by Dev-Aki Basaa
"I'm so sick of trailing this guy," Duo groaned into
the palm of his hand. He then flung out his arm, a
wild gesture, aggravated by his annoyance. His braid
flipped over his shoulder with the action. "We've
been halfway around the world and the only thing we
know is that he has a thing for antiques."
Heero shook his head, his gaze scanning the airport
lobby before him and not looking anywhere near his
bitching partner. "Baka," he said, grumbling. "We've
learned more than that."
Duo scowled and looked away, folding his arms across
his chest. "Not much more."
"No," Heero agreed. That was true. It had been an
odd mission so far and they weren't anywhere near
being done. Then he heard the announcement over the
PA system he was waiting for. Heero cocked his head
to one side, listening carefully. Yes, that was it.
"Grab the bag," he said, catching Duo's gaze. "That's
Duo deviated from viewing their suspect. The guy had
been taking his time window-shopping for the last
hour. Duo really doubted it mattered if the
binoculars set on him pointed upwards for a moment. A
huge tower came into his view. He lowered the
binoculars and peered up at the structure.
"I don't even want to imagine how old that big clock
is. It's called 'Big Ben', right?" he said, shielding
his eyes with the flat of his palm.
"'Big Ben' actually refers to the bell housed in the
tower. It was placed in there in Pre-Colony 1858,"
Heero answered, as if by rote. They were lingering by
a statue, pretending to be tourists and Heero was
using a zoom-lens camera that doubled as a listening
device. The things Preventers' scientists came up
with? He pointed at the suspect again and snapped a
shot, then appearing to check his film, he reviewed
the bit he'd caught of the man's conversation with a
storeowner. They were discussing pewter. What the
Heero glanced over to see Duo giving him an odd look.
He raised his brow in question.
"You researched this city?" Duo asked him.
Heero turned back to the suspect and raised his
camera. After a moment, he took another shot. "I've
researched every city we've traveled to," he said
finally. "That's what I do during flights, when
"Ah, the laptop," Duo nodded, bringing the binoculars
back up to his eyes and directing his gaze at the
suspect. "Well, you know how I find the sound of your
typing hypnotic. Puts me right out.?
Heero shook his head. "Indeed."
Duo dropped the binoculars again, giving a nod towards
their suspect. "Let's go, he's moving."
"There he goes. Another caf?."
"That's okay," Duo said with a shrug. "I was getting
Duo turned to see Heero glaring at him.
"What?" Duo exclaimed, an innocence look on face.
Heero's expression didn't change though. Duo shrugged
again. "What can I say? I have a thing for
Heero shook his head and looked back to the caf?
entrance, monitoring the man through the windows.
"You have a thing for the French women serving
Duo chuckled. "That too." He then poked his elbow at
Heero's side, waggling his brows at him. "Jealous
Heero's lips began to curl a little at the edges, even
through his efforts to suppress it. "Baka," he said,
still grinning slightly. "Let's go inside, I'll buy
you another croissant."
"You know," Duo said, resting his chin in his cupped
palm with his elbow set on the outdoor cafe table they
were waiting at, "I'm starting to think this guy knows
he's being followed. He hasn't engaged in any *real*
criminal activity since we've been watching."
Heero considered Duo's words for a moment then shook
his head. "Then he's an excellent actor because
neither has he given any indication he knows he's
In silence they waited, pretending to sip tea,
watching the man as he sat in the open-air restaurant
across the street.
Then the man made a quick move, practically jumping
from his seat and settling at a new table. He'd
joined a woman at her table.
Heero and Duo stood up, dropped a few credits on the
table and crossed the street. They paused at the
restaurant entrance, seemingly to consider the display
"This might be something, maybe a deal," Duo
whispered, running his finger down the list of
authentic Chinese dishes. "He's talking very
suspiciously with her."
Heero glanced up, his gaze narrowing towards the man.
"A little too suspiciously. As if on purpose."
Heero made a small show of 'accidentally' snapping a
shot with his camera by bumping it, just right,
against Duo. Fiddling with the camera - making sure
it was okay, of course - he listened to the snippet of
conversation he'd grabbed.
"Duo," he said, still pretending to mess with his
camera. "I think he just asked that woman out. On a
date." He glanced up at his partner. "She turned him
Duo sighed, an explosive sound for the force of air he
had behind it. "Damn! Why couldn't it have been
something?" Duo tossed his hands in the air as they
walked a little distance down from the restaurant.
"This is the weirdest mission ever."
Heero glanced back at the suspect, watching him sulk
back to his own table, dejected. How odd.
"Listen," Heero said as he turned back towards Duo.
"After the guy crashes tonight, let's go visit
Tianimin Square. It's another important historical
Duo shook his head. "You and your sightseeing." But
at Heero's glare, Duo rather suddenly leaned forward
and wrapped his arms around Heero's shoulders and
squeezed him tight. He released him - Heero now a
little shaken by the abruptness of the hug - and gave
him a wink. "Okay, babe" he said and then sauntered
off down the street. He knew Heero was right behind
Duo shook his head in amazement. "I've never seen
anyone buy that much jade."
"They're all antiques," Heero said, in equal parts
surprise and confusion.
Duo turned towards Heero, leaning against the wall of
the building they were hiding behind. "Think he's
smuggling the spice inside them?"
Heero shrugged and spread his hands. "I'm hoping, or
else we're really going to bomb on this mission."
Duo shook his head and went back to watching their
suspect. With his purchases in hand, he was soon
"Let's go," Duo said in response.
They kept a comfortable distance from him and followed
him up onto a loading platform for the bullet train.
Taking seats at the back of the car, Duo and Heero
settled into traveling with their suspect - wherever
he was heading.
There was a comfortable silence between them for a
long while before Duo finally nudged Heero in the ribs
with his elbow.
"Ok, professor," he said. "Give me some fascinating
Heero glared at Duo, but then his gaze fell out of
focus as he considered Duo's request. After a moment,
"In Hiroshima," he told Duo, "south of here, was the
first nuclear bombing."
Duo's eyes went wide. "Really?" he said, then almost
distantly, he added, "Must have been devastating."
Heero nodded. "Approximately 140,000 people died by
the end of that year - Pre-Colony 1945. With
lingering radiation and other complications from the
bomb, they estimate the total death toll to be around
Duo shook his head. "Damn." He then leaned towards
Heero and rested his head on his shoulder. Heero
slipped his arm around Duo's waist and pulled him a
"It ended a deadly war, though," he added.
Duo shrugged. "Yeah, but they fought again, didn't
Heero sighed. "Yeah."
"Makes you wonder if the people of today learned
Zechs' lesson either," Duo said, his tone very soft.
Neither said anything for a long while after that.
Duo kicked at a chunk of broken cement, watching as it
skittered across the sidewalk of the plaza. "He's
spending a lot of time over there. Is the Statue of
Liberty really that interesting?"
"Well," Heero began, folding his arms across his
chest, "we could have been over there finding out if
you hadn't caused us to miss the boat."
Duo glanced over at Heero. "I was talking to that
Heero scowled. "That woman was *not* talking to you.
She was arguing with her..." Heero hesitated on what
description to use. "Invisible friend," he said,
finally, the words grumbled out.
Duo snorted. "Yeah, but every once in a while I'd get
her to acknowledge something I said as being from
Louie and she'd go off on him. It was really
Heero narrowed his gaze at Duo. "Louie?"
"The invisible friend," Duo explained, shoving his
hands into his pockets and rocking on his heels.
Heero shook his head and looked back towards the
They gazed out over the water, seeing the small
figures on the island that housed the massive statue.
Duo moved close to Heero, standing just slightly
behind him, brushing his arm against his back. Heero
leaned into the touch and, after a while, rested his
head backwards onto Duo's shoulder. They stood like
that for a long time before they both jolted at the
sound of Heero's com beeping.
Heero straightened and reached for the com hooked to
his belt. He studied the display for a moment before
updating Duo on what it said.
"We've been called back," he told him, the tone of his
voice showing his surprise.
"What?!" Duo exclaimed, yanking his hands from his
pockets and spreading his arms wide. "We haven?t even
gotten anything, yet!"
Heero nodded. "That's probably why."
Duo cursed and then shrugged. "Well, it was kinda fun
while it lasted," he said, kicking another chunk of
cement across the sidewalk. "Last time I saw the
world, it was from Deathscythe's viewscreen." He then
gave Heero a little nudge with his elbow. "And I
didn't have you there to look cute and tell me all the
"It's not crap," Heero snapped, but then his face
relaxed and he nodded again. "And I agree. All in
all, it was a very serene mission."
Duo reached out and grabbed Heero's arm, giving him a
tug. "C'mon," he said. "Let's head uptown and go to
the top of that really tall building and kiss."
"That's the Empire State Building," Heero told him.
Duo rolled his eyes. "Whatever. It's tall." He drew
Heero close to him and waggled his brows. "I want to
be as close to heaven as possible while I'm in an
Duo laughed out loud at the way Heero flushed pink and
he tugged on his arm again. Heero shook his head and
let himself be dragged away.
Duo moaned aloud. "I'm tired," he said, a distinct
whine to his voice. "Why can't we go home and sleep
"Because Une said we had to give a mission debriefing
immediately," Heero explained, lugging their bag
higher on his shoulder and giving a nudge to Duo,
encouraging him on down the hall.
Duo scowled. "What's she going to do if we don't,
huh?" The shrillness of his voice increased. "I
wanna go home."
They opened the door to Une's office and froze at the
threshold. They were shocked to find the room filled
with people. People drinking punch, dressed in their
finest clothes and standing among decorations of
colorful streamers and balloons.
What was going on?
"Surprise!" the collection of people shouted. There
was Une and Marimaia, Quatre and Trowa, Relena and
Dorothy, Wufei, Zechs, Sally, Noin, and an official
looking stranger that Heero couldn't place.
"What's all this?" Heero asked.
Quatre raised his glass and smiled. "How was your
"Excuse me?" Duo stumbled past Heero, gawking at the
room full of their friends. "Honeymoon?!"
Like a flash, it clicked for Heero. That was why
nothing on this mission had made sense! He shook his
head and said with a smile, "That's very underhanded."
He set down his bag and moved to stand next to Duo,
slipping his arm around his waist. "Then, who were we
trailing?" he asked.
Une grinned and shrugged, taking a sip from the glass
of wine in her hand before she answered. "An
antiquities dealer. I tried to find someone who had a
lengthy trip planned with a travel agent."
Duo shook his head, amazed, and gestured about the
room. "Unbelievable! You all set this up?!"
But then Heero remembered what Quatre said and felt
the most distinct feeling of embarrassment come over
him. He slowly shook his head. "But we've never..."
he began, but Trowa cut him off.
"You didn't have to. But you could now." And he
nodded towards the official looking stranger.
"We never what?" Duo asked, turning towards Heero.
Heero paused, ignoring the confused, sleep-deprived
look on Duo's face for the moment. With a nod of
resolve, Heero released Duo's waist and dropped down
to one knee. Duo watched him in shock as Heero
reached out and took his hand, holding it close to his
A look of panic came over Duo's expression; he
suddenly seemed ready to bolt. "Heero, what are you
doing?" His words came out fast.
Heero grinned up at him. "Duo, do me a great honor
and become my life partner."
Duo's look of panic instantly washed away and instead
he started laughing. "Gee, and here I thought I
Heero's face crumpled, puzzled. What did that mean?
Duo then dropped down to his knees before Heero and
turned to wave at Quatre and Trowa, and Relena and
Dorothy - the married couples.
"No offence, guys, okay?" He then faced Heero again,
taking both his hands in his own.
"I don't need any piece of paper telling me who I love
and will spend my life with. That's you," he said,
flashing him a brilliant smile. "I think, in a way, I
knew that even during the war. However, if you want
something official," Duo nodded, "that's fine by me
Heero smiled and then closed his eyes, giving Duo's
offer some thought. After a moment, he opened his
eyes and said, "I think I would."
Duo grinned and leaned forward. "Well then, let's do
it." Looking up, Duo pointed to the stranger. "Is
that what this guy's for?" Their friends nodded,
their lips quirking with grins. "You sneaky little
bastards," Duo said, shaking his head. He leaned
forward again and pecked Heero on the cheek, and then
together they stood. They walked hand-in-hand over to
where the official, a stout, heavy-set man, stood
flanked by Quatre and Trowa.
They stood before him, hands still entwined. The man
clasped his hands before him and grinned at the pair.
"Today, your friends have gathered for you to
celebrate your love. This ceremony is only that, a
ceremony. A moment in time. It is the commitment you
make with your hearts that truly matters and will be
carried through the rest of your lives together." The
man grinned broader. "And from what I can gather,
that part is already taken care of." He spread his
hands, a welcoming gesture, glancing first to the
gathered guests and then back to Duo and Heero. "So
let's make this simple," he said. "Duo, Heero, please
face each other."
The two of them turned, Duo winking at Heero and Heero
grinning and shaking his head at him.
"The rings, please," the official said.
At the tap to his shoulder, Duo turned to see Quatre
smiling at him and reaching into his coat jacket. He
pulled out a small black box.
"You guys got us rings?" Duo asked, amazed. Quatre
nodded in response.
Quatre smiled broader as Duo blushed taking the
proffered ring. "Damn, you guys!"
Heero grinned his thanks to Trowa as well when he
handed him the small gold band.
The official waited until the pair was facing each
other again, rings in hand. With a nod, he said,
"Duo, place your ring on Heero's finger."
Duo reached out and took Heero's hand, blushing still
as he slipped the ring - perfectly fitted (they
thought of everything!) - onto Heero's finger. With
the prompting from the official, Heero in turn, placed
his ring on Duo's finger. They threaded their fingers
together after that, holding each other's hands.
The official clasped his hands before him again.
"These rings, solid and without end, represent the
commitment you will make to each other. Let them
stand as a symbol of your love and life together. If
you would like, you can take this time to exchange a
few words." He then nodded to his right. "Duo?"
Duo didn't speak for a long time, just staring at
Heero with a look of both joy and awe on his face. He
fidgeted, wiggling his fingers in Heero's grip. As
the moment stretched on, he started to shake his head
slowly, looking as if he struggled to speak. "Um, I
know you guys are going to laugh," he said finally,
"but, um, I don't have anything to say." Duo
chuckled, sounding nervous. He shook his head again
and shrugged. "Just that... I'm really happy and I
Heero nodded, a smile widening on his face. "I love
you too and I am happy too. I'm...happy." He
stopped, shaking his head, amazement crossing his
features. "I didn't understand any of those words
until you showed me. I had emotions, but I didn't
always know what to do with them. I didn't live,
until you taught me." Heero's lips quirked a little.
"And I guess I'm the talkative one today. Thank you,
Duo. For you, for our life." He squeezed Duo's hands
in his just a little tighter and Duo's grin broadened
across his face.
The official nodded, seemingly satisfied that they
were done. "Therefore, by the power vested in me by
the United Earth Sphere Alliance," he said. "I now
pronounce you partners for life. You may seal your
union with a kiss."
Heero pulled Duo close and captured his lips, their
kiss was sweet and touched with passion without
becoming too much more. Duo pecked Heero's lips a few
times after they parted, both listening to and
ignoring the cheers of their friends. They tightened
their hold on each other, wrapping into the other's
arms and holding themselves very close.
"So," Duo began, whispering so only Heero could hear
him, "is it Maxwell-Yuy or Yuy-Maxwell?"
Heero shook his head. "Mm, doesn't matter. It's you
and me, that's all that matters."
They kissed again before they were crowded by their
friends with hugs and kisses of congratulations.
The joke started that day and repeated in the years
that followed, never went away - 'it would be just
like Heero and Duo to have the honeymoon before the
wedding.' The couple never once balked at the