Trapped Between Past and Future...

by WSJ

I don't own GW.

Warnings: DMxHS, some angst... Oh yeah, spoilers for Duo's Episode Zero manga. This takes place maybe two years after Endless Waltz, when they're all eighteen-nineteen.

()()()()()

Hilde Schibeiker glanced up from where she was working on an invoice at the front desk as Duo Maxwell came walking through, covered in grease and whistling. Evidentually he'd just been working on the car for Mr Gelonshi. She shook her head. "Don't get grease on the carpet Duo." she warned.

He made a face at her. "I won't, I won't. I'm just going to get the mail."

Hilde shook her head again and went back to the invoice as Duo trotted down to the mailbox by the road of "Maxwell's Used MS Parts". Duo could pilot any MS, fix any vehicle, but he didn't have any clear notion of what soap was used for other then the lubrication of one's finger if your ring turned out to be too small.

Within the minute he was back, still whistling some nameless tune and flipping through the stack of envelopes. All at once the whistling stopped, and Hilde looked back up to see Duo's mouth drop open and his eyes widen. In two shakes of a lamb's tail she was around the desk and looking over his shoulder. "What is it Duo?"

The envelpoe wasn't anything to be noted. It was white, or maybe a little bit off-white, and their address was written on it in a firm, looping half-cursive hand. There was no name, but there was a return address in the corner and Hilde felt herself gasp. "From L4? Good lord, that's come a long way!"

Duo nodded faintly, before turning it over to break the seal on the back. "Dear Duo..." he muttered aloud, although Hilde could see plainly enough over his shaking hands. She wrinkled her brow in confusion as her eyes skipped to the bottom and she read the signiture. Dana Kalla.

"Duo?" she asked softly, putting a hand on his shoulder. He jumped, as if he'd forgotten she was there. He swallowed hard.

"An old friend."

Gently Hilde pryed the letter from his hands and read it.

*Dear Duo,

*Been awhile, hasn't it. I heard about your part in the war, and I'm proud of you. I think Solo would be too, if he were here. You heard that Becca was killed in that border skirmish between OZ and Gundam Sandrock, right? I don't blame that pilot friend of yours, none of us do. It just hit us hard that she's gone.

*But back to the present. Jen, Kale and I have to go to L2 for business next week, and we were wondering if we might be able to hook up for dinner one night. Still in the scrap business? Thought so. Call Kale so we can arrange a time. 555-4592.

*Yours forever,

*Dana Kalla

Hilde wrinkled her forehead and put a hand on Duo's shoulder. "Du-chan...?" As if her touch had been a signal he shook himself out of his trance and turned to face her, his violet eyes wide.

"I think..." he said, guiding her to a kitchen chair and then sitting down next to her. "That it's time I explained my past..." His eyes got that far-away look again and Hilde waited patiently for him to continue.

"I told you about Father Maxwell and Sister Helen, right?" he asked.

Hilde nodded. "Yeah, just after we first met and I asked you about your long hair."

"Just checking." said Duo, a hint of his usual humor beginning to filter back in. He sat back and stared in to the middle distance, as if trying to get his thoughts in order before he started. "I have no memories of my life before I was six years old." he began.

Not true... he silently scolded himself. I have one memory of the time before I was six years old... But now isn't the time to go into that.

"Earliest I can remember," he said outloud "I was living with a gang of orphans on the streets of L2. The leader was a boy about one year older then me who went by the name of Solo. None of us really had names, so we made our own. At that point everyone called me Key, for reasons unknown." Duo shrugged. "Anyway, you've heard about the L2 Plauge, right?"

Hilde shuddered and nodded. "It killed nearly every child in the colony." Her mind put two and two together and her hands flew to her mouth. "Oh Duo!"

He waved her concern away. "Let me finish. Our gang had twenty-two, counting me and Solo. We stole everything we needed, food, clothes, whatever. One day we were all gathered in the abandoned warehouse that was serving as home-of-the-week when Solo came in. He had been out getting food for us.

"He was pale and stumbling and it was obvious that he was really sick. Me and two others grabbed him and put him to bed. I became impromptu leader while Solo was sick. None of us ever thought that he wouldn't get better.

"When the others began to get sick too it was obvious that it was getting serious. Two of the other older kids and me got together to deside what to do. We desided that since I was the only one so far who wasn't sick I should go to the hospital and try to steal some anti-biotics."

Duo paused to swallow the lump in his throat. "So I did. I stole twenty-two doses of the strongest anti-biotic I could get my scummy little hands on. When I got back to the warehouse I gave everyone their medicine and went to Solo last. He was the worst off out of all of us, since he had gotten sick first. I gave him his dose of the medicine and mine too, hoping he'd get better.

"At that point I didn't care whether I caught the plauge and died or not, I just wanted my best friend to live. He only woke up once, while I was watching over him. He told me he'd always be with me, and that we'd be best friends forever. He said 'Key, you're the leader now, take care of them.' and I said 'If you're always with me, then we'll be a duo.' and then he died.

"And so we're a Duo. Soon after that all the other orphans in the group recovered, and we were taken in by Maxwell Church. Most of the others were adopted, and the rest went back to the street after the church was destroyed. You know the rest." Duo looked thoughtful for a moment. "You know... I never did get sick with the Plauge."

Hilde smiled, a bit tearfully after hearing Duo's story. "Must've had an angel watching out for you."

Again, Duo got a far away look in his violet eyes and stared up, as if he could see the sky through the ceiling. "Maybe..."

Abruptly he stood up. "Jen, Kale and Dana are three of my orphans. (He'd taken to calling them his orphans over the years) We've all tried to keep in touch, and I've always tried to watch over them, even though we're all mostly grown up now. Of course, lots of us became soldiers in the war, and were killed, and at last count I think we're down to..." Duo quickly tallied up the sums. "Eleven, counting me. No, ten. Becca's gone now."

Hilde didn't know what to say, but Duo flashed her a grin as he reached for the phone. "Solo's probably having a hay-day trying to keep them all in line." He picked up the phone and dialed the number written on in the letter.

"...Hello? Kale, that you?" Still listening to Kale on the other line Duo motioned for Hilde to come closer. He wrapped his free arm around her waist and pulled her close, setting his chin on top of her head so she could hear both ends of the conversation.

"Of course it's me Key! Who else would it be?"

Duo's tone had a teasing ring to it. "Ah ah ah Kale, it's Duo now, remember?"

"Ah yes, of course Key." said the strong tenor voice on the other end.

Duo desided to ignore the old nickname. For the most part. "So you're going to be in town next week Kappa?"

Kale chuckled. "That's one for one." he said.

Hilde tried to make sence of the unfamiliar Japanese word. Turtle... Beast? No, Turtle-Monster.

"We were hoping the four of us could get together." Kale continued.

Duo grinned, even though he knew Kale couldn't see him. "Great idea, I know a great little resturant. Can I bring a friend?"

"Sure, I am. Is it a girlfriend?" asked Kale, his voice teasing.

"I don't know, is yours?" Duo asked, same teasing tone in his own words.

"Nope. Fiancee." Kale said matter-of-factly.

Duo whooped happily. "You dog! What about Jen and Dana?"

"Both still single." said Kale.

"Ah well, why should I care? You were right, I do have a girlfriend." he said, giving Hilde a little squeeze.

"How about we meet at your place Tuesday night at about six o'clock and then you can take us to this resterant." Kale suggested.

"'Kay." Duo said. "And it's a fancy resturant, so make sure you dress up." After giving Kale directions to the house from the hotel Kale said they were going to be staying at Duo hung up. "So, babe," he said causually, turning Hilde to face him. "Ready to meet my past?"

~*~

"Hilde!" Duo called up the stairs. "Are you ready yet? They're going to be here soon!"

"Just a minute Du-chan!" she called back.

Duo sighed and flopped down onto the couch, careful not to mess up his black tuxedo. Sure, he'd kept in contact with the other orphans, but he hadn't actually seen any of them since before the war. In fact, he hadn't seen Dana since she'd gotten adopted when they were eight.

A moment later there was a sound from upstairs and Duo glanced up. His face broke into a grin as his girlfriend desended the stairs, dressed to the teeth. She had on an ankle-length, black, spagetti strap dress with a slit in the side that came up to mid-thigh. Black high-heels, a black velvet choker and a black leather hand-bag completed the outfit.

"Mmmm..." Duo said, going over and giving her a kiss. "You look wonderful tonight Hilde-babe."

Hilde giggled. "Why thank you! I know you love this dress, so I desided to make a good impression on your friends."

Duo whinced slightly at the word 'friends'. "Er... That's not exactly the best way to describe it hon. Yeah, most of us were frinds, but Ki-Rin and I, well, we never got along. Still don't. After Solo died he had half a mind to take over the gang himself."

"So where was the other half of his mind?" asked Hilde, snuggling down into her beloved's embrace.

"A black hole somewhere." said Duo nonchalantly.

Both of them started to laugh as the doorbell rang. "Ki-Rin." Hilde mused as the two of them headed for the door. "Doesn't that mean 'dragon-dog'?"

Duo nodded. "Like I said, we all had names for each other that we sometimes still call each other. After they got adopted most of us took on 'more normal' names, like Jen and Dana. I think Ki-Rin goes by Joshua nowadays."

Duo tugged open the door and came face to face with four figures. The three women were all shorter then him, but the man, Kale, was a little taller.

Kale had a messy shock of black hair, deep blue eyes and a bit of a beard struggling to take hold on his chin. He was dressed in a similar tuxedo to the one Duo wore. He held the hand of a woman, his fiancee, who had long, dark green hair pulled back into a loose pony-tail and ice blue eyes. She had on a long white skirt, a baby-blue halter top, white boots and white elbow-gloves.

The shortest of the women, who was even a little shorter then Hilde, seemed to radiate an air that made her seem a lot bigger. She had wavy blond hair that fell to just below her shoulders and peircing gray eyes. She had on a white blouse with a black vest over top, black cowboy boots and a knee-length red skirt.

The last of the group had short brown hair and brown eyes. She wore a purple, sleeveless top and a long black skirt, and black high-heels.

Duo grinned happily. "Hullo guys! Haven't seen you in ages! This is my girlfriend, Hilde Schibeiker. Hilde, this is Kappa," he motioned at Kale "Chocho," the brown-haired woman "And Tennyo." the blond woman. He finished introducing them by their orphan nicknames.

Hilde smiled. "Turtle-Monster, Butterfly and Fairy." she greeted them.

Chocho looked delighted. "You know Japanese!"

"Only a little." Hilde admitted.

"I'm Dana Kalla." Chocho said, holding out her hand. Hilde shook it.

"I'm Jennefer Venu." said Tennyo. "Call me Jen."

"I'm Kale Takanouchi, and this is my fiancee, Rachel Taylor." Kale said, finally introducing the woman at his side. She smiled at them.

"It's a pleasure to meet you Duo, and you Hilde. I've heard a lot about you from Kale, Jen and Dana."

Duo cleared his throat. "Shall we go? I made a reservation for seven o'clock."

Kale smiled. "Alright, let's be off." He offered one arm to Rachel and the other to Jen. Giggling they linked their own arms through his. Behind them Duo grinned and did the same with Hilde and Dana. They piled into Duo's beat up old black Viper and headed off toward the resturant.

()()()()()

I know, this is short. But it'll get better, I promise. And Duo's memory that he said he had of when he was really young? That'll be reveiled later too. Oh, another thing, I want Duo, Hilde and Kale to play match-maker for Dana and Jen while they're here. I'm thinking of pairing Dana with Quatre and Jen with either Wufei or Heero. Let me know what you think. And remember, the match-making doesn't have to work. They just have to try. ^-~ Like I said, give me your input!!! E-mail: yamatos_fangirl@hotmail.com

God Bless!