Disclaimers: Not mine!! no one was handing them out on Halloween....

Pairing: 1+2/2+1
Rating: PG
Warnings: violence, ghouls, shounen-ai, cuteness, AU, demons, poor Japanese translations -_-'

Author's Notes: Winner of the SDDI's 2002 October Demonic Fic Contest! A Halloween tale of suspense(?), ghouls, goblins, and monsters! Where do our GW characters fit into all this?? Murders shock Duo's small, quiet town, followed by the appearance of a mysterious exchange student...

All Hallow's Eve
Part 1
by Granate

"Duo, for the last time!" Solo shouted up the stairs. Just then, his little brother was a blur of motion at the top of the stairs. He jumped the banister half way and landed perfectly next to his brother.

"Bye bro!" Duo called after his shoulder as he dashed down the hall. He snatched his bookbag off a kitchen chair and cruised through the small yard. At the sidewalk he slowed to a brisk walk. He wasn't really late, the stair-jumping was mostly for dramatic effect, and running through the house was just to avoid Solo telling him not to get into any trouble.

Duo adjusted the bag's strap across his chest and stuffed his hands into his pockets. It was a gorgeous October morning, he noticed appreciatively. The leaves had turned, the sky was blue, the sun was bright and the temperature was perfect. The October Wind was blowing, rustling the leaves on the trees and skittering them across the pavement. The October Wind always made Duo think of mischief, but maybe that was residual childhood excitement about trick-or-treating. Now he looked forward to big costume parties, and hopefully, kegs. It was only two weeks away. This year he was going as a priest. Everyone would get a good laugh over that, and wasn't that always the point?

His route took him through the next neighborhood, and then he cut through the woods and walked along the graveyard fence. Duo whistled "The Ghost of John" and let his hand slap the wrought iron bars as he went past. As he walked up the path to the high school, he heard a familiar voice.

"Hey Duo!" his friend Hilde caught up with him and grabbed his arm.

"For goodness sake, Duo," she clucked, stopping him straightening his tie. Duo really needed a mom. That wasn't what Hilde really wanted to be for him, but it seemed to be the only role open.

They walked into the building and picked up their friend Quatre as well. They hung out in the hall until first bell, then Duo went to first period and found a desk behind his friend Wu Fei.

"Maxwell," he greeted Duo, not looking up from his book.

"'Sup, Chang?" Duo said, plopping into the desk.

"You did do the assignment for this class, right?" Wu Fei asked, turning around in his seat now.

"The reading? Sure," Duo fibbed, shrugging casually.

"No, the questions that went with the reading," Chang informed him.

Duo blinked his indigo eyes. "Ummm nooooooo," he answered.

Wu Fei rolled his eyes. He turned around and quickly turned back with his paper. "Hurry up, he'll probably collect them first thing," he hissed. Duo nodded and got to work coping the paper.

"Looks like you own me ANOTHER round at the batting cage, Maxwell," Wu Fei observed smugly.

"I know, I know," Duo grumbled, scribbling as fast as he could. He felt a disapproving gaze on him. He lifted his head.

"Yes, 'Lena? Can I help you?" he rudely asked the girl seated next to him.

"Cheating again, Duo?" she asked, smoothing her golden hair over her shoulder.

"No, 'Lena, I'm ratifying the Constitution for the 14th colony: Newmindyourownfreakinbusinesstown," he retorted, still scribbling.

She made a slightly offended noise and decided to ignore him. Really, she liked Duo, and he liked her, they just enjoyed their antagonistic relationship. She didn't see him stick out his tongue.

"You better watch that, Duo, or I'll cut it out for you," a female voice said from the other side of Relena.

"I have no doubt that you would, Dorothy," he assured the girl. He didn't have to look up, Dorothy Catalonia had a very distinct voice.

"Yuck, Dorothy!" Relena scrunched up her prim little nose.

"Don't you think it would make a nice souvenir, all pickled in a jar?" Dorothy asked the other girl.

Relena made a thoroughly disgusted noise that Dorothy seemed to relish.

Wu Fei rolled his eyes. "Dorothy, quit grossing Relena out," he reprimanded her exasperatedly. It was like a sport, sometimes she and Duo competed.

"Or maybe his hair!" Dorothy continued, "I'd just have to chop off that braid, it would make a nice belt, maybe."

"Touch the hair and lose a hand," Duo hissed, not looking up from his furious scribbling.

Dorothy laughed, that was certainly Maxwell's weakness. If you wanted a reaction out of him, go for the hair. Although, you couldn't push too hard, his threats were to be taken seriously. Over the years, Duo's schoolmates had learned he was not a good target. Rumor had it Duo had broken some fingers.

The bell rang, but nobody quieted down because Mr. Kushrenada was not in yet.

"It's not like Mr. Kushrenada to be late," Relena observed.

Duo handed Wu Fei the paper back just as the door opened and the young teacher walked in, followed by an Asian boy in uniform.

"Settle down, please everyone," Mr. K. said, and everyone did. "Before we get started, I'd like to introduce Heero Yuy, our new exchange student from Japan.

"A pleasure," the boy said in a polite but insincere tone.

"Who'd we trade him for?" Duo asked. A few kids laughed.

"I don't actually know that," Mr. K. replied, "And don't make me remind you again to raise your hand and wait to be called on before speaking, Duo. I really do need to have a few words with your kindergarten teacher, if you didn't put her into the grave."

"Hey, 'Lena, put your eyes back in your head," Duo whispered loudly. The kids around them snickered. Relena whipped around and glared at Duo with all her might. She was blushing, though; Duo had caught her ogling the new boy.

Mr. K. told the new kid to take a seat before he continued. "I have another announcement before we get started. Heero, I hate for this to be the first thing you hear about your new town, but police are still looking for leads in the murder two days ago. The sheriff was in again this morning, asking teachers to remind students that if you know anything, please give them a call."

Duo frowned. He was all for petty mischief and pranks, but didn't like the idea of there being a murderer in town. Sure, the small, rural Minnesota town was super boring most of the time, but murder didn't really qualify as nightlife. He didn't know what was worse, the killer being someone from town he'd known all his life, or someone hiding out. Hopefully, it was just a personal dispute between Mr. Bacatti and his killer. But then, who would have a personal dispute that serious with Mr. Bacatti? He owned a hardware store, so maybe a dissatisfied customer? That sounded stupid. Mr. Bacatti was a nice guy, Duo rememered when he was little and Mr. Bacatti used to give him and Solo candy when they came in with their dad. Maybe Mr. Bacatti stumbled upon an escaped convict or fugitive, and they had to kill him to keep him quiet, then they left town. Maybe Mr. Bacatti was black mailing someone who didn't want to pay. That was stupid too. No one did anything bad in this town, that had always been up to the Maxwells. Duo's mind was good at coming up with grisly scenarios, but he hoped whatever it was, it was a single occurrence.

At lunch, Duo ate with his friends Wu Fei, Quatre, Hilde, Relena, Dorothy, and Trowa.

"Duo, it's really too bad you're not on the soccer team anymore, we could use you at regionals next month," Trowa said.

Duo shrugged. "You guys are awesome, you don't need me!"

"What did you do to get kicked off the team the first week of school?" Quatre asked. He had never gotten a straight answer on that, and the rumors were just to varied to be true.

"Oh, you know me…." Duo said evasively, hiding a grin behind his peanutbutter sandwich, "It's just as well, I'm not too big on the whole team thing."

"Or the RULES thing," Quatre reminded him.

Duo laughed. "Yeah," he agreed, "I just tried out for 'kicks'!"

Everybody rolled their eyes and Hilde hit him in the shoulder.

"Hey, there's that new kid," Wu Fei observed. Duo followed his gaze across the cafeteria to a table near the back where the boy in question was sitting alone.

Quatre looked over, concerned, and then turned back. "He's in my math class. I asked if he wanted to sit with us, but he said no."

"He's in Smarty Math too?" Duo asked, "Figures, he's Asian."

Wu Fei poked him with a spork and Duo grinned. Nothing beat getting a reaction out of Chang. Annoying racial stereotypes usually worked. Chang was ethnically Chinese, but fit into the mostly white town fairly well. A lot better than this new kid, he really stuck out.

Quatre blushed at the comment on his mathematical abilities. To add to the blushing, Relena spoke up, "I... I also asked him if he'd like to sit with us," she hazarded, knowing Duo was going to give her a hard time, "He just glared at me and walked away!"

"He glared at you?" Hilde asked indignantly, "What a prick!"

Duo frowned. "Odd behavior from an exchange student," he thought outloud, "You'd think he'd want to make friends and meet people."

"Maybe he just needs a little time to adjust," Quatre offered.

"And why did he get here so late? We've been in school for nearly two months!" Duo added.

"Maybe that's when school starts in Japan?" Quatre suggested. He looked around hopefully. Nobody knew.

Trowa's a jock, isn't that cute?? ^^

on to part 2

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