Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing or the characters of the series.  Bandai/Sunrise/Sotsu have that privilege.  I am not making _any_ money from this.  This story is for entertainment purposes only.  I doubt it will even entertain. Please do not sue me, for I am but a poor, unemployed college student. Haha! I'm in college!

Pairings: 1+R, 1x2
Category: Romance, Angst, Humor
Rating: R for language and sexual content
Warnings: Language, humor, angst, shounen ai, het, implied citrus
Feedback: Appreciated.  C&C are always nice.  Flamers will be harshly mocked for the incompetent asses that they are.  Thank you.

Author's Notes: This popped into my mind without prompting, though I think I was influenced by some random stand-up comedian's routine. Temptations and Visions are real strip clubs in New Orleans. I know, because I looked it up. I'm nothing if I'm not thorough. Also, Real de Catorce *is* a real place, I didn't make it up. I needed an obscure, remote location, and RdC totally fits the bill for that. It's in the middle of Mexico and was featured in "The Mexican," that very disappointing film with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, just in case you're curious.

Get Me to the Church on Time
Part 1
by KM

Taking one last look at himself in the mirror, Heero adjusted his black bowtie and combed his fingers through his unruly hair in a futile attempt to smooth the chocolate- colored mess. He scowled at his reflection, displeased with how ridiculous he appeared, and he was sorely tempted to stay in the small dressing room, but an impatient knock at the door encouraged him to come out of his hiding place.

"Come on, Heero, don't keep everybody waiting."

At the sound of eagerness in Duo's voice, Heero groaned. //The last thing I want is for *him* to see me in this get-up. I'll never live it down.// Despite his initial reluctance, the Japanese man relented, and he cautiously opened the door, peering out warily at the small group of onlookers before stepping out.

The grin on Duo's already smiling face widened as he got a good look at his friend. "I like the penguin look on you, buddy. It suits you."

Heero narrowed his eyes, but was spared from having to comment as Wufei came to his aid.

"Don't make fun of him, Duo. He's got enough to worry about already without- Ow!" Wufei stopped mid-sentence, startled by the sharp pricking sensation in his backside. Glaring at the tailor, he growled, "Watch where you stick those pins, old man!"

The elderly tailor sighed heavily and shrugged his shoulders. "I'm sorry, but unless you want to wear padded underwear, I've got to take in the seat of these trousers, so don't blame me if you get stuck a few times." Ignoring the Chinese man's outraged sputtering, he returned to work.

As Wufei fumed, Duo howled. "Did you hear that, Fei? The man said you have no ass!" Barely able to contain his laughter, the long-haired American clutched at his sides, but a snide comment from Heero quickly caused his merriment to cease.

"Didn't he also say something about your 'womanish waist'? I think those are the words he used."

It was Duo's turn to sputter, and he turned crimson as the others laughed at his plight.

"I do *not* have a girly figure. It's just that I _happen_ to have a slightly narrower waist than the rest of you. There's nothing wrong with that." Unfortunately, his excuses did not stop the other five from laughing. "It's not funny, guys! I'm still a man, dammit!"

"He just thinks you look like a woman," chuckled Zechs from across the room, hiding his smirk behind his newspaper. "It's nothing to be ashamed of."

Duo remained unamused. "I appreciate the sympathy, Zechs. Now, remind me again why you aren't over here getting fitted for one of these monkey suits along with the rest of us. You're in the wedding party, too."

Shifting in the large armchair he'd commandeered from the tailor's assistant, Zechs uncrossed his long legs and calmly answered his flustered colleague. "Well, as I am older and more civilized than the rest of you, I already have my own tuxedo."

"Quatre already has one, too, but you don't see him sitting out. 'Older and more civilized,' my ass," retorted Duo hotly. "You're just going to wear the tux from your own wedding. Sounds more like lazy to me."

"Say what you will," muttered Zechs, waving a hand at Duo. "I'm just happy not to be in Wufei's current position."

The aforementioned Chinese man merely shook his head. "Consider yourself lucky, Zechs. This is almost more than I can bear."

Just as those words left Wufei's mouth, the old tailor stepped back and looked at his work. "All right, young man, you can step down now. I've done all that I can do."

Finally finished with his torture, Wufei nearly jumped off of the raised pedestal he'd been forced to stand on, clearly relieved.

Heero looked around and realized that everyone else had already been fitted. Not at all happy with the prospect of being poked and prodded with sharp pins, he reluctantly walked over to the tailor and stepped onto the pedestal. "It looks like I'm the only one left. Might as well get this over with."

While Heero was being fitted, he looked down at his longtime friends, suddenly feeling very nostalgic. //Ten years... I can't believe I've known them that long.//

The teenagers that had been thrown together to fight two terrible wars had changed a great deal in the ten years since, growing into six very different men, but they still remained friends despite time and the distance that separated them.

Seeming to sense his friend's mood, Duo looked up at Heero and gave him a big smile. "I still can't believe it. After all this time, our little Heero's finally getting married."

Blushing, Heero's lips curled into a slight smile. "Yeah, yeah. I don't need to be reminded."

Not looking up from his newspaper, Zechs asked, "I hope that doesn't mean that you're not happy about marrying my little sister." His rather intimidating tone indicated that Heero would have to come up with some way to appease him. Fast.

"Not at all," replied Heero quickly, not wanting to get on his future brother in-law's bad side. "I'm very happy about it."

The tall blonde man nodded his head in approval, and Heero breathed an internal sigh of relief. He and Zechs were normally on good terms, but ever since Heero and Relena had announced their engagement, Zechs had become increasingly aloof, sometimes even hostile toward his sister's fiancé. Heero wasn't really _afraid_ of Zechs, but he didn't want to have a poor relationship with the only family his future wife had, so he did his best to keep Relena happy, thereby keeping Zechs in a good mood.

Quatre, sensing the tension between the soon-to-be in-laws, brought up a lighter topic. "So, Heero, where are you and Relena going for your honeymoon?"

Glad for the subject change, Heero smiled. "Hawaii. Neither of us has been before, so she's really looking forward to it."

"I've been there once, on assignment," commented Trowa. "It's very nice. Great beaches. You'll enjoy it."

Duo, however, was not as enthusiastic. "Hawaii's been done. When I get married, I'm taking my wife somewhere much more exciting."

Wufei snorted. "'When you get married?' Ha! That'll be the day."

"I pity the poor girl who falls for your charms," remarked Zechs dryly from across the room.

Just as Duo took in a big breath, obviously preparing to bless out his tormenters, Heero broke into the conversation, preventing his friend's outburst.

"Since Hawaii is too boring for you, where would you take this imaginary wife of yours?"

The braided man threw a smile at Heero as thanks for his intervention. "Like I said, somewhere exciting."

Quatre raised an eyebrow. "For example...?"

"For example... Maybe scuba diving in Australia to see the sharks, or skiing in the Alps, or on a cruise around the world, something like that. Something active and adventurous, you know?" He looked around, hoping his friends would understand. At times the others could not quite grasp his concept of fun and excitement.

To his surprise, he saw Wufei nodding approvingly. "That does sound interesting. For a moment, I thought you were going to suggest just renting a motel room and screwing her brains out. I guess I underestimated you," he admitted seriously, but as the others laughed, he couldn't keep a straight face and soon chuckled along with them.

"Hey," snickered Duo mischievously, "who says I have to wait for the honeymoon?"

Trowa just shook his head. "This coming from the one who was trained to be a priest."

Duo raised his hands in mute apology. "What can I say? I'm a man. Men have needs." Grinning up at the soon-to-be groom, he grinned. "Isn't that right, Heero?"

Heero smirked knowingly in agreement, but when he saw the barely contained fury in Zechs's eyes from across the room, he blanched white.



At lunch the same day, the groom-elect and his groomsmen sat around a table catching up and reminiscing about fond memories in their shared past.

"And what did Sally say about it?"

"Well," answered Wufei hesitantly, "she said that all my stuff would be waiting for me in the street if it ever happened again."

Quatre laughed. "And has it?"

The Chinese man looked indignant. "Of course not! I bought a calendar the next day, and every anniversary and birthday has been duly celebrated ever since. I made sure of that."

Waggling a finger at Wufei, Duo grinned. "Man, you are so whipped. You're not even married to the woman, and she's already got you on a chain. Pretty soon you're gonna have to ask permission to go to the bathroom. You know that, right?"

"I will not! I'm not a--"

"Woof! Woof!" barked the chuckling American, reveling in teasing his friend. "C'mon, buddy, bark for us! You need to practice."

Trowa sat watching the two argue with amusement, but decided to stand up for Wufei, who was turning quite red in the face from Duo's teasing. "Well, Duo, at least Wufei has a steady relationship."

Duo's mouth promptly snapped shut, and a blush crept up his cheeks as a chorus of hushed "Ooo's" sounded around the table.

Glad to have the attention off of himself, Wufei prodded further. "He's right. Consider it: Zechs has been married for several years, Heero will be in a little over two weeks, Sally and I have been together for a long time, and Trowa and Quatre both work all the time, so they don't really have time for dating, but _you_ have tons of free time." He settled back in his chair looking very pleased with himself. "It seems an explanation is in order."

When Duo remained silent, Wufei wondered if he'd pushed the other man too far, but just as he was about to apologize, Duo finally spoke up.

"It's not that I don't try," he started off with a shrug. "I date and everything, but I just haven't found the right one yet, I guess. And I move around a lot, so that makes things more difficult." He smiled with effort. "Girls say they want to travel all over the world, but it's really not the most practical thing. So I'm living the single life until I decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. It's not too bad, really," he reassured his friends unconvincingly. "And it's not like I don't get girls. They just don't stick around very long."

Sympathy shining in his large blue eyes, Quatre tried to boost his friend's confidence. "It's okay, Duo, I'm sure you'll find your soul mate one day. If you'd like, I can set you up with one of the girls at the office. Most of them are single and very attractive, so--"

"So why don't *you* date them?" asked Heero around a mouthful of chicken, for which he was given a disapproving glare from Zechs.

Quatre blushed. "It wouldn't be professional of me to date an employee. So, what do you think? Just say the word and I'll get you a date."

Duo shook his head. "Thanks, but no thanks. You don't have to set me up with one of your secretaries."

"Well, what about one of my--"

"Quatre," Duo said sternly, "you remember what happened the _last_ time you hooked me up with one of your sisters?" At the grimace that formed on Quatre's face, Duo nodded his head. "That's right. And that was three years ago. She's probably turned the rest of them against me by now. Besides, blondes aren't my type."

Zechs snorted. "Thank God for that. As long as my sister is safe from the likes of you, I can rest easy."

"Hey, man, relax. *I'm* not the one you or Relena needs to worry about. That dubious honor goes to the lucky man sitting to my right." He clapped Heero hard on the back, making him coke on his drink. "C'mon, tell us how happy you are to be getting married to Zechs's precious, one and only little sister. How much does that thrill you?"

Heero, who had seated himself as far away from his future brother-in-law as possible, quashed the temptation to strangle Duo for making such a knowingly stupid comment. Duo was well aware of Zechs's sudden aversion for Heero, as Heero had informed his best friend as soon as he'd noticed it. Obviously, Duo simply enjoyed seeing the poor Japanese man squirm under the force of Zechs's glare.

"Well," he pondered aloud, "what can I really say that hasn't been said about Relena? She's beautiful, intelligent, energetic; everything a man could ever want or could ever dream of. She's been such an important part of my life for so long, I can't imagine living without her being there. I don't know why she picked me when she could have had anyone--" He paused when Zechs muttered something that sounded suspiciously like, "That's what I'm wondering," but went on as calmly as he could. "I don't know why she decided to spend her life with me, but I feel like the luckiest man on Earth, I really do."

The table was silent for a moment, and Heero scanned the faces of his friends for their reactions. Both Wufei and Trowa seemed pleased and Quatre looked as if he would burst into applause at any moment, but Duo sat snickering beside him and Zechs appeared anything but impressed.

"That was really something, Heero. Very nice," Duo commended insincerely, barely containing his laughter. "I mean, that was so good, it makes me wonder what kind of things you'll say about her in your speech at the reception." He grinned evilly and winked at Heero, almost daring him to attack.

//God damn it, Duo! You know that was part of my speech; you helped me write it! Now I have to write something else. I am definitely going to kill you after the wedding.//

Doing his best to prevent his internal frustration from showing on his face, Heero smiled back at his irritating friend. "Oh, I'll have lots to say, so I hope you can make it to the reception; it would be a shame if you couldn't attend."

The thinly veiled threat was not lost on Duo, and his grin slowly faded away. "Yeah, I'd really hate to miss it." Clearing his throat, he nervously waved to the waiter across the room.

"Check, please."


"I could have killed you at lunch Saturday."

Duo laughed, his heart-shaped face filling Heero's vid-screen. "I know, but I couldn't resist. I love it when Zechs gives you those lovely death looks."

Heero shook his head. "Like he wants to take a beam saber and shove it up my ass?"

"Nah, I was thinking the ones where he wants to stomp on you with a mobile suit and dance on your grave afterward."

"Ah, those. I've gotten those a lot in the past few weeks." Heero sighed and rested his elbows on his desk. "It's getting worse as time goes by. I might have to start sleeping with one eye open to make sure he doesn't try to kill me in my sleep. Otherwise, I may not make it to the wedding."

Ever sympathetic, Duo tried to cheer up his friend. "Well, if that happens, I'll do my best to comfort Relena in her time of grief. I will be her shoulder to lean on, and, if it comes down to it, I'm perfectly willing to lend her my body--"

"DUO!" exclaimed Heero, not wanting to hear his best friend lusting after his fiancée. "I already have to worry about Zechs putting a pillow over my face in the middle of the night, so having to keep tabs on my own best man to prevent him from running away with my wife is the last thing I need right now."

"Heero, calm down," placated the jovial American. "I'm just kidding. You know I wouldn't dream of sleeping with Relena, if only because I don't want Zechs hounding my ass like he does with you." Duo looked at his friend sadly. "Damn. You really need to relax. All this wedding shit is driving you crazy. I'm your best friend. I can tell."

The frazzled groom-to-be dropped his head. "I don't know why all this is getting to me. They say that the brides are the ones with all the worries, but... This is so much more than I expected."

"Well, buddy, you are in luck, because have I got an offer you can't refuse," beamed Duo wickedly. "Seriously, you can't refuse; I've already made arrangements for your flight, so if you shaft me, you're gonna have to reimburse me, too."

Heero was understandably wary of Duo's proposed offer, and he raised an eyebrow in question. "I'm scared to ask what you've got planned."

"Don't worry about asking, because I'm not going to tell you much. But let's just say that you really need to let loose, you know, go a little wild before they set you up with the ball and chain."

"Duo," Heero warned, "I already told you that I didn't want a bachelor party."

His violet eyes twinkled as he tried to assuage Heero's fears. "It's not a bachelor party. It's an outing of two good-looking guys that happen to be single, at least for the time being."


Duo shrugged. "Yeah. I invited the others, but they all said something about jobs and having to work and blah, blah, blah, so it's just going to be you and me. See, that's the great thing about being self-employed. I get all the vacation time I want."

Heero smiled at his friend's good humor. "Okay, say I take you up on your offer. Where are we going?"

"That, my friend, is a surprise."

Rolling his eyes, the dark-haired man questioned Duo further, hoping to gather some information. "When would this bachelor outing take place?"

"Ah, a question I can answer. I've got you on a nine o'clock flight Friday morning--"

"I think you're forgetting that I have to work," interrupted Heero, somewhat amazed that Duo would be so careless to forget about his job at Preventers.

Ready with an answer, Duo held up his hands. "I have already cleared this with the higher-ups, so you are totally free for the weekend. Anyway, it's something like a nine-hour flight, so bring something to read or better yet, get some sleep, because I want you fully rested by the time I pick you up." He gave his friend and evil grin. "We are gonna be partying _all_ night, so you need to be prepared."

Shaking his head in disbelief, Heero laughed. "I can't believe I'm actually agreeing to this."

"Hey, I don't blame you. Partying with me is a truly unbelievable experience."


After a long, uneventful flight from Brussels, Heero was greeted at the airport by a smiling Duo, casually dressed in khaki shorts and a t-shirt.

"Hey, man! Welcome to New Orleans!"

Since Heero only packed carry-on luggage, the two were free to leave immediately. During the long walk from the airport terminal to Duo's car, the conversation was sparse and Duo made sure not to give away his surprise.

"So how was your flight?" he asked, casually glancing at Heero as they walked.

Heero shrugged. "Not too bad. I slept most of the way."

Duo nodded, and a comfortable silence stretched between them, broken only by the sound of birds chirping and their own footsteps.

After a while, Heero spoke up again. "So why are you here? What's going on in New Orleans that requires your attention?" As a one-man watchdog group, Duo did free-lance work for the government, traveling around the globe to ensure that the worldwide disarmament program that had been instituted shortly after the Mariemaia incident was on track.

"Oh, not a whole lot. The administration at the old base here has been dragging their heels about getting rid of their supply of ballistic missiles. Just a bunch of old farts that can't come to grips with the new reality." Stretching his arms over his head, he smiled. "I've been showing up at the base unannounced, poking around where I'm not wanted, and pretty much putting the fear of God into the bastards. It's a lot of fun to see them squirm when I threaten to have their funding cut off. They really scramble to kiss my ass after I tell them that."

"Isn't that a little risky, though?" asked Heero with concern. "Aren't you worried that you'll piss off the wrong person?"

Placing his hand over his heart, Duo sniffled. "You're worried about me. I'm touched. But remember, I've been pissing people off my entire life, and I haven't been killed off yet."

"But, Duo--"

"'But' nothing. You and I both know that I can handle myself, and if it makes you feel any better, I always carry my piece when I'm on an inspection, and I'm always very careful. Besides," he added, elbowing Heero in the ribs, "it's no more dangerous than your work at Preventers. I'm surprised Relena didn't make you quit after what happened to Wufei."

Four years prior, Wufei had been seriously wounded while on an assignment for Preventers. After a lengthy hospital stay and after much coaxing from Sally and his friends, he took an administrative position at the agency and only rarely participated in field operations, unlike Heero and Trowa, who, despite their senior status, routinely took part in the missions they oversaw.

"Oh, she's begged me to quit," replied Heero as they finally found Duo's big black SUV, a hulking and imposing figure amongst the sedans and compact cars that surrounded it. "I've even considered resigning, especially after Wufei got hurt, but I really like the work. It would almost be fun if it weren't for all the paperwork." Tossing his duffel bag into the back seat, he asked a question that had been on his mind for a long time. "Duo, why don't you come work with Preventers?"

Duo smiled as he hopped into his vehicle. "Eh, I've thought about it before, and I still think about it every now and then, but I think I've had my fill of dodging bullets and other projectiles. What makes you ask?" He leaned over to his friend and grinned. "Do you miss me?"

Strapping on his seatbelt, Heero gave his friend a mock glare. "Not that you deserve it, but yes, I do miss you. I miss working with you. It's hard not seeing my best friend for weeks or months at a time. As much as I hate to say it, you're a pretty fun guy to hang out with, and it's a shame we can't see each other more often."

Choking back a feigned sob, Duo cried, "Oh, Heero. I'm so glad to hear you say such kind words. I miss you, too!" He looked at his friend with shimmering eyes. "Who wants a hug?"

"Duo, I'm warning you..." Heero threatened dangerously, inching away as Duo came closer, but he found himself trapped by his own seatbelt. //Damn my safety consciousness!//

"Come here you big lug!"

"Ack! Get away from me! I take back everything nice I ever said about you! Get off! Get off!"


[Later scene: After their rental car has broken down, quite literally in the middle of nowhere, Heero and Duo sit lost in their own thoughts as nightfall descends.]

"So what are you thinking about?" Duo asked tiredly as he stared down the seemingly endless road through the dusty windshield.

Heero shifted uncomfortably in his seat, the vinyl squeaking with his movement. "What do you think I'm thinking about?"

With an exasperated sigh, Duo turned to look at his troubled friend. "Why do you keep brooding about that? It was an accident, and neither of us remembers anything, so you shouldn't let it get to you like that."

"I can't help myself," replied Heero, shaking his head frustratedly. "There has to be a reason it happened."

"Of course there's a reason," said Duo. "We were together and we were really wasted. That's reason enough, don't you think?"

"It has to be more than that," Heero argued, raising his voice slightly. "I don't think the outcome would have been the same if I had been with someone else."

An expression of understanding dawned on Duo's face. "Oh, I see. You think there's still some underlying attraction between you and me." He shook his head slightly, if not a little sadly. "Heero, that was a long time ago. We were just kids."

Heero sat back in his seat, his brows furrowed in deep thought. "Were you in love with me? Back then, I mean."

This completely unexpected question threw Duo for a loop, and he had to recollect his thoughts before answering. "I think so," he answered slowly, concentrating on the gearshift instead of looking at Heero. "Probably, yes. I didn't know it at the time, but in hindsight I can see it." He chuckled softly. "You really broke my heart when you left once the war was over. I was a wreck; I'm glad you didn't see me like that, it would have been really embarrassing. It took me so long to convince myself that I was probably better off without you, and then you showed up again, and I had to work with you again, and..." He stopped, obviously wishing to choose his next words carefully. "Let's just say it was a difficult adjustment to make. Especially when you and Relena... I wasn't too thrilled with that at first, but that was years ago. I'm better now," he finished with a smile.

Heero looked over at his friend, troubled by Duo's words. "You never told me about any of that. I didn't mean to hurt you."

"I don't think it would've helped if I had told you. And I know you didn't hurt me intentionally. Besides, it's all in the past, so-"

"Are you still in love with me?"

Stunned once again, Duo recoiled. "What?"

Instead of answering, Heero asked another strange question. "Is that the real reason why you won't work with Preventers? Because you don't want to have to face me every day?"


"Please," pleaded the Japanese man, giving Duo an imploring look, "don't lie to me. I need to know the truth."

Duo stared at Heero for a long, tense moment before he turned away, muttered a quiet "I'm sorry," and got out of the car. Heero watched him as he headed further down the desolate dirt road, his body a dark silhouette against the intense reds and oranges of the late afternoon sky.

As Duo began to fade away into the dusky sunset, Heero decided that some action needed to be taken, and he got out of the car in pursuit of his friend. He began walking at a brisk pace, but a sudden sense of urgency overtook him, and he found himself running into the growing dark.

He ran for what seemed to be an eternity until he could make out Duo's shape once again. Slowing his gait, he noticed that Duo had stopped walking and was standing with his back to Heero in the middle of the roadway. Heero carefully walked up to Duo, not sure if the other man would try to flee again.

"You haven't answered my question."

"Isn't it obvious that I'm trying to avoid it?"

Heero took a step closer, placing his hand gently onto Duo's shoulder. The American flinched at the other's touch, but he didn't pull away, so Heero took that as a good sign and turned Duo around to face him. As he had expected, Duo refused to meet his eyes, instead preferring to keep his gaze on the sandy ground. It didn't seem that he had been crying, but his breath came in shaky gasps, and it was obvious to Heero that he was having a difficult time keeping himself together.

"Please just tell me the truth," Heero begged once more. "I want to know. It's important to me."

Duo inhaled a few more shuddering breaths before answering, his voice a near whisper. "You know, I've been trying so hard to be happy for you these past few years. I really have. I mean, it was so hard when you came back and I realized that I still..." He stopped, biting his lower lip to keep the tears at bay. "And then Relena just kind of attached herself to you, only you didn't brush her off like you used to, and then you said you were getting married and would I be your best man, and now here I am, going crazy because I'm in your wedding and I'm seeing how happy you are and it's about to kill me because yes, I am still in love with you after ten years and after you left me behind and after you decided that you really loved Relena instead of me and GOD DAMMIT why is this happening?!" he finished in a desperate scream, tears springing forth at last.

to be continued

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