Ugh. . . Note to Self: Never again tell Tori that you'll add more to one of your fics if she'll do the same with one of hers. *smacks forehead*

Well, here you go, guys. The long-awaited update. *sigh* Here's hoping it doesn't suck. . .


It was December 28th; the mid-point of the Holidays where people were winding down from the Christmas cheer along with a little bit too much egg nog, and stocking up on cheap champagne and annoying noise-makers that would be forgotten not long after the ball figuratively and literally dropped.

Duo slumped in his chair at the kitchen table. Duo had been so far unable to locate Dr. G.

"Go figure. I can't find the old bastard when I need him, but he always seems to pop up to harass me when I want him gone," Duo thought, "But I guess it isn't that much of a surprise this close to the holidays."

With a heavy heart, he thought back to the vid that had started his little obsession with finding the good Doctor and getting the truth out of him. The remembering was easy enough - he had watched it so many times it was engrained in his mind.

His mood had not gone un-noticed by the other pilots eating their own breakfasts.

Duet eyed him as Duo absently spread cream cheese on the bagel he had grabbed before dropping into his seat, then glanced across the table at Heero with a raised eyebrow.

Heero silently studied the normally cheerful braided-boy for a moment; he had abandoned adding to the cream cheese mountain on his bagel to fiddle with the end of his braid.

"Something wrong, Duo?" His quiet voice seemed to cut through Trowa and Quatre's conversation, and their attention shifted to focus on the teenager in question.

Duo seemed ignorant of the sudden silence in the room, and continued twisting and pulling at his braid.

When Quatre waved his hand in front of Duo's face and received no response, a concerned glance passed between the pilots.

Duet placed her hand on Duo's shoulder to shake him, lightly brushing her hand against his chestnut braid in the process.

The movement of his braid seemed to jolt him back to the present, because he suddenly jerked away and jumped to his feet, knocking his chair to the floor with a loud clatter that startled his friends.

His deep breathing seemed somehow harsh in the silence of the kitchen. He stared dumbly down at his breakfast of a moment before abruptly turning.

As he left the kitchen, he mumbled something that sounded like "I'm not hungry." over his shoulder.

Duet was the first to break the stillness left in Duo's wake. "This cannot be good."

Quatre blinked, still staring at the door Duo had exited through, then nodded. "He. . . he's -never- not hungry. The piles of empty pizza boxes in his room alone can attest to that."

Heero said nothing, but stood and inconspicuously followed Duo up the stairs. Not too surprisingly, he watched from around the corner as Duo unlocked his bedroom door and entered, shutting it behind him.

Lately, the braided-pilot had developed the habit of spending hours locked in his room, when he wasn't away for days at a time without telling anyone where he was going. Then he would show up at the most inconspicuous time, looking exhausted and dead on his feet.

Just to shut himself in his room again.

Heero's eyes lit for a moment as he realized the door to Duo's room hadn't latched; it wasn't even closed all the way. With all the stealth he was capable of, Heero moved the rest of the distance down the hall to Duo's door and reached for the doorknob.

Tbc. . . ?


Wow, I'm just leaving you guys with all kinds of cliffhangers, aren't I? *evile grin* Well, you'll just have to bear it. And please, let me know what you think so far. *crosses her fingers, hoping for lots of good reviews*

-- Ivy