Disclaimer: I own Gundam Wing. But I'm also certifiably insane, so don't expect that claim to hold up in court.... AND I knowingly DO NOT own the title "Teenage Dirtbag" I stole it from the band Wheatus because I'm lazy as shit and couldn't think of my own.

Pairings: 1xR, 2+R
Warnings: non-yaoi, duo pov, au (present day Ohio), ooc?, language, drug abuse (kidstuff), and ANGST as only high school can inspire.

Author's Note: Sprung from the Wheatus song "Teenage Dirtbag," but takes quite a different turn. Please don't be afraid that this fic is technically 1xR, it really does focus on the growing relationship between Heero and Duo.   um, I know nothing about cars! *sweatdrops, runs away*

Summary: Duo forms an odd friendship with his crush's bad-boy boyfriend and it's one neither of them will forget.

Teenage Dirtbag
Part 7
by Granate

Ahhhhh prom. That infamous rite of teenage life. All it really means to me is that there's only two weeks left of high school, but yeah, I'm going. And yeah, I have a date. Well, I'm going with a friend, Hilde. We've had this weird thing going on for years now. I don't like her, but she has a crush on me, then I'll start liking her, but she already has a boyfriend. Then I get over it, and then she likes me again. The timing's just been all off. I'm hoping maybe this might be our chance. The crew meets for pictures in Quatre's lavish yard. Our parents fuss and try to get us to stand still and look grown-up for once, but I'm sure all the pictures are going to be goofy as hell. My aunt made me get all dressed up early and took pictures of me because she has a shift that evening. She was so upset that she was going to have to be gone, but I told her not to worry about it. I promised to bring her camera to the get together, and Hilde's parents gladly take pictures for her. Maybe they feel bad for me. I don't care. This isn't that big of a deal to me anyway, just another high school ritual I can mock.

The dance is held in the gymnasium. I know what you're thinking, but really it looks nice, even I'm impressed. Relena was in charge of it, so of course it looks great. I don't know, it's pretty fun, I guess. Everyone looks nice. Relena is stunning. Looks like she cleaned Heero up and dragged him along. She's holding his arm, but it looks more like she's parading him around. He doesn't talk to anyone. He looks bored, more sullen than usual. I can't figure out why, I mean his girlfriend looks like a movie star, you'd think a guy would be proud. I guess this just isn't his element. Well, that and he hates all of her friends.

Me and my friends dance for a while; the DJ is terrible of course. I get really sick of it after a couple hours, though. I start to realize that it's just everyone I usually see at school, only dressed nicer. Nothing's really different or special. And then there's those annoying starry-eyed people who act like it's the most wonderful moment of their lives. Man, if high school prom is the biggest moment of your life, you've got problems. I cynically wonder how many virginities will be lost tonight. Not mine, unfortunately, although that was never an expected outcome. I find out the ugly way that Hilde has a crush on someone else. I haven't seen Heero in a little while, so I wonder if maybe I can get the guts to go ask Relena to dance. Surely he wouldn't kill me right? I think about it, but feel... indifferent, so I don't. I don't really know what the hell I want.

My friends have kind of dispersed. I find Trowa and Quatre sitting together at a table, drinking mock-tails, and plunk down next to them. They both came dateless, and have been inseparable all night. Kinda makes me wonder. That's cool with me. A friendship like theirs is special, makes sense there could be more to it. Hilde found her crush and is making out with him in an out-of-the-way corridor. Sylvia is out on the dance floor, sandwiched between Nikol and another guy. Just the way she likes it. My good buddy Wu Fei is being dragged all over the dance floor by his girlfriend, Sally. She's the coolest, she's actually a year older. Pre-med in college, just finished her first year. He can have a real stick up his ass sometimes, she's like the only one who can temper him. You just KNOW they'll be together for fucking EVER. Happily ever after and all that bullshit.

Suddenly, I really want to leave. There's a big party at Quatre's afterward, but now I don't feel like it. I tell Quatre to tell Hilde and everybody that I went home. He and Trowa protest, but I turn and leave. I pass a lot of kissing couples on my way out to the parking lot. I hate high school. I have lots of friends, why do I feel so lonely? I broodingly walk towards my car and I spot a familiar figure leaning on a light post, smoking a cigarette. Hands in my pockets, I wander over.

"Hey," I say. He nods at me and takes a drag.

"No smoking on school grounds, you know," I inform him.

"Dork," he replies, and blows smoke through his nostrils like a dragon. I swear I almost got a smile out of him that time.

"Have some manners and offer me one, will ya?" I gripe.

"Didn't think you smoked," he says, cigarette still between his lips. He pulls the pack out of his inside pocket and holds it out to me. I don't smoke very often, but I have before, usually when drunk.

"Yeah, well, my date is playing tonsil hockey with some other guy in the hallway in there," I tell him, taking one. He raises his eyebrows and tosses me the lighter. "Eh, its no big deal," I continue, handing back the lighter. We smoke for a minute without saying anything.

"Why aren't you in there?" I ask finally. "Relena looks terrific."

He shrugs.

"She'll be Prom Queen for sure," I tell him.

He just makes a face.

"I don't get it," I shake my head. "Won't that make you happy?"

He smokes silently, and then shakes his head, "It's all bullshit, you know?"

"Absolutely," I agree.

"I gotta get out of here," he glowers.

"Yeah, I'm heading home myself," I puff smoke.

"Hn," he looks at me approvingly for once. "Then you can drop me off."

"You didn't drive your car?" I ask.

He looks at the ground with the most sheepish expression Heero Yuy is capable of making. "Relena wanted a limousine," he tells me. I politely stifle a laugh.

"But they're voting soon," I insist. "You should stay. You know, the crowning ceremony, special dances with mood lighting, your picture in the yearbook, and I'm sure you have a great party to go to afterwards." He looks ill as I say that.

He flicks his cigarette butt, not bothering to squash it out, and turns to me again. "Are we leavin' or what?" he asks, unmoved.

"Ok," I say uncertainly but head towards my car. "But don't you think she'll be mad?"

"Probably," he answers with a shrug.

"You are such a jerk," I laugh, unlocking the doors.

"She knows that," he unexpectedly continues. "I bet she's half expecting me to leave."

I nod and start the car. I drive and he leans his elbow out the window and stares out blankly. It's quiet, but it doesn't feel awkward. He looks bored. I'm not offended or anything. I don't begrudge him looking bored anymore. With that kind of intelligence, high school would bore anyone to tears. Like this guy could stand to kill a few hundred brain cells. That reminds me of something.

"Hey," I pipe up, "I have some weed I was saving for the party afterwards. There's no one home at my house, want to come over and smoke it?"

He looks at me. "Why not?" he says. It didn't take much deliberation. I guess my house is better than any alternative he has at the moment.

We get to my house, and I let him roll it, since he's the expert. I've only done it a few times. I'd never bought any myself before this bag, but I thought prom would be a special occasion. Some of us joked that we should do it before hand, but the girls nixed that idea. I guess when you make your hair appointment back in December, it's an occasion you want to remember fully. Man, this society is all fucked up. So, we just planned a party afterwards, which I thought I'd be going to. Funny how things work out.

"D'you like video games?" I ask, passing the joint back to him. He packed that thing really full, but it's almost gone and we're both pretty high. I guess we've decided that tuxedos are just too uncomfortable, because we are hanging out in our boxers and undershirts. I usually play video games when I'm high, although it does cause some impairment. He shrugs and nods. I pull out the RPG I've been working on recently. I'm high, so the dumbest things are damned funny. Maybe he's amused too, I can't really tell, but he doesn't look terribly bored.

He helps me finish the game. I can't believe it, I didn't think I could beat the game in only a few more hours. Even high, he solves the logic and temporal puzzles faster than I do. Damn. I let the credits roll and get up to get us some more food. I come back with a bowl of popcorn and sit by him on the floor.

"Tell me something," I say. I must admit I'm feeling contemplative.

"Hn?" he grunts.

"Your wrists... when did you do that?" I ask. Honestly, this is not why I invited him over, but I am dying to know. Morbid, remember? I'm counting on the trend I've noticed that he's more talkative when he's on something.

Absolutely no flicker of emotion crosses his face. "Four years ago, right before I moved here." I don't think he's all that shocked that I asked, I mean he knows I've seen the scars.

I skirt around the Big Question. No one can ever tell you why exactly, because there's never just one reason, sometimes it isn't even tangible, you know?

I pause and take a deep breath. I've been wondering something, and I think I'm too high to have the tact not to ask now. "Do you ever wish you had succeeded?" I ask. I say it without thinking whether it's right or wrong to ask.

He stares straight ahead at nothing and is silent for a minute. I'm about to tell him he doesn't have to answer when he does. "It's almost like I did. My whole life since then has been only half reality, like it's not actually happening. I really planned on dying. I went away where I thought no one could find me. I wanted them to think I just ran away. I did it, and I could feel myself dying. Next thing I know, I wake up in a hospital two days later. The doctors called it a miracle recovery," he scoffs, "I remember being so confused, almost scared, like 'Why am I still alive? What the hell's going on?' They wouldn't release me until my grandfather came to get me. I nearly gave the old guy a heart attack. He never did know what to do with me, so he sent me to live with my uncle. I felt so... I dunno, ashamed? Mostly 'cause it didn't work and everyone was making such a big deal about it – prescriptions, counseling... shit like that..."

I wordlessly take in what he's said. I never thought I'd get such a long answer from him. Maybe he knows me well enough now that he figures I'm just going to ask more questions

I've got another question. "Do you think you'll ever try again? Or have you?" I ask him. But it's almost like he doesn't need to try again, he seemed to have killed something off that first time.

"I don't know," he says, "I haven't yet. They keep close watch on me."

"Does Relena know?" I ask.

He nods and looks at his wrists, still emotionless. "It's not like I can hide it," he says, although I've noticed he wears mostly long sleeve shirts. "She kind of helps, you know?" he fumbles, referring to my previous question.

"Hm," I snort, "Ego boost?" I say with out really thinking about it.

He looks at me, slightly offended. "No..." he blinks at me. He searches for words. "It's... nice to be... loved. It helps," he finally comes up with.

I feel like the asshole now. I try to smile. "So, it's love that does it after all, huh?" He doesn't answer or even nod or anything, but it doesn't seem like I've pissed him off too bad.

"Do you love her?" I ask curiously. I really have wondered this a lot.

"I don't know," he says. He stretches his arms over his head and changes the subject. "It has to end soon anyway."

"College?" I ask. I ask a lot of question, don't I? He nods. "Where's she going?"

"Princeton," he answers.

"How about you?" I want to know.

"I don't know yet. Somewhere not here. What about you?" he asks a question this time. I'm a little surprised he wants to know.

"Ohio State," I tell him, "gave me a full ride."

He nods in understanding. He's probably in the same boat. But I bet he could get a scholarship to a really good school. I want to encourage him, but I also don't want to bug him about it. I bet he gets enough 'wasting-your-intelligence' speeches from other people. I'm willing to bet that's the core of most of his arguments with his uncle. I don't hassle him about it.

"Hey," I perk up, "wanna play a fighting game?"

"Sure," he shrugs.

"How about Super Smash Brothers?" I suggest, crawling over and putting the game in. He doesn't respond, so I take that as a yes. We super smash each other for a while. He beats me almost every time, but it's fun anyway. And I think I see him smile a few times. Maybe just smirk. Probably because he's currently kicking my ass as Jiggley Puff. Shit, he's beating he crap outta me with, like, the lamest Pokémon ever.

"You know how you said life doesn't feel real?" I ask, still turning our conversation over and over in my mind.

He grunts in assent and sends my character, Link, screaming off into the distance for the second time this match.

"Maybe that's 'cause you don't care about anything," I propose philosophically. He pauses for just a second to look over at me and I glance back at him. "Maybe if you found something you really liked you'd feel like living again." Let's hear it for marijuana-induced moments of brilliance. That made sense in my head, I promise.

He's still looking at me and I take the opportunity to score a few points off of him.

"Son of bitch!" he growls and recovers his character. Of course, he returns full throttle and poor Link has to endure his wrath in the form of a very rotund, very pink Pokémon. Finally, we get tired and pass out next to each other in our little pillow nest on the floor, right where we were sitting. I wake up late the next morning alone with the TV on static. His shoes and clothes are gone too, so I figure he walked home. It certainly isn't far.

I don't tell anybody how I spent prom night. I don't see Heero much at school the last two weeks. It's odd because I used to see him a lot, especially when he was out to get me. I figure he's just skipping a lot. But the really odd thing is that the few times I do see him, he says 'hey' to me. It seems like a small thing, but remember this is high school, people. Plus, it's Heero Yuy. I bet I'm the only person at school besides Relena that he willingly speaks to.

But he doesn't come over with his car again and he doesn't show up to graduation. Well, that shouldn't be such a big surprise, I suppose. But they do say his name, so I guess he passed all his classes.

Graduation is held outside on the football field. It pours. The students revel in it, we think it's funny, but the parents don't. My aunt is there. She takes lots of pictures of me being wet and goofy with my friends afterward. Then she gives me the camera so I can take pictures later at the big party the school throws for our class. Not everyone looks so happy though. Relena looks down. She's putting on a good show, but I can see through it. I watch for a moment when she's alone and catch her on the way to the bathroom.

"Hey, Relena," I say cheerfully. She turns around.

"Oh, hi," she says feebly.

"Hey, um, congratulations on Prom Queen," I say lamely. Couldn't I come up with anything better than that?!

"Thanks," she says with a polite smile.

"So, Heero didn't show up for graduation, huh?" I ask.

She looks down and bites her bottom lip. "Yeah, it's kind of a relief. It might have been pretty awkward still," she says softly.

"Huh?" I ask, confused.

"Don't you know? God, I thought the entire school knew..." she says, her voice pained. "We broke up two days ago..."

They broke up? How could I not know that?! "I'm sorry to hear that," I say, and I actually mean it. "I'm really sorry, if I had known, I wouldn't have brought it up."

"It's ok..." she says. "He said it was for the best... and everyone agrees..." She is starting to choke up and get teary eyed. I am reminded how unstable a girl two days out of a long relationship is, which is probably why she's confiding in me like this. I feel bad for her. I bet I'm the only one who does, and that pisses me off. I bet everyone else is glad they broke up. I wonder if she's gotten any real sympathy at all.

A big tear spills down her cheek. She quickly wipes it away and looks down again. "And I know he's right," she says firmly, but falters again, "but it's still so hard for me..." After a moment, she looks up at me again, her eyes urgent. "He really isn't like what everyone thinks he is!" she tries to tell me. I bet she's worried about him.

I give her a sad smile. "I know," I tell her. I hope she knows I'm telling the truth, and I'm not just bull-shitting her like everyone else. "You know, I'm sure you had a positive impact on his life. You've been important to him, but now it's time for you both to move on," I say sagely.

She blinks at me, wondering how I could possibly know something like that. But she seems to take a certain amount of solace from it. "Thank you," she says fragilely, "You've been very kind..." She still looks at me in wonder like I'm some kind of psychic.

"Look, I'm sorry to have brought it up. Try and have some fun tonight, ok?" I say. I hate to leave her like this but my friends are waiting.

"I will," she promises.

We say good-bye and I dash off to find my friends.

on to the epilogue

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