School Daze - A Compliation of Short Stories
Story 1 - Coming to an Understanding
Duo's Friendship Arc 14
by Dyna Dee
The warm autumn days began to shorten and cool slightly as the season ebbed lazily into early winter. It was during this time of year that the five gundam pilots found themselves enrolled into yet another private school conveniently and strategically located near the southern border of Sanq, one to several hours distance from a number of OZ bases, factories, a space ports, all potential and prime targets to the colonies finest.
One week after the last pilot arrived and settled into the school's routine, all students and pilots alike were aware of the very moment Relena Dorilan also joined the school's population. Her arrival caused a ripple of excitement as word was spread amongst the student body as she entered the front door, easily recognized from the photographs in the many magazines and newspapers as the newly deceased Vice Foreign Minister's daughter, who was widely reported to have been present at the time of her father's assassination.
To those who watched the well-known girl, curious as to what kind of a person she was, it was noted that she had a lingering air of sadness about her. Shyly, she accepted the many greeting, quietly returning the overtures of friendship, as if embarrassed by the attention she was getting.
The five pilots were also curious about the girl Heero reported meeting when he'd first come to earth, and Duo's brief meeting ending with him shooting Heero to defend her was a story well known to the other pilots. All five speculated as to why she had come to this particular school, and how, if this wasn't just coincidental, had she found them? They came to the conclusion that she had most likely followed them for some unknown reason, other than Duo's mirthful speculation that she was after Heero's body, which earned him a fierce, disapproving glare from his friend.
Once again Heero reminded the other four others that fraternizing with girls held the possibility of a security risk and complications they couldn't afford. As he spoke, his eyes stayed steadfastly on Duo, the main flirtatious chick magnet, and the recipient of this lecture for at least twenty-five times in the last two schools they'd attended.
Duo's answer to this repeated speech was his usual response whenever Heero lectured him on this, and any other subject dealing with his social life; he looked to his pal, Quatre, rolled his eyes upward in an attitude of "Oh brother, not again.", and then he'd promptly ignored Heero's advice, continuing his harmless flirting and dating.
As Heero droned on with his rehearsed and logical reasons to stay emotionally unattached from the fairer sex, Duo came to the conclusion that his best friend should know a little bit about what he was missing before he dismissed the idea entirely. Heero needed to relax and enjoy the company of a girl the American decided, and set his eyes to canvassing the crowded hallway for a potential subject.
Heero seemed to run out of reasons for Duo to stay on the straight and narrow, and ended his lecture as he observed his roommate's eyes beginning to roam the corridor, realizing anything else he'd say would fall on deaf ears. He motioned for the others to follow him to class, and as they continued down the busy hallway. Trowa, having the advantage of added height, noticed Relena was walking parallel to them, watching Heero from out the corner of her eye. With a crooked smile on his face, he nudged Quatre, who, after seeing what his friend found so humorous, nudged Duo. The braided boy's eyes widened as he recognized Relena and followed the girl's line of sight to find that it landed, not surprisingly, on their fearless leader. He gave Quatre and Trowa a knowing smile as he shifted his eyebrows. The two smiled back, knowing Duo was hatching a scheme that Heero was probably not going to like. Wufei caught a glimpse of their smiling exchange and lifted a questing eyebrow upward. Duo obligingly motioned his head towards the direction of the girl across the hallway, still fixed on the totally clueless Wing Pilot as he determinedly wove an deliberate path through the hoards of students making their way to class after lunch. The Chinese pilot rolled his eyes upward, a new mannerism for him thanks to Duo, and the three boys stifled their laughter as the words, "Ridiculous onna." reached their ears.
Heero stopped abruptly, causing the others to bump into each other and himself. "What?" he asked, perturbed at being left out of whatever the others found humorous, and wondering, once again, if he was the brunt of one of Duo's practical jokes. His hand automatically reached behind him and searched his back to determine if there was a sign on him saying something to the effect of "Kick Me", or "I'm the Rainbow Fairy. Let me grant your wish." He nearly strangled Duo with his braid from the reactions he encountered after wearing that particular unnoticed sign while walking through a large mall. Weirdos seemed to come out of the woodwork that day.
"Oh, nothing." Duo smiled innocently, immediately putting Heero on his guard. He'd become an expert in reading Duo's grins, and this one meant mischief.
"We were just noticing that you have an admirer." He then shifted his eyes across the hall, indicating Heero should look there for an answer to his question.
The Wing pilot turned his head, his eyebrows disappeared as they rose up into his long bangs as his eyes came to rest on the girl whose eyes also set on him. Both blushed, she smiled slightly, and he nodded before they both looked elsewhere. All this transpiring in about five seconds.
Duo clapped Heero on the shoulder and the group began to walk again. "Well," the American drawled. "that's a start, man. But we gotta work on your verbal and social skills."
Early evening found four of the five pilots on a basketball court wearing shorts and tank tops. Heero and Duo squared off against Wufei and Trowa. The sides were pretty evenly matched and the competitive nature of each boy surfaced with a vengeance. Back and forth they ran on the cement court located on the school grounds. A small group of students, mostly girls, sat a short distance away on the grass surrounding the basketball court and watching the game with interest.
On a grassy knoll some distance behind them and under one of the many trees that graced the grounds of the school, Relena Dorilan, still dressed in the school uniform, minus the jacket and tie, sat in the shade hoping to remain unnoticed as she, too, watched the participants of the obviously competitive game amongst good friends. A gentle, wistful smile graced her face as she watched the braided boy whiz past the tallest of the four and steal the basketball in mid-bounce. He dashed impossibly quick and agile past the boy with the black hair pulled tightly back into a small ponytail and Heero, and in a leap, seeming to defy gravity, he slammed dunked the ball into the hoop. His left hand had grabbed on and now held firmly onto the metal rim after the brown ball had been pushed through the net, his feet were still dangling as he brought his free arm down and began scratching his side making loud monkey sounds. The taller of the three reached up to the hanging boy's stretched side and grabbed at his ribs. The braided bundle of energy yelled and dropped, obviously ticklish. Relena observed the scene and chuckled to herself.
The four began to play again, and Relena sighed deeply, then jumped, as she was startled by a quiet, questioning voice behind her.
"Enjoying the game, Miss Relena?"
She turned her head, blushing furiously, to meet the aquamarine eyes of the blond haired boy who she determined to be another pilot as he associated closely with the other four. He'd changed out of his school uniform and now wore his normal street clothes; pleated beige slacks, and a white oxford shirt.
"Hello." she replied, smiling nervously.
"Mind if I join you?" he asked pleasantly.
"Please do." she shifted a little nervously to make room on the small blanket she'd bought to sit on. After settling onto the blanket, several moments of awkward silence passed before she raised her eyes to meet his.
"You know who we are, don't you?" he asked, and startled her with the direct approach.
"Yes." she replied fidgeting with the hem of her skirt, wondering what kind of trouble she was in because of that knowledge.
"My name is Quatre." he said quietly and extended his hand politely. "but here at school I'm Jack."
"It's nice to meet you Quatre/Jack." She smiled as she placed her hand in his and immediately noticed the callouses on his palms against her soft hand. "I guess you know already that I'm Relena." she replied, then removed her hand. "Why aren't you playing?" she asked, motioning to the basketball court with her head and wanting to end the formality between them.
Quatre smiled and shrugged. "To tell you the truth, I don't enjoy the game, and those four are much too competitive for my taste. Besides, it's easier to play with even numbers."
They shared a slight smile of understanding, then turned back in time to see Quatre to see Wufei pass the ball to Trowa who, from half court, effortlessly launched it upward in a high arch to have it come down neatly and swoosh into the net without touching the rim. Cheers erupted all around them by their small appreciative audience.
"They are fun to watch though, aren't they?" he asked with a chuckle.
"That they are." Relena replied with a matching smile.
Quatre turned his head to study the girl next to him, his eyes taking in all her nuances as he spoke. "Why are you here, Relena? You could draw unwanted attention to us with your presence here, and endanger the team as well as our missions."
She shook her head, sadly. "That's not my intention." She turned her eyes away from the game to look at the boy next to her.
"Then what are your intentions?" he asked in a tone of grave seriousness she found odd coming from the boy who seemed so gentle and caring.
The honey blonde-haired girl leaned back to rest her shoulders on the trunk of the tree and sighed deeply. "I just lost my father." she began quietly, her voice and manner sad.
"Yes, I heard." the blonde boy's eyes reflected his sincere sympathy for her loss. "I'm sorry."
"It was quite a shock, as you can imagine." she continued and Quatre nodded to encourage her to keep going.
"His last words to me shook my world apart." she confessed and looked into the gentle boy's face. "He told me I wasn't his real daughter, that I'm a Peacecraft of the destroyed Sanq Kingdom.
Quatre's eyes widened in surprise.
"In one day," she continued on in a melancholy tone, "I lost my foundation and, in a way, my life as it was. I was suddenly thrust into a new heritage with ideologies and responsibilities I'm expected to adopt, support, and promote." She paused as she looked down to see Quatre's calloused hand close around her's in a gesture of comfort and support. "I also gained two great opponents that day, OZ and Romafeller." Her eyes stayed lowered back down to Quatre's hand.
Slowly, she raised them to focus on the distant basketball court and on one person in particular currently running with the ball. She then continued. "When I met Heero for the first time," she began, her voice becoming more steady now. "I felt such an overwhelming sense of power and conviction radiating from him." She chuckled as her memories came back to her of that time. "I was both infatuated and fearful of him." she admitted. "But I was drawn and confused by him and his strength. That's why I'm here now." she turned to look at the boy who was listening intently to her explanation. "I need to become strong and gain a strength of conviction you pilots seem to carry with you. I had hoped that in just being near you, I could glean some of that strength, becoming stronger myself."
A sudden bark of laughter drew both blondes to look at the basketball court. Quatre smiled to see Duo was on the ground with Trowa struggling to hold him down while Wufei appeared to be tickling the laughing and pleading boy. Heero stood a short distance away with his hands on his hips watching the other pilots in their momentarily lapse of sanity.
"I wonder what he did this time?" Quatre chuckled as he moved to stand. "I better go rescue him before it turns to torture. Last time they tickled him, he threw up his dinner all over the court, and let me tell you, that was anything but fun to clean up."
Relena's eyes followed his movements. "Do you think my following you pilots here is.....strange, Quatre?" Relena asked as she looked up to the handsome blonde Arabian.
Quatre kept his eyes ahead on the others as he replied. "No, not now that you've told me your reasons." Then he added, "Just try not to draw any undo attention to us, and don't make it a habit of following us." He looked to her face, his own not unkind, but deadly serious.
"I understand." she answered honestly. "And, thank you." she said sincerely as she reached out and gently touched his arm.
With a slight nod and small grin, he turned from her and ran down the grassy knoll and across the lawn to the others on the court.
Relena watched as he approached and launched himself onto the boy with the long hair covering one eye, tickling him to effectively distract him from his hold on the tortured braided boy. Within moments all five boys were in a tangle of limbs as they rolled across the cement court wrestling and tickling each other, their laughter filling the air. The sound of their play brought a contented smile to her face. 'There's something so attractive and appealing about male camaraderie.' she thought to herself with a wistful sigh, wising she had something or someone similar in her life. 'Maybe some day' she thought with a sigh of wistful longing.