disclaimer: they own me. not the other way around.

pairing: 1+2+1
rating: suitable for everyone
warnings: a hint of shounen-ai
spoilers: yes
notes: i am only taking partial responsibility for this... the rest belongs to granate. she's a bad influence on me. this is #2 of a collection of canon based fics i'll probably scribble one day. the first number in the title denotes the episode it takes place during and the second is meant to delineate it from other fics i may or may not write based on that specific episode.

summary: heero is ill-equipped for his current mission. fortunately, he has a room mate.

9.1 the predicament
by jana

Heero was not used to being unprepared.

The delay they had encountered in carrying out their current mission was unavoidable and one that left Heero with no choice but to improvise. He frowned, turning from his desk to glance across the room. Duo was still not back from whatever it was he was doing. Heero had gone immediately back to their shared room after his last class, having not questioned the other pilot about his deviation. There was a good chance that Duo would tell him what he'd been up to whether Heero wanted to know or not. Experience had taught him that.

They had enrolled together two weeks ago. It was a fitting way to hide, posing as students, but they had been here far longer than Heero had anticipated and even longer than he felt comfortable with.

Heero looked toward the door and then down at his watch. 17:35, nearly an hour left before the dining hall closed. Duo would surely be back before then. That thought gave rise to the urgency of the matter. The remaining option would have him prowling around in the dark. He acknowledged that Duo's survival instincts were nearly as sharp as his own and that particular idea carried more risk than Heero was willing to chance.

With a sigh of resignation, he pushed back from the desk, allowing the chair to roll away just far enough so that he could come to his feet. He wasn't proud of what he was about to do, but the situation offered him little alternative.

Walking to the opposite side of the room, he crouched down in the corner next to Duo's dresser where the other boy kept his duffle and unzipped it. It wasn't nearly full and Heero looked around, noticing a rather large pile of clothing on the floor next to the closet. Appeared that laundry day wasn't far off. Turning his attention back to Duo's black cloth bag, Heero peered inside, pushing aside the contents, until he found what he was looking for. He stood, taking several steps toward his side of the room, when he heard the distinct click of a door opening.

"Hey, Heero." Duo said as he stepped into the room.

Heero stiffened, nodding to Duo and continued walking, tightly gripping the thefted garment he was concealing behind his back.

"Whatcha got there?" Duo asked.

Heero paused, silently cursing Duo's timing as well as his keen observatory skills. He'd been caught, and the truth, though he loath to tell it, appeared to be his only out. He brought his hands forward, holding them waist high and opening them to Duo's inspection. The other boy's eyes widened significantly when he saw what Heero held.

"Are those my... they are!" Duo said with fitting amazement.

Heero nodded, transferring the item into his left hand and lowering his arms to his sides.

"You want to explain what you're doing with a pair of my underwear?"

Heero didn't want to, though he did understand why the other pilot felt the need to demand such a thing.

"Well?" Duo asked impatiently when he offered nothing.

"We begin basketball in Health and Fitness Class tomorrow."

"Yeah... and so?"

"I don't have any underwear."

Duo laughed, and Heero frowned, clenching his fists. Leave it to Duo to find the circumstances amusing.

"First my Gundam parts and now my underwear." Duo said with a grin, "I think you got a problem here, buddy. At least this time you stuck around long enough to get caught."

Heero had not made the connection, although he could see how Duo had. Stealing the parts from Deathscythe had been absolutely necessary, while this was just...

"Those shorts are... loose. I anticipate we will be doing a lot of running and jumping." Heero explained. That should have been sufficient detail. Duo would be able to figure the rest out on his own.

Duo's lips curved upward, spreading wider across his face until his grin was as wide as Heero could ever recall seeing it.

"Look," Duo said, walking toward his side of the room, "I have to do laundry tonight. You could do yours too. Hopefully we'll be out of here in a few days. Might as well take advantage of the amenities while we can. Whadda ya say?"

That made sense to Heero and he nodded somewhat absently. He had to admit that it sounded like the perfect solution. He paused, thinking of how he was going to explain to Duo that it wasn't really a solution at all. This was not a conversation Heero wanted to be having. Duo, on the other hand, seemed to have having way too much fun with it.

"You do not understand," Heero said rather testily. "I do not HAVE any underwear. Clean OR dirty."

The expression on Duo's face changed rather rapidly from amused to what Heero thought might have been was surprise, or perhaps it was embarrassment.

"Well, what do you... never mind," Duo said, "I don't wanna know."

Heero felt the need to illuminate, unsure of what exactly was compelling him. Discussing his personal habits wasn't something Heero was used to. "Spandex doesn't necessitate wearing... anything underneath it," he began, grateful when Duo interrupted him.

"Really, Heero. You don't need to explain it to me. You like going commando." Duo said with a shrug of his shoulders, "That's none of my business."

It wasn't, Heero acknowledged. It was pertinent, however, that Duo understand why he now required them. "Those gym shorts are flimsy and baggy," Heero informed his partner.

"I get the picture, Heero." Duo said, holding up a hand.

Heero got the sense Duo did and chose to end the conversation before it got any more uncomfortable for either one of them. "So it is okay if I borrow them?"

"Not my last pair, is it?"

Heero shook his head.

"Sure. Next time just ask. Okay?"

"Thank you." Heero said, though he didn't suppose there would be a next time. He dropped the white briefs onto his bed and turned toward Duo. "Ready for dinner?"

Duo nodded, and followed Heero across the room. He would miss this pane of normalcy and the time he got to spend in Heero's company. He closed the door behind them and turned back to lock it. Heero was several paces in front of him and Duo did not rush to catch up. The hall was empty and the scenery was first-rate.

He certainly wasn't going to miss the blue uniform pants.


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