The one hour wait passed far too quickly and the Gundam pilots prepared for
their meeting in the living room of the beach house.
Working off some of his own frustration, Duo had taken the time to rearrange
the furniture to make talking easier and escape harder should Wufei try to
leave before they were done. He'd dragged the couch into a centralized
position and planned to see to it that Trowa and Wufei sat there making it
even easier to keep track of the Chinese youth that they were all so worried
about. Arranged in a loose semi-circle were chairs for the rest of them with
an odd assortment of tables in between to make getting outside of his
"conference room" as difficult as possible.
"Becoming an interior decorator in your spare time, Duo?" Quatre asked in
curiosity when he looked at the room. "If so, let me recommend that you use
less tables in your design, this is going to be hard to walk through."
"That's the idea, Q-Ball!" Duo grinned, dusting his hands off on his
traditional black priest's outfit he'd changed into. "At first, I was hoping
to make it more of a 'Camelot' kind of thing, but that's not possible, so I
settled for an 'Attica' approach instead."
"What?" Quatre looked at the room again, puzzled by his friend's remarks. "I
don't understand." The blond Arabian teen wore his favorite soft pink
button-down shirt and vest over camel-colored slacks and his usual loafers.
There was no real reason for it, but the pilots seemed to all be reverting to
their classic outfits for the coming moments of truth.
Nodding, Duo tried to explain it to him. "See, at first I thought maybe if we
were all facing each other like the knights of the round table, then Wu might
feel like we respect him and all that important stuff so maybe he wouldn't
flip out when the shit starts to fly. Follow so far?"
"Um, yeah," Quatre looked dubious. "Go on."
"But, then it occurred to me that he might bolt no matter how hard we try to
get him to understand that we won't hate him for anything he says. Then I
remembered a way cool prison movie I watched once where all these hardened
criminals were sitting around talking with the prison shrink and this idea
came to mind."
Duo gestured towards the blocked throughways and chairs proudly. "This way he
can't get away before one of us can stop him and we can get everything
covered that we need to for sure!"
Snorting in annoyance, Quatre remarked sarcastically, "Why don't you just tie
him down if *that's* what you're worried about, Duo?" This was a
spectacularly horrible idea for reasons that would become apparent later.
Luckily, it was ignored almost before the words were out of the blonde's
mouth as Quatre added, "Trust me, if Wufei doesn't want to talk about this
with us there's no way that a little furniture is going to change that. We're
better off to add back some of that respect you mentioned."
Stepping towards the jumble of furniture, the Arabian teen began moving some
of it out of the way and soon it looked more like a cozy room for intimate
conversation than it did a Hollywood B-movie set.
As he pushed a table back against a wall, Quatre looked over one shoulder and
noticed that Duo was smiling at him. Straightening up, he asked, "Well? Is
"Very!" Duo grinned, then became a little more serious as he added, "You're
right, Q-Ball. I just got a little carried away. That Houdini act Wu pulled
this morning still has me rattled, I guess. I just don't know how we'd ever
be able to help him if he really did decide to take off."
"He won't," Heero remarked with certainty, joining the conversation as he
returned the laptop to its storage case. "Or at least, even if he tries,
Wufei won't get very far. The four of us might not want to ever face him in a
fair fight, but I dare say we outnumber him enough to keep him here for now."
"A 'fair fight'?" Duo snorted as he tried to bite back a laugh, "Heero, the
closest I ever got to being in a fight with him was a staged bit that time I
was trying to trick OZ into thinking I was on their side. It blew up in our
faces and he kicked OZzie butt until we both got loose again. I do *not* want
to face off against Wu, he'd *slaughter* me!"
Slightly golden arms crossed angrily over his green tanktop-clad chest, Heero
was about to make a comment when the blond boy spoke up.
"That's probably twice as true for me, Heero," Quatre remarked, suddenly
worried that it might come to that exact thing and regretting his own
redecorating efforts. "With my luck, he'd suddenly decide to be pissed at me
for that sleep deprivation thing and I wouldn't be able to pilot Sandrock for
a couple months. No, count me out of anything other than trying to keep him
"Come off it!" The Japanese teen retorted angrily, hands sliding down to rest
on black spandex covered hips. "You're the only one of us who's ever faced
Wufei in a fight and taken him down, Quatre, don't you think you could do
"No chance," Quatre answered in all seriousness. "I was brain-dead at the
time and his honor kept him from fighting back, that's all that saved me then
and it won't save me now."
"Actually," Duo had stopped to think this whole thing out more thoroughly and
recalled something that Professor G told him once, "Based on the testing the
doc's did on all of us, when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, Heero, you're
the best we've got on the team. Wu's second, Tro's third, I come in a distant
fourth, and Q-Ball's way past the edge of the curve at dead last. Sorry, Q,
just telling it like it is." 
Quatre held up his hands in agreement, "It's the truth, Duo, don't apologize.
I know my weaknesses."
"And this is helpful exactly how, baka?" Heero growled.
"The way that this is 'helpful', you ya-ya," Duo paused to stick his tongue
out in childish fun at making his lover look foolish, "is that if it comes
down to it, you and Tro are our best hope and you might need to know that in
advance. Or did you stop using all that 'strategic planning theory' you were
trying to drive down my throat the last three months?"
Startled, Heero gazed at Duo with a look of pleased surprise on his face.
"Well, what do you know, you really *can* teach even the prettiest old dogs a
new trick. Good job, Duo."
"Hey, who're you calling an old dog, Heero?" Duo smirked and walked over to
his lover, trying to mock-punch him in the arm only to find himself pulled
into a modified wrestling hold that placed his neck at just the right level
for a playful bite.
"Correction," the blue-eyed teen smirked, "You're not an old dog, baka,
you're more like a puppy, easily getting into mischief that you can't get
yourself out of."
Quatre rolled his eyes in comic amusement and then beat a hasty retreat to
the kitchen to allow the two lovers to settle their differences in their own
"But I'm still the prettiest one, right?" Duo asked, then moaned softly as
one of the playful bites got his attention fully.
"Most definitely," Heero answered, then released him adding lovingly, "You're
the pick of the litter, koi."
Moving to press close for a kiss that did not involve teeth, Duo laughed
softly, "Good answer, Heero, you get a prize."
After the kiss broke they released each other as the sound of footsteps on
the stairs was heard.
"Nearly showtime, koi," Heero asked quietly, "Nervous?"
"I've never been more scared of anything in my whole life, Heero," Duo
Heero frowned, this was not the response he'd expected. In a low voice he
asked, "You want me to alert Trowa that he might be needed if he and I have
to tag-team Wufei? I assume that's where you were headed with that strategy
Pasting a grin on his face as he saw the toe of one of Wufei's black
slipper-style shoes come into view on the stairs, Duo growled back, "You'd
damned well better or there's a real chance we're gonna be short a few pilots
before we even get a chance to finish the damned war with OZ!"
"Ninmu ryoukai," Heero answered in low tones, heart tightening as it occurred
to him that there might be violence within the circle of pilots yet again and
this time he had to be certain that the right ones were not left unconscious
on the floor at the end of it.
However, as he considered it further, he just hoped the bloodshed was minimal
and didn't involve any of the personal weaponry he'd been worrying over. He
wondered again where one specific blade was located and realized it was too
late to do anything about it at this point.
Relief flooded Heero's mind once more as he recalled that the deadly katana
was no longer an issue as Wufei stepped into the room dressed in his
long-sleeved traditional white silks. The Chinese teen was hiding behind
formality again, and if that brought him a sense of comfort, then Heero had
no problem with it even if it disturbed Trowa at the deepest levels.
What now worried the Japanese teen was Trowa's dagger which often slipped
into a sheath he wore under the jeans and turtleneck he'd changed into.
The sheath was frequently placed seemingly randomly at one of Trowa's wrists
or at an ankle and not knowing which was driving the Wing pilot to
distraction. There was no way for Heero to know if it was even present or not
at this point, but he knew that Wufei would be able to tell and that alone
might turn the tide of any confrontation they might be approaching. If the
Chinese youth became unreasonable and had access to Trowa's razor sharp blade
there was no way to predict the outcome of a fight beyond the obvious, there
would be bloodshed and most likely quite a bit of it.
As his mind ran amuck with visions of everything that could possibly go wrong
with the upcoming confrontation, Heero realized that he had failed to insure
that he knew where Duo's revolver and Quatre's Browning were. The loose
fitting white silks Wufei was now wearing allowed far too many places to
conceal a weapon and the cobalt-eyed teen cursed himself for overlooking the
fact that during the hour apart the smaller boy might have gotten his hands
Suddenly, Heero Yuy, terrorist, assassin, and pilot of one of the most
powerful mobile suits in existence was more afraid of, as well as afraid for,
a smaller teen than he had been of almost anyone in his life. Almost. The
person who held that honor was across the room talking with Quatre and
flashing him pointed violet glances.
//Duo,// Heero growled mentally, //if this gets out of hand, just stay out of
it for a change, would you? Don't make me have to choose between him and you,
because no matter which choice you'd rather I make, I've already chosen and
it might not match your preferences.//
One hand slid surreptitiously to the waistband of the spandex shorts as Heero
confirmed the presence of his own handgun, loaded and ready for use even
though he hoped it wouldn't be needed.
//Push come to shove, koi, I'll kill Wufei before he can hurt any of us and
if he loses his mind, I think he might try to do just that. I'll hate myself
for the rest of my life for it, but if someone has to stop him it'll be me. I
doubt that we'll be able to keep Trowa alive after that, but so be it. I
can't allow one broken soul to destroy humanity's only hope for peace.//
Silently hoping that the afternoon might be far less eventful than anything
his imagination was conjuring up, Heero set everything in motion with a
single request, "Could everybody come in here and sit down? We need to get
 Oddly enough, this is based on official Bandai info on the pilots. I
always thought Duo would rank higher than fourth for hand-to-hand combat, but
he didn't. He did, however, rank higher in stealth than all of the others and
that is no surprise, ne?
Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.