your lonesome."
Heero grinned. "Who asked for your help, anyway?"
"Aw, buddy! You never need to ask, you know that."
Heero rolled his eyes. "Count of ten?"
"You got it!"
"Oh, and Duo?"
"If I catch the flu because you touched my gun, I'm going to kill you!"
Duo's laugh rang out, followed by the sound of gunfire from above as Duo covered Heero's exit. The next few minutes were full of intense gunfire, running, and a few very near misses. But Heero and Duo had been fighting together for a very long time, and they managed to get Heero out of the warehouse and safely into the short transport shuttle waiting outside fairly quickly.
Duo climbed inside the shuttle and promptly collapsed into one of the passenger seats. Heero rolled his eyes, exasperated, and grabbed his friend by the lapels of his jacket, shoving him up in the seat and swiftly strapping him in. "Idiot," he muttered, climbing into the pilot's seat and setting the coordinates for HQ. Once they were in the air, he put the shuttle on autopilot, then went to check on his roommate. Duo was out like a light, but his fever was up again. Heero shook him awake and forced some Tylenol down his throat. Duo muttered complaints, but swallowed when ordered, then let his head drop back with a heartfelt groan.
"Thanks, Heero," he muttered, falling instantly back to sleep.
"No, thank you," Heero replied, tightening one of Duo's shoulder straps. Duo might be a pain in his rear 80% of the time, but that last 20% when Duo saved his butt more than made up for the irritation.
"I'm still going to kill you if I catch the flu, though," Heero muttered darkly. "And this time I will go through with it."