2. Act I, Scene ii
Heero fidgeted on the uncomfortable plastic chairs outside the guidance counselor's office. He hated this, waiting for what he knew was going to be a death sentence. He didn't even know why they had to take so many humanities courses in order to graduate. Sciences and Math - those were the subjects a person needed to get by in the *real* world, not sitting around reading works from people who were long dead before his *grandparents* were even born. Not that he was bad at English or Lit. He always brought home top grades in all his classes, even in the ones he didn't like. He was in contention to be class valedictorian… but not if he didn't get his credits straightened out. He hoped he could get one of his science electives to substitute for his missing humanities course, but he had a sinking feeling that wasn't going to fly.
He looked at his watch and squirmed again. Damn it. He was going to miss out on lunch if Ms. Noin didn't hurry. He sighed and slumped down in the chair, bored out of his mind. Had he known it was going to take this long to get in to see the guidance counselor, he'd have brought something to do. Trowa was supposed to have waited with him, but his friend had spotted an unfamiliar blonde in the hall and had wandered off in search of the new guy. Heero allowed himself a small smile. Sometimes Trowa could be so single-minded.
The door to the guidance office opened. Heero jumped out of his seat, wanting to get this over with as soon as possible.
"And remember, if you need anything, just stop by. I'm here to help," came the voice of the senior guidance counselor, Lucrezia Noin, drifting through the open door.
"Thanks, Ms. Noin," replied a soft, unfamiliar voice. A slender figure stepped out of the office, nearly bumping into Heero. "Oh… sorry."
Heero stared. For a second, he thought the figure before him was a girl. But one sweeping look down the body told him that the person before him was a boy. A very pretty, but definitely masculine boy. With purple eyes. Big purple eyes. And a long, long rope of chestnut-auburn hair hanging over one shoulder.
He swallowed. Hard.
'Damn it, Yuy. Get a grip,' he chided himself mentally. Stepping out of the way, he nodded to the boy and said, "Excuse me."
"Hi, Heero," Ms. Noin said, catching sight of him. "Please come inside. I'll be with you in a moment."
Heero forced himself to tear his gaze away from the boy. He nodded at the counselor and stepped inside the cool, bright office. He could hear Ms. Noin talking to the new kid - he *had* to be new. Heero would certainly have remembered a face like that, and the guy was too old to be one of the new freshmen. Those purple eyes seemed to have burned themselves onto his memory. Idly he wondered what those eyes looked like when the boy smiled…
He frowned and shook his head. What in the hell was he thinking? This was so unlike him, to be besotted by someone at first sight. That was Trowa's idiosyncrasy. He'd never felt anything more than a slight attraction to people before. He certainly never felt… giddy… just thinking about someone's eyes. He ran a hand through his messy brown hair, suddenly disgusted with himself.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Heero," Ms. Noin said, stepping back into the office. "We had a couple of new students enroll this morning, so we've been scrambling around trying to get them into the appropriate classes."
"No problem," Heero replied, firmly shoving all thoughts of the beautiful boy *out* of his mind.
"Now then, let's see. We need to get you a humanities elective before you graduate. All the available classes are full, and it's too late in the semester to start them anyway…"
"Ms. Noin," Heero interrupted, "I'm just missing one elective. I have five extra science electives. Can't I just substitute one of those for the missing humanities one?"
The short-haired counselor shook her head. "No, I'm afraid not. All those extra sciences are why you're here in the first place. You need that last credit, or you will not be able to graduate in June."
"I'm sorry, young man, but I can't change the requirements simply to accommodate one student. Romefeller High School prides itself on giving its students a well-rounded education. No ifs, ands, or buts, and certainly no exceptions. Now…" She shuffled around on her desk for a moment before picking up a piece of paper and handing it to him. "Here's what you will need to do to complete your humanities electives."
Heero looked at the paper and blanched. "You've got to be kidding."
"I'm afraid not. It's either this or we'll be seeing you in the fall."
Heero slumped in the chair, still staring at the paper.
Trowa was never going to let him live this down.
Quatre looked up as Duo set his tray down on the table. "How'd it go? Get all the classes you needed?"
"I think so," the older boy replied. "But Ms. Noin seemed somewhat frazzled, getting two new students this late in the school year, and one of them a senior." He shook his head. "At least it's not bitterly cold here the way it was… back home."
"Yeah, I never would have imagined coming to school in short sleeves in February," Quatre said, not noticing the sad, wistful longing in his brother's voice. He smiled. "It's neat that we have the same lunch period. Though… you don't mind being seen with asophomore?"
Duo grinned and slung his arm around his little brother. "We're newbies here. You and me - we gotta stick together, kid."
Duo looked up to see a dark-haired girl smiling down at them. "Uh, hi?"
The girl sat down and stuck out her hand. "I'm Hilde. You're Duo, right?"
Duo took her hand. "Yeah. How did…"
"I know?" she finished for him. "I work in the guidance office during seventh. I saw your name on your transcript when it was being faxed from your old school." She turned her sunny smile to Quatre. "And you must be Quatre."
"Half or step?"
"You two have different last names. Are you half-brothers or step-brothers."
"Oh! Half," Quatre replied with a smile of his own. "But I couldn't wish for a better brother even if we shared the same father."
Duo turned his head so Quatre wouldn't see him wince, tugging at his long sleeves to make sure the old bruises were hidden. "Ah, stop it, Quat. You're making me blush."
"So Duo, I heard you were having some scheduling problems. Get them all straightened out?"
"I think so." He turned to dig around in his backpack, coming up with a small slip of paper. "Let's see… I've got Ms. Une for English Lit after lunch."
"Oh, 'Lady' Une. I'm in that class! She's nuts, you'll love her. Who else do you have?"
Duo rattled off his list of teachers and classes, snatching bites of his lunch as Hilde gave him the lowdown on all his subjects. She was a lively girl, but already he could tell she was in the first stages of developing a crush on him. He sighed. It never failed. It was a shame really. She seemed like a nice girl but…
He didn't really like girls.
Not that he would admit that to anyone. Robert already called him a queer-boy because of his hair. He didn't even want to think what would happen to him if his step-father found out that he was… that he liked…
He had trouble admitting it even to himself. He had spent his freshman year in denial over the fact he would secretly check out the other guys in the locker room after gym class. His sophomore year he grudgingly accepted that he was different - that the girls held no interest for him. Still, he chalked that up to living in a small town. He thought perhaps that somewhere else, in a different town maybe, there would be girls who caught his eye.
'So much for that theory,' he said to himself as he munched his fries.
His junior year he finally admitted that he might be more attracted to guys than girls, after he caught himself stealing Quatre's teeny bopper magazines to ogle the boy bands. At the beginning of his senior year, when he developed a crush on Kyle Anderson, the captain of the football team, he finally gave up his denial and accepted the fact that he was most likely gay. Okay, very gay. Well, not *very* gay… he didn't have a limp wrist or speak with a lisp, but he did have to leave the room whenever Quatre turned on his swim meets. All those scantily clad men in those small, tight costumes…
"Earth to Duo. This is Houston, come in Duo."
The braided boy blinked. "Uhh, s…sorry Hilde. Must've spaced out for a minute there," he stammered, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. "What were you saying?"
"Oh, I was just asking if you'd thought about joining any clubs."
He shook his head. "I don't even know what kind of clubs you have at this school. But I would like to join a couple."
"You see that door over there?" Hilde pointed with her spoon to a set of double doors at the far end of the cafeteria. "Go through those doors and on the wall is a big bulletin board. Most of the clubs have fliers on that board. You can read about them and see what we have to offer from there."
Duo nodded, feeling relieved. The sooner he joined an after school club, the less time he would have to spend at home. "Thanks." He shoved the last fry into his mouth and stood up. "I think I'll go have a look while I've got some time before class. You don't mind if I abandon you, do you Quat?"
His brother shook his head. "No. Go on. I'll see you after school."
'Not if I can help it,' Duo thought to himself as he picked up his tray. "Yeah, okay," he said noncommittally.
"Mind if I join you? I can help you decide if you'd like," Hilde said, standing up as well.
"Uh, sure." He winced again. Yup, definite crush.
Together they walked to the service area to dump their trays. Hilde pointed out various people in the lunchroom, but Duo barely heard. He was only going to be in this school for fourth months, not enough time to make any friends. Oh, maybe one or two, but probably nothing that would last…
A familiar face caught his eye. The dark-haired boy who had almost run into him in the guidance office had just entered the cafeteria. Duo felt his heart flip at the sight of the tall, handsome young man. He frowned. He'd had the same reaction when he'd first seen him earlier.
'Knock it off, Maxwell,' he scolded himself. 'Remember what happened the last time you got a crush on somebody. You don't need a repeat of that performance.'
Duo turned give Hilde a puzzled look. "Who?"
She laughed and pointed to the brown-haired boy. "The guy you were staring at. Heero Yuy, the Perfect Student. Good grades, highly athletic, extremely popular…" She made a face.
"Don't you like him?"
"Oh, Heero's likable enough. It's his *girlfriend* I can't stand."
Duo didn't know whether to be relieved or disappointed. "Girlfriend?"
"Relena Darlian. Head cheerleader and the most popular girl in school. And the biggest pain in Heero Yuy's tight little ass."
"But I thought you just said she was his girlfriend."
Hilde snorted. "Well, not really. In her eyes, they were meant to be together forever. But poor Heero, he wants nothing to do with her, and the crazy bitch can't seem to take a hint."
"Oh don't worry. You'll probably be like the rest of us and be far too beneath her for her to take any notice of you. Just avoid her like the plague and you'll be all right."
They reached the double doors. Hilde shoved one open and Duo winced as it slammed into the wall with a resounding *bang*.
Hilde giggled. "Sorry." She pulled him over to a wall covered in brightly colored paper. "Welcome to our club message board. If you see anything you like, tell me and I'll help you find where you're supposed to go."
Duo nodded and began reading the fliers. He wanted something that would require as many hours of after school participation as possible. The less time he spent at home, the fewer opportunities Robert would have to hit on him. He was lucky the blow his step-father had given him the day before hadn't left him with a black eye. It was a little puffy, but there was no bruising, and with a little make-up powder, it was hardly noticeable.
Computer club… gardening club… chess club… French club… Duo frowned. Most of these clubs only met once or twice a week. He didn't really want to join more than one or two. He would if he had to, but even still, the clubs looked like they met for only an hour at a time. He wanted something longer.
He came to the end of the board, about to give up and just pick something, when a piece of cream paper with an ornate font caught his eye. He read it over and grinned. Yes. Here was something that could get him out of the house for long periods of time after school… and possibly on weekends too. He ripped the paper off the wall to read it again, relief flooding through his body.
next part: the four boys meet ^__^