Disclaimers: Not mine!!

Pairings: 2+1/1X2
Warnings: AU, shounen-ai, romance, dirt, archaeobabble, ANGST, catholocism, adventure.

Author's Notes: Written for the GWYaoi.org Novella Challenge, but not finished in time for the deadline.

Summary: Duo and Heero meet as teenagers on an archaeological dig in Israel. Raised in the field with a trowel in hand, Heero is slow to see the skills Duo can bring to his work.

Part II
Chapter 15
by Granate

Heero woke when the room became too bright with early morning sun.  He squeezed his eyes shut and rolled onto his back, his arm pulling away from a warm body.  He opened his eyes and found Duo lying next to him.  He must have had his arm around Duo's waist, or at least, that's where he hoped he'd had it.  Good thing Duo was fast asleep.

It was early.  Too early for Wu Fei to be up, even, but once Heero was awake and thinking about the day's plan, there was no going back to sleep.  He managed to get out of the hide-a-bed without waking Duo and went to the bathroom.  Wu Fei had left some towels out for them, which he found easily.  The apartment was new to him, it wasn't the same one Wu Fei had lived in when they had gone to school together.  He wondered if anything was the same.

He started the water and stepped into the white porcelain tub when it warmed.  He turned on the shower and grabbed a bar of soap.  Things between him, Trowa, and Wu Fei felt strained, as he had expected they would.  They had been his closest friends since freshman year of college but he had lost contact with them since he left for London.  He didn't even know how Trowa had gotten his phone number.  He was sure they knew about the silence between him and Jay, everyone did.  Since they were Jay's grad students now, he figured they'd probably be on his "side."  It occurred to him then that maybe it was partially his fault that this had happened.  Maybe if he hadn't been so headstrong about leaving and stayed with his uncle, Jay wouldn't have gone off alone like he had.  It was not a good thought to start out the day.

The feeling of water on his face roused Duo from sleep.  He grunted, rolled onto his side, and opened his eyes to Heero standing by the hide-a-bed in just a pair of jeans, towel-drying his hair.  The only thing wrong with this picture was Heero's deep, distant frown.

"Oh, sorry," he mumbled when he glanced down and realized he'd woken Duo.

"S'ok," Duo yawned.  The little smirk that crossed Heero's face made Duo feel suddenly self-conscious.  What, did he look funny or something?   "What time is it?" he asked, trying to smooth out his hair.

"It's early still, you don't have to get up quite yet," Heero told him as he crouched to dig through his bag for a shirt.   

Duo watched him stand up and pull the shirt over his head.  Didn't seem like Heero was shy at all.  Having an audience didn't make him bat an eyelash, if he even noticed at all.  Maybe his mind was elsewhere.  Duo decided to get up and took a fast shower.  When he got out, Heero had the bed folded in and the frown firmly back in place.  Wu Fei was up and rummaging for something the three of them could eat.  Trowa picked them up right on time and they squeezed into his small car.

"Here, why don't you take the window," Duo suggested as he and Heero found their seats on the plane.  Heero ducked slightly under the overhead compartment and took the seat Duo offered.  Trowa and Wu Fei were in the seats directly in front of them.  From what he understood, the Quatre Winner person Trowa had talked to would be meeting them at airport.  It amused Duo to imagine how someone from Winner International met people at the airport.  Would they be paged to one of the exclusive clubs most airports seemed to have, or would there be a huge guy in dark glasses and an earpiece waiting for them with a sign to take them to a limousine?

Duo watched a movie and read one of the books he'd brought, but otherwise tried to get some rest.  He was especially concerned about jetlag for him and Heero because they had come from London, spent a day in Boston, and were now flying into yet another time zone.  He looked over at Heero, who was staring out the window and did not look particularly concerned about time zones.  The lights in the cabin had been turned off but Heero's reading light was still on.

"Mind?" Duo asked as he reached up to the button.  Heero turned his head to look at him.  "We should get some rest," Duo said.

"No, go ahead," Heero said of the reading light.  Duo turned it out and pulled his blanket up.  He dozed a bit, but every time he woke up, Heero was always staring out that black window.

When they got off the plane, Duo was mildly disappointed to discover that there were no big guys in sunglasses carrying signs in the gate.  Everyone in their small group looked a little confused and turned to Trowa, who just shrugged placidly.  Just about right on cue they were approached by a young man with short blond hair.

"Excuse me, Trowa Barton?" he said, looking right at Trowa.

"Ah, Mr. Winner?" Trowa said politely and extended his hand.

"Yes, please call me Quatre," the young man said.  This was the last thing they had expected their international businessman to look like.  He was very young-looking with the kind of fine, shiny blond hair you usually only saw on children.  Duo thought he couldn't have been any older than the rest of their group.  However, despite his looks and the pink dress shirt, something about him demanded respect.  He was probably born and bred for the business world.  Duo didn't make a habit of looking at people's shoes, but he guessed that Quatre Winner's were more expensive than his entire wardrobe.  If the clothes he'd hastily wrapped his books in before leaving America could be considered a wardrobe, that is.

"This is - " Trowa began the introductions.

"Wu Fei Chang and Heero Yuy," he said, shaking their hands in turn and offering a smile.  "No, I'm not psychic.  I did a little research on the Harvard Anthropology homepage, it has pictures," he admitted.  He turned to Duo and apologized, "I'm sorry, I don't remember seeing you there."

"I'm not," Duo said and held out his hand.  "Duo Maxwell."

"Ah, the linguist," Quatre said, "I've heard the name."

"Nah, I'm the less famous linguist with the last name Maxwell," Duo said with a slight smile.

"Well then, shall we be on our way?" Quatre asked.  "I've got a car waiting."  They followed him to a good place to change money and then outside to the curb.  

"Iraklion is the main port on Crete, I thought we'd get right on a ferry," Heero told him.

"That's probably the best idea," Quatre agreed as he opened the van door and they all got in.  He gave instructions to the driver in Greek.  "What will we do when we get there?" he asked Heero.

"Start canvassing," Heero said.  "Jay will probably have rented a room somewhere where he can come and go freely, somewhere easy to get to and close to the easiest means of transportation to Knossos.  If I can remember the place we stayed in last time we were there, that might be a good place to start looking."

"I brought a picture," Trowa said, and from his bag procured the jacket of one of Jay's books.

"Good thinking," Heero nodded.

When they reached the port, Heero asked about fare for the car, but Quatre told him that the driver was employed by their company.  Summer schedules had not yet begun, but they were able to find a high speed ferry that would get them there by evening.  Quatre purchased all five tickets and declined offers to be paid back.  They boarded the ferry and found their designated deck.  They had decided on basic tickets and not a private cabin since the trip would not be overnight.  They claimed booth-style seats that faced each other and had a table in the middle.  

"I'm going to go find some snacks," Duo said, tossing his bag on the seat next to Heero.  "Anybody else want food?"

"I'll go with you," Wu Fei said, sliding out of the booth

They scouted out a food counter and got in line.  Boarding had started an hour ago, so some of these people had been on the boat far longer than they had.  They were silent, but Duo was aware of Wu Fei's fidgeting.  Wu Fei did not appear to him as the sort of man who normally fidgeted.  

"Say, Duo," Wu Fei said suddenly, "I know I don't know you very well and I wouldn't normally do this, but is Heero angry with us?"

"Angry at you?" Duo repeated as he stepped up in line.

"About his uncle," Wu Fei tried to explain as he dug into his pockets.  "I mean, Jay didn't tell us anything.  We both wanted to come with him, but he just said it would be a short trip."

"No, I don't think he's angry," Duo answered, frowning in thought.  "I think Heero's just stressed out in general.  There's some trouble between him and Jay."

"Yes, I know," Wu Fei nodded seriously.  "It's just, we used to be friends and he treats us like strangers.  Trowa and I don't know what to make of it."

Duo's frown deepened.  "Maybe he feels a little awkward about leaving the way he did, but I'm sure he's just focused on his uncle right now.  He's the type who withdraws when he's under pressure."

"That's true," Wu Fei nodded again.  "You seem to know him pretty well.  I'm sorry for troubling you with this."

"It's no problem," Duo told him honestly.  

"So how do you know Heero and Jay?" Wu Fei asked.

"I helped out one summer in Ashkelon," Duo answered as the stepped up again.  "Long time ago, Heero and I were both fourteen.  We just recently got reacquainted."

"Did you ever see Heero's temple?"

Duo laughed.  "Yeah, I was the one who scraped that big chunk of tile off the wall," he grinned.  "Heero would have killed me if he hadn't found those stars on the wall underneath."

"Wow, so you were there for the very beginning, then."

"Yeah, and I was actually there to help my mentor translate the scrolls."

"That's right, you're a linguist," Wu Fei nodded.  "Where did you go to school?"

"Oh, I never went to college," Duo answered.

Wu Fei's eyebrows rose slightly in surprise.  "Oh," he said

They were at the front of the line, so Duo ordered and then looked to the other man.  

"Nothing for me," Wu Fei said quickly.  Duo just shrugged and brought his French fries back to the table and told everyone to help themselves.

"We should have a plan for when we get there," Heero suggested once they had all sat down.

"He's after something at Knossos, isn't he?" Wu Fei asked, eyes darting to the window as the ferry started moving.

Heero nodded.  "He's looking for the labyrinth."

"Minos' labyrinth?" Trowa asked.

"That's my theory," Heero replied.

"But it doesn't exist," Wu Fei said, brows knit in thought.  "Does it?"

"He probably knows something out of the ordinary," Heero frowned, "which may make it hard to find him."

"Knossos is the ancient palace on Crete, right?" Quatre asked.

"Right," Trowa said.

"According to myth, there was labyrinth that hid a monster, but it's pretty much been ruled out as just that - a myth," Duo explained.

"Oh yes, I think I remember that story," Quatre nodded.

"Well, everyone said Troy was just a myth," Wu Fei added in.  "Maybe Jay's found it."

"We'll be checking around the ruins, then?" Quatre asked.

"They'll be closing by the time we get off the boat, so I thought we'd start by trying to find his hotel," Heero said.  "It's been five or six years since I was here last, but I may be able to find the place we stayed.  He would probably stay there again."

"My phone has global coverage, so I can make any calls you need made," Quatre offered.  

"Good," Heero nodded.  "Any other ideas?"  No one else could think of anything for the time being.  

Trowa held up a deck of cards.  "Everyone know how to play poker?" he asked

"Oh great," Wu Fei groaned as Trowa dealt a hand of cards to the five of them.  "Poker with Barton and Yuy."

"No one is forcing you to play, Chang," Trowa reminded him as they picked up their cards.

Duo studied his hand.  It had been a long time since he played poker, but he managed not to lose.  He opted out of the next round and got up instead.

"I'm going to go outside for a bit," he told them.  There was a window at their seats, but he wanted a better view.  He took his jacket but left his bag.  He knew this wasn't supposed to be a tourism trip, but this was his first time in Greece.  Who knew when he'd be back?  He found his way to the deck and wandered around, ducking in to the little souvenir shops, and finally settled on a seat where he could take in the scenery.  It was late March and a little chilly on the sea.  On land, it was 60's and sunny, but moving at the pace the ferry was made it nippy on the deck.  He was one of the only people out and so it surprised him when someone sat down right next to him.  He looked over and discovered it was Heero, hunching into the collar of his coat against the wind as it whipped through his coffee colored hair.  He didn't offer a greeting and they sat silently for a few minutes.  

Heero slouched down in his seat a bit and turned his eyes up to Duo.  "Thanks for coming along," he said.  "I knew it was going to be kind of weird with them."

"Wu Fei and Trowa?" Duo asked, trying to tuck his fly-away bangs behind his ears.

"Yeah," Heero said quietly, looking down at nothing on the floor.

"You know, I don't think they resent you for leaving," Duo told him.  "Just because your uncle did doesn't mean they do."

Heero's shoulders fell a bit but he continued to train his eyes on the floor.

Duo rolled his eyes skyward, wondering just how far he could stretch Wu Fei's confidence.  "I'm sure they still want to be friends with you Heero, you should think about clearing the air after Jay is found."

Heero nodded weakly.  "I want to, it's just so far in the back of my mind right now, I can't really think about anything else."

"I know," Duo said and shoved his hands deep into his coat pockets because he knew if he didn't, he'd throw his arms around Heero right here and now.  "It's a lot already.  It's ok," he said and leaned into Heero's shoulder.

Heero just leaned back.

They wordlessly watched the scenery, Duo trying to take in as much of Greece as he could since he suspected they wouldn't be here long.  They probably wouldn't even have time for a proper tour of Knossos when they got there.  He sighed to himself.  He'd just have to try to get back here someday.  

It was some time before Duo stirred from his seat.  He tugged on Heero's sleeve as he got up to go observe from the rail.

"It's beautiful here.  You said you'd been here before?" he asked when Heero appeared beside him.

"Couple of times," Heero nodded, "always visited Knossos, too."

"He was really into the Minoans, huh?"

Heero nodded again, turning towards Duo and leaning sideways on the wooden railing.  "Most historians gave up on there being a real labyrinth, but Jay wasn't convinced.  He had every text you could find on the topic.  If he's not in any of the local hospitals or police stations, we'll have to ask around the Knossos tourist office.  It figures he'd go after it now.  He probably wants to retire eventually, so now is the time."

Duo nodded thoughtfully.  Heero didn't say anything as he leaned way over the rail to look at the water splashing out from the side of the large boat.  He backed up again, eyes still on the water.  

"I've been thinking," he said, hands tensing on the rail.  "Maybe I shouldn't have left the way I did.  I was being selfish.  Everything I am today is because of him.  After everything he's done for me, it's no wonder he's so angry with me."

"You're an adult, you should be able to study where you want.  Besides, isn't staying at the same institution for all of one's schooling discouraged?" Duo asked.

"Yes," Heero agreed reluctantly, "but Jay's not as young as he used to be.  He should have someone with him.  I'm sure he wouldn't have gone off alone if I had been there."

Duo shook his head.  Was everyone harboring some guilt over this?  Was he going to have to find a way for it to be his fault next?  "Heero, it's not your fault," he insisted.  

"How could I go nine months without speaking to him?" Heero asked, voice sounding tight.  "How could I do that?  I… I was only three when my father disappeared, how could I let this happen?"  

Duo looked at him carefully, his dark hair was tussled, cheeks pinked by the sea wind, and knuckles white on the railing.  Duo leaned against him again and put his right hand over Heero's left.  "We'll find him, Heero," he promised, though he knew it was out of his control for the most part.  "We'll find him and you'll have a chance to set things straight.  You know how he can be, he's probably absorbed in his work and that's why he hasn't contacted anyone.  So after you yell at him for like two hours, you guys can make up."

Heero swallowed and nodded slightly.  "I hope so," he said.  "And I'm going to yell at him for three hours."

"Yeah, and be sure to include that 'not as young as he used to be' bit, he'll love that," Duo said.

Heero snorted slightly and looked down at the water again.  Duo removed his hand and played with his sleeve, trying to figure out where this sudden urge to kiss Heero had come from.  Maybe it wasn't so sudden, they had almost kissed in his apartment before the phone call, but that didn't change the fact that now was really not the time for that.  Heero had enough to think about without any clumsy attempts at romance from Duo.  He'd already said he couldn't deal with much more right now, and Duo should be more concerned about being a good friend for now.  There would be time enough to let his feelings be known when they returned to London.

"Where's Wu Fei?" Heero asked as he and Duo sat down inside with Trowa and Quatre again.

"Hugging a toilet," Trowa said without looking up from his hand of cards.

"He said the Dramamine wasn't working," Quatre answered more politely.

"No, what he said was there wasn't enough Dramamine in the world," Trowa snickered.  "Seven of spades?"

"Go fish," Quatre answered.

"You're playing Go Fish?" Duo asked with a chuckle.

"I'm really not very good at poker," Quatre admitted.  "Thirteen of hearts?"

"We've played bullshit, crazy eights, old maid and rummy.  You guys were gone for a while," Trowa said as he handed the card over to Quatre.  

"Everything but fifty-two pick up, huh?" Duo grinned.

"Huh?" Quatre asked.

"That's next," Trowa smirked.

on to chapter 16

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