All Hallow's Eve
Only hours later, Duo's sleep was rudely ended by someone shaking his shoulders.
"Duo, time to get up." Shake shake shake.
Duo groaned and opened his eyes to an unfamiliar room. He blinked sleepily and remembered where he was when he
saw who was leaning over him.
"You have to go home before school, Duo," Heero reminded him,
"Oh yeah," Duo yawned. He sat up and Heero threw an extra tee-shirt at him. "I'll try not to ruin
this one, shoe-string-budget demon slayer," he grinned.
Heero just grunted. "You should go soon so you can talk to your brother," Heero said, "And I expect
to see that shirt thoroughly ruined by tonight, or I will accuse you of not working hard enough as my assistant."
Duo laughed as he pulled it over his head. "You're not going to make me be the decoy ALL the time are you?"
He leaned over the bed and pulled his socks on. "Oh, hey, speaking of that, what about my really cool weapon?"
Heero scrutinized Duo for something he could use. "Do you wear that cross all the time?" he asked.
Duo nodded. "Does it actually have meaning for you, are you religious, or do you just wear it as decoration?"
Duo looked away. "I'm not religious at all… but it does have meaning, it was my mom's," he answered.
"Even better," Heero nodded, coming closer, "Give it to me."
Duo undid the clasp and handed it to Heero. Heero closed his eye with that same look of concentration that Duo
had seen last night. He held the cross in his palm and started speaking rapidly in Japanese. Nothing happened
for a few moments, and then the cross started to glow a blinding gold. Heero stopped speaking and the cross just
glowed and then went back to normal.
Heero handed it back to him unceremoniously.
"What does it do?" Duo asked, looking at it.
Heero looked a little sheepish. "I do not know," he admitted, "I can not empower things myself.
Your… mother empowered it. The release word is tasukete, that means 'help'. Do not use it until we are in another
fight, I have no idea what it can do."
Duo stared at the cross. "My… mother?" he whispered. He looked up at Heero. "Did you… see her?
Did she say anything?" he asked eagerly.
Heero shook his head. "No, no, I can not make direct contact. I asked her to help you through this amulet,
and she agreed." He gave Duo a hopeful little smile, "If I were you, I would take that to mean she is
proud of you and believes in you."
Duo bit his lip. "Thanks," he swallowed, fastening the chain around his neck.
"Go home Duo," Heero instructed.
Duo smiled, he knew Heero did not mean offense. "I'll see you at school!" he waved at the door. "Oh,
are you going to pretend you don't know me?" he asked before closing the door.
"It would be smart to do that," Heero nodded. Duo just grinned, and Heero heard him pounding down the
Duo ran all the way home, it was a fifteen minute run from the northside to his house. He found Solo asleep at
the kitchen table with the phone next to him. There was a pad next to it, with the names of all Duo's friends
crossed off. All the pots from last night were still stood on the stove, untouched.
"Solo!" Duo panted, shutting the door.
Solo snapped awake and knocked over his chair in his haste to get to his little brother. He hugged Duo hard and
lifted him off the ground. "Oh god, Duo! Where the hell have you been?" he could only whisper.
Duo could barely breathe let alone try to answer the question. Solo put his feet back on the ground and gripped
his shoulders. "What the hell were you thinking?" he asked, the relief and love too strong for his voice
to sound mad, "Where did you go? I tried all your friends!"
"I'm sorry Solo!" Duo cried, hugging the older boy around his neck. "I'm sorry!" he said again
into Solo's collar, "You're right, I'm immature sometimes."
Solo pulled him off and leaned down to look him in the eye. "Yes, you are," he agreed, "But where
were you? You had me scared to death! You weren't near the park were you? A woman was attacked there! She swears
it was a dog, but the police aren't so sure!"
"No, no," Duo placated him, "I met up with a friend from school, and he let me stay at his house."
"You should have called!" Solo scolded, "Who is this kid anyway?"
"He's an exchange student from Japan," Duo told him, "He, uh, did kind of say I was immature for
not calling you to say where I was."
Solo shook his head and straightened up, running a hand through his hair. "Go get ready for school,"
he said. He grabbed Duo's braid before he could exit the room, making his brother yelp. "I'll have your
punishment figured out by the time you get back from school," he said.
"Punishment?" Duo whined.
"You didn't think I was going to let you off that easy, did you?" Solo said with a familiar lop-sided
"PLEASE no grounding, ok? Please? Dishes, garbage, laundry, vacuuming, anything but grounding!!" Duo
"I'll think about it," Solo said, releasing the leash.
Duo took the steps two-by-two and got dressed for school as fast as he could. He grabbed breakfast on the way
out and arrived before first bell.
Hilde grabbed him hard on the way to class and whirled him around. "Where in the hell were you last night,
Duo?" she demanded, "Your brother was about to have a coronary! He called our house three times asking
if you were there! He even had my mom search my room incase I was hiding you! And you better be glad you weren't
there!! She was ready to thrash you too!"
"I only got called twice!" Dorothy sniffed as she walked by and grabbed Duo, dragging him to class.
"Um later, Hilde ok?" Duo waved to her before Dorothy deposited him in the classroom.
"You're an idiot, Duo Maxwell," she said simply before leaving him to take her seat.
To Duo's dismay, it didn't end there.
"Maxwell!" Wu Fei groused, "My parents are angry with you for being woken up twice last night by
calls from your frantic brother. While I'm glad to see you're safe, it was very stupid of you to run away."
Duo rolled his eyes. "Gee, thanks Chang."
"Duo, you really had me worried!" Relena said, "You really shouldn't have taken off like that!
Where on earth did you go?"
Duo could tell he was not going to be able to avoid answering, all his friends knew he hadn't been at any of their
houses. "Actually, 'Lena, it's kind of a funny story," he grinned at her, "You'll be so jealous!
You see, I was sulking around, feeling sorry for myself, when who else do I find out for a stroll but Heero Yuy.
So we get to talking you see, and he even lets me stay at his house." Duo waited for the jaws to drop.
"You're lying!" Chang said in disbelief.
"Nope!" Duo grinned, "Say, there he is! Hey Heero!!" He waved obnoxiously at the other boy
who was just sitting down across the room. Duo was truly impressed that he was able to combine such a powerful
glare with a look of complete shock. "What's up buddy?" Duo said cheerfully. The shock faded into just
a glare, but Heero waved weakly before sitting down and ignoring them.
Duo turned back to his friends, relishing their utterly confused expressions. "Jealous?" he winked at
Relena. She huffed and turned around straight in her chair, equally bent on ignoring Duo.
Duo managed to get through the rest of the day, answering the same questions over and over again. All through
the day, the cross felt heavy on his chest, and he could swear it felt warm, constantly reminding him of its presence.
He waited outside the cafeteria until a certain Japanese student came down the stairs.
"What are you doing?" Heero hissed when the other kids had passed.
"I'm sorry," Duo bit his lip, "All my friends knew I hadn't been at any of their houses, so there
was really nothing else I could do."
Heero gave him a dissatisfied grunt.
"And besides," Duo said, taking his shoulders and steering him into the cafeteria, "You need friends!"
"What? No! Duo, this is a bad idea!" Heero protested, but Duo managed to get him over to the table
where he had seen Duo and his friends gather. "K'so," he swore under his breath as all the kids looked
up at him.
"Heero's gonna sit with us today, guys!" Duo said cheerfully as he tore Heero's backpack from his hands
and set it by an empty chair. Heero growled at him and actually bared his teeth, but Duo just laughed and pushed
him down into the chair.
"I'm Quatre," a blond boy smiled, and then introduced everyone else. Heero nodded at them briefly.
He managed to get through lunch without killing Duo, for which he was proud of himself. "Be at my house by
dark," Heero whispered as they walked back to class.
Duo spent the afternoon napping until he heard the front door slam and Solo call, "Duo? You home?"
"Up here!" Duo called, he went downstairs. "Well, what's my punishment?" he asked bravely.
"Dishes for a week, and cleaning the entire house," Solo said. Duo nodded, secretly relieved he was
not being grounded.
"By the way, bro, I think I'm coming down with something, so I'm going to go to bed soon after dinner,"
he lied to his brother.
Solo cocked an eyebrow as he turned a burner on. "You are sick?" he asked doubtfully. "You're
a little parasite yourself!"
Duo coughed for corroborating evidence. "Yeah," he cleared his throat, "Been tired all day."
"Did you finish all your homework?" Solo asked.
Duo rolled his eyes. "Yes, dad," he said exasperatedly.
"Ok, then, take it easy kid, I don't want to have to miss work to take you to the doctor or anything."
Duo snorted a laugh.
After Duo cleaned up the dishes he headed upstairs, calling goodnight to his brother.
"Get some sleep!" Solo called from the living room, "And don't think you're going to get out of
going to school tomorrow!"
Duo stuffed some clothes under the covers roughly in the shape of a sleeping body, and then dressed all in black
and snuck out the window.
That night, Duo learned that werewolves hunt in packs and have voracious appetites. Heero's intuition led them
to intercept the wolves in the woods before they got any closer to town. The two boys were all that stood between
the beasts and the town.
"Wait for them to attack first!" Heero ordered, as the three wolves just growled and sized them up.
"Stay back unless I get in trouble, you may have to use your cross tonight."
"I'm ready!" Duo confirmed, feeling it hot against his chest. He felt light on his feet, every nerve
taught and ready to fight.
One wolf jumped at him with a snarl, but Heero was able to jump between them and fight it off. As he suspected,
that had been a fake-out, and the other two wolves attacked him seconds later.
However, the first wolf kept after Duo. He evaded it a few times, but finally shouted "Tasukete!" and
the cross burst with light so bright he closed his eyes. When he opened them, the wolf was frozen in midair, suspended
while leaping at him.
"Heero!" he called, in confusion. Was this the power his mother had given him? How long would it last?
Duo's call distracted one of the wolves and Heero was able to kill it. He stabbed the other wolf, causing it to
back off long enough to run over to Duo. He looked at the frozen demon and then at Duo. Suddenly, Duo turned
and shouted, "Tasukete!" again, freezing the other wolf just before it could reach Heero. At that, the
other frozen wolf fell to the ground, and groggily stood, shaking itself awake. Heero attacked it quickly and
decapitated it after a few deft strokes. The final wolf awoke before Heero could get to it, but he fought it for
only a few minutes before he delivered a killing blow. He turned the wolves to soot and shrunk his sword before
turning to Duo.
"That's a very good power," he said approvingly, "You will really be able to help me."
Duo grinned and they patrolled the streets of town for another few hours. "So what's the deal?" Duo
asked as they walked, "One beastie per night? What's going on? Why aren't we swamped?"
"Zechs is calling them to him. He must have a compound somewhere in town where they are gathering. The wolves
were stopping for a bite before going there, as was the chimera. I think the yeti just stepped out for some fun.
They are not supposed to draw attention to themselves until Zechs decrees, but I think some of them are being
careless. Do not worry, Duo, there will be plenty to fight when Zechs gives the word," Heero answered grimly.
When Heero was satisfied that things were safe, he offered his place for Duo to come and clean up.
"I think I'll go home tonight, I'm not too torn up this time. I'll just have to be quiet," Duo answered
and they went their separate ways.
At home, Heero made something quick to eat, took a shower, and crawled into bed. He growled at himself for feeling
a little lonely tonight. He was beginning to appreciate Duo's presence. And his help. Duo's power would be invaluable