Disclaimer: Not mine!! There, I admitted it! Beeddaaa!~ :P~

This is the first fic in the Memories Arc
Pairing: 1x2x1
Feedback? Yes please!
Archive? Ask me first and I'll say yes.
Warnings: Duo POV, hate, teenage angst, over-protective brother syndrome (OPS), evil 1990s fashion, wild bunny sex of the yaoi kind (but not really)

Notes: Well, people asked for a continuation of the "Perfect" timeline, people asked for an explanation as to why Duo and Heero hated each other, people asked for more fic in general. People, ask and you shall receive.

ExtraNote: I think I edited all the this time, but I don't have a beta so I'm not sure.
This takes place nine years before Perfect.

Mud-spattered Kisses
by Tanith

"Hi, I'm Relena Dorlian-Peacecraft," a cheerful voice said and a hand appeared in front of my face. I blinked, slowly coming out of the daze I had fallen under as I stared up at the slowly darkening sky and waited for my new tutor. I looked at the hand dumbly for a moment before I realized that she probably wanted me to shake it. I'd never understood that kind of greeting. Really, what did anyone gain by pressing palms and moving arms up and down? I humored her anyway, grasping her hand solidly and letting a charming smile creep over my lips as I shook it.

"Duo Maxwell," I replied and finally dragged my eyes up to hers. They were pretty eyes, of that there was no doubt; wide and innocent and one of the brightest blues I'd ever seen. They started to gain a slightly panicked edge. I looked down at where I was still shaking her hand. Oh. I dropped her hand, my expression turning sheepish. I'd been like this all day; dazed, unfocused, absent-minded. I couldn't seem to concentrate on anything, my willful mind always wandering back to the situation I really didn't want to think about.

"So, I was told you need help in German...did you bring your books?" the girl -- Relena, my mind reminded me -- was saying. Her lips were pretty too; plump and soft looking and a shade of pink that had to be natural, even with the sheen of gloss that covered them. They parted as she breathed in, waiting patiently for a reply.

My mother, if she could be called that, had disappeared again. I should have been used to it, I really should have been. She made a habit of disappearing every other month or so. But she'd been gone for a long time this time, a very long time since I hadn't seen her in about two months. I don't know why I was worried. She had made it obvious from day one that she didn't care about me, that she'd only married my father because of me. That, at least, I couldn't blame her for. I wouldn't have married my father either, disgusting drunk that he was. It was a wonder I'd managed to live this long, what with my mother's inattentiveness and my father's constant stupor. Yet here I was, the ripe old age of sixteen, getting tutored for my German class because I needed to pass it if I wanted to get a scholarship for college. Wait...tutor... Oh.

I shook away my thoughts in time to hear the girl ask, "Duo? Are you alright?" Her pretty face was twisted in a look of half-concern, half-confusion. How long had I been spaced out? Five minutes? Ten? Two months? No...

"Yeah, I'm sorry," I apologized, working hard to make my voice sound cheerful. "I'm just a little distracted today. What were you saying..?"

"Your books," Relena -- that name really didn't suit her -- prompted, her pink lips curving into a hesitantly understanding smile.

"Right! Right..." I trailed off, looking down at my feet. Books... "Oh! Right, in the bag," I looked up and grinned, wondering if the grin made me look as stupid as Relena -- really she was more of a 'Lena' -- no doubt thought I was. I bent a lifted my backpack, huffing slightly at the weight. "Did you want to stay here to study or go somewhere else?"

We were standing in the middle of Gregory, North Carolina's largest park and when I finally made myself look at the whole girl, not just her pretty eyes and pretty lips, I couldn't help but wonder if she was cold. She was wearing a knee-length skort in the same shade of pink as her lips.[1] A skin tight white shirt with sleeves that only reached her elbows was tucked into the skort's waistband and other than the prim white socks that barely covered her ankles before they disappeared into cute Mary Janes she wasn't wearing anything to keep her warm against the chill that had come when winter had started to set in.

"Actually, she's not going anywhere with you," a cold voice answered for her and my gaze flew back up, landing on the boy that had walked silently up behind Relena. Relena jumped, startled and turned to look at the newcomer, her gaze darkening slightly.

"Heero, don't be rude," she admonished softly and the boy cast her a brief look before focusing back on me. He was, in a word, gorgeous. Or he would have been if he hadn't been looking at me as if I was some sort of slimy bug that needed to be squashed. He had the darkest blue eyes I've ever seen, even darker for the fact that they had a death-sentence, my death-sentence, obviously lurking in them. Wild brown hair fell over his forehead and his skin had a natural bronze tint to it. Yes, definitely gorgeous.

I may have thought Relena was pretty but she really wasn't my type, being female and all. I was gay and I made no effort to hide it. Yet, I knew as Heero looked over me with that threatening gaze, taking in my baggy jeans -- his gaze lingering where the knees were ripped and shredding -- and my black Metallica shirt, that he didn't realize I'd much rather compromise his virginity than his girlfriend's. And she was obviously his girlfriend, if my very presence warranted that look. Which meant he was straight and therefore off-limits even if he hadn't hated me on sight. Damn.

"We should go, 'Lena," Heero said in that same ice-cold tone and I watched as Relena chewed nervously on her lower lip, her eyes traveling from me to Heero and back again. I decided that no matter how hot he was I was going to hate him as much as he did me. No one talks to their girlfriend like that and stays on Duo Maxwell's good side.

"Heero, I'm supposed to be --"

"Hey, don't sweat it, Lovely," I finally determined that Lovely suited her much better than Relena or 'Lena combined. I gloated at the way Heero's expression darkened considerably. "You've got my number, right? Call me next time you have a free afternoon, 'kay? We'll pick this up then." My words could be taken so many different ways if given to an overactive imagination or a jealous boyfriend. I knew that, reveled in it even.

"Okay," Relena said a little uncertainly but I was already walking away. I didn't turn around when I heard Relena start to rip into her boyfriend but I caught a few random words as the distance grew. "Such a jerk" and "his tutor" being among them. I smirked and cheered her on as I stuffed my hands into my deep pockets and left the park, boots thudding heavily on the sidewalk with every step.


"Guten Morgen, Klasse!"

"Hallo, Frau Peters,"
the class replied as one like little drones, programmed for the correct response. I refused to add my voice to them.

"Jetzt... Gesetzt alles weg. Keine Bücher, keine Hefte. Ihr habt einen Test heute!"

I sunk into my seat when groans started to fill the classroom, positive that the teacher was a sadist. She had to have been. Her voice was far too cheerful, perky even, at seven o'clock in the morning every day, but the tone she used when she told us to put everything away so we could take a test was absolutely gleeful. She stood away from her desk, waving a great big stack of test packets in one hand enthusiastically and literally bounced around the room, plopping one on every desk as she went.

Pausing in front of my desk she stared down at me for a moment with a small smile. "I hope you pass this one, Herr Maxwell...? she said, not unkindly. She really wasn't a bad woman...just inhumanly hyper. I nodded a little half-heartedly and opened the test packet. If I failed this time, it wouldn't be because I didn't know the material. Relena and I had been studying together for two weeks now and she was coming to be the best friend I've ever had, despite her boyfriend's obvious disapproval. After the first day Heero hadn't been verbally against me, probably because of the argument he and Relena had in the park. Relena could be a vicious lady when she set her mind on something. Lawyer blood definitely streamed through her veins.

Her father was the infamous Jack Dorlian-Peacecraft, prosecuting attorney of the illustrious Dorlian-Peacecraft law firm. The firm had first been established fifty years ago by Relena's grandfathers, Henry Dorlian and Nathan Peacecraft respectively. Dorlian's son had married Peacecraft's daughter and Relena had resulted from that union. Jack already had one leg in the judge's bench at 42 and it was obvious even now that Relena would follow closely in her father's footsteps.

I breezed through the test and the rest of the day passed in a bored daze. Really, if they wanted you to learn something, they should at least make it interesting. But no, it seemed that all of my teachers except for Frau Peters had speaking in monotones down to an art form. When the bell rang at the end of seventh period I practically sprang from my seat and ran to the door. It didn't strike me as ironic that I was actually excited to be going home until I got there.

It was raining outside, but I didn't care. I loved the feel of the cold drops pelting down on me as I walked home, there was just something so refreshing about it. The hair that wasn't held back in a thick rope of a braid was clinging to my face in soaked curls, just like my clothes were stuck lovingly to the admittedly narrow planes of my body by the time I had reached the small apartment I shared with my father. And Mom when she's actually here, I thought, not a little bitterly. She still hadn't come back.

"It's about time you got home, boy," my father's slightly slurred voice broke through my good mood as soon as I'd opened and closed the front door. His name was Bill Maxwell and it was safe to say I hated him. My shoulders stiffened but I didn't turn toward him, taking the time to bend and unlace my boots so I wouldn't track mud all over the house that I had to clean. "Out with your little fag friends, playing in the mud?" he snorted then belched loudly.

"Believe it or not, I was at school," I replied dully, good mood completely vanished, and turned around to face the fat old slob sitting in the Lazy Boy across from the TV.

"Don't know why you bother," he scratched his belly through the thin and sweaty t-shirt that barely fit over it and stared that the TV, hardly acknowledging my presence except to scorn me.

"Maybe because I want to get away from you?" I offered, shaking my head and walking into the tiny kitchen to get a glass of water.

"That ain't ever gonna happen, boy. You're a friggin' fairy, what do you ever expect to amount to?"

I leaned against the counter and endeavored not to drop my glass while I drank the slightly rusty liquid. "Nothing more than I've ever wanted to amount to," I replied, after a moment. After sixteen years of living with Bill and four years of living with him while knowing I was gay, I'd become immune to his insults. Or so I liked to tell myself.

"You still want to be a fuckin' teacher, kid? Hah! They'll have your fairy ass in jail for molesting those little boys you'd 'teach' before you could say 'shit stick'," he took a loud swig from his trademark bottle of Red Dog, belched again and swiped wetly at his mouth.

"Listen, Bill, I'm going to my room now --" I started walking toward the cramped room in the back of the apartment, tired of hearing him talk.

"Renee's dead," Bill said almost idly, switching the TV off with an audible click.

"What?" I stopped in my tracks, turning slowly to face him.

His watery, red-laced alcoholic eyes stared back at me with an expression I'd never seen from him before. He was almost... sad. Impossible. "I said the bitch is dead," he half-shouted, slamming his bottle down on the foldable dinner table beside him. "The fucker she left with this time, he was a smart sonuvabitch, did the whore in before she could leech him into bankruptcy."

"How do you know?" my own voice sounded strangely distant. I don't know what was wrong with me; I think might have been in shock.

"Heh, the porkers came and visited," he sneered the word. "Thought they'd let me know. Thought maybe I'd know something. Friggin' idiots. Like I'd kill my wife," he scoffed, turning away from me again. No, you'd just wait until she brought a paycheck home then smack her around a bit.

I walked toward the door, slipping into my boots. I didn't bother to lace them, just opened the door and stepped out. Bill didn't comment; I hadn?t expected him to. I walked aimlessly, the rain driving into me, chilling me to the bone. I didn't flinch when thunder began to rumble loudly above me, I hardly noticed when lightning flashed, my mind was blank. Completely and totally void of thought.

When I finally stopped, my fuzzy brain working enough to take stock of my surroundings, I was in front of Relena's house. If it could be called that. More like a mansion, if you asked me. I don't know how long I'd been standing there when the front door banged open and Relena came running out with an umbrella over her head.

"Duo! What are you doing?! It's pouring," she said, stressing her words in a way she only did when she was worried. I shrugged, but I couldn't form the words to reply. Her hand latched onto my arm and she was tugging me up the walk to her house, dragging me inside; sopping cloths, muddy boots and all. Her parents were obviously away at work.

"Here," she said, leading me across the hardwood floor to a closet. She took out a towel and pushed it forcefully into my hands. I automatically wiped at my arms, but my clothes were beyond help. "Ugh..." she muttered, chewing slightly on her lower lip. "Go into Daddy's office and take off your clothes. I'll go borrow something from his room and we can stick your things in the drier," she rattled off, giving me a push in the direction of the office when I didn't respond.

I did as she said, stripping down to my boxers and balling my clothes up in my hands. I didn't drop them; I didn't want to ruin their perfect wooden floors. By the time Relena came back I was shivering, my teeth clattering as the cold air hit my damp skin. She made a tiny sound in the back of her throat at the sight of me and thrust the dry clothes into my hands, taking the soggy ones and leaving the room hurriedly. She was such a virgin. It was terribly adorable, or would have been if I had bothered to notice at the time.

I slipped mechanically into the clothes she'd handed me -- a navy blue t-shirt that was at least two sizes too big and pants that I couldn't get to stay on my hips, but I didn't think it mattered since the shirt fell to my knees. Her father was not a small man. He was almost full-blooded German. Which explains why Relena is so good with the language, my mind noted inanely.

I stepped out of the room and found Relena waiting in front of the stairs that lead to the bedroom area of the house. She turned when she saw me, climbing the stairs like she expected me to follow. So, I did. I allowed myself to be lead into her bedroom and sat down on her bed. I allowed her to fuss and hover over me as she tried to find out what was wrong. Until -- "Alright, Duo. Explain," she demanded in the tone I'd dubbed her 'lawyer tone'. It was hard to deny her anything when she used that tone. No, you were too busy being worried about the prompt removal of your balls to even think about denying.

I looked up at her, and then looked back down at my lap. "My mother's dead," I said, with a dreaded finality, like just because I'd finally said it out loud it was true.

"Oh..." her pretty blue eyes widened and she sat down on the bed next to me. "Duo, I'm sorry," she offered, wrapping her arms around my shoulders and it was like something inside of me broke.

I buried my face in her neck, my words muffled by her warm flesh. "That's the thing, 'Lena, I'm not. I'm not sorry she's dead," her arms tightened briefly and I think I'd started crying but I wasn't sure. It was like I was completely numb. "I'm not sorry, I can't be. What kind of person does that make me? That I don't feel at least remotely sad that my mother is dead?

"But she was never there, 'Lena, she wasn't really my mother... I didn't know her, but I should feel at least something. God! Am I even human?" Her hand moved soothingly over my back and she was murmuring little soothing words as I sobbed silently against her, babbling my life's story. And what a sorry life it was...

"Obviously you do feel something, Duo," she whispered finally, his hand never ceasing its calming circles. "Otherwise you wouldn't be here. You do feel something, even if it's only anger. Anger is an emotion, too, and sometimes it's the only one that works." We sat like that; the only noises passing between us were our heartbeats and my hitching breaths. Then the door opened.

"?Lena, I'm done fixing your Sega. It should --" Heero. My face lifted from Relena's neck in time to see Heero storming toward us, a murderous expression in his eyes. He grabbed me by the collar of my borrowed shirt and pulled me off of the bed, his fist flying at my face.

"Heero!" Relena shouted as his hand impacted with my cheek, sending my head snapping back sharply on my neck. Then he suddenly dropped me and I landed on my ass with a carpeted thud. I looked up to see Relena holding onto Heero's wrist, her nails biting visibly into his flesh. "What do you think you're doing?!" she shouted and Heero turned shocked blue eyes to her.

"I could ask you the same thing, 'Lena! He was practically --"

"What? He was practically what? What right do you think you have, acting like that, Heero Yuy?"

"I'm your brother!" he roared back at her and I blinked. Whoa, step back... What? Brother?!

"Not by blood and that still gives you absolutely no right what-so-ever to beat my friends up!"

"Damn it, Relena, he was...you were --"

"I was comforting him, his mother just died." Heero's mouth snapped shut audibly and he turned to look at me where I remained sprawled on the floor, most likely just noticing how red my eyes probably were. All I could notice was that my jaw had begun to ache. "I don't understand why you hate him, Heero. I just don't," Relena was saying and I almost snorted. She could be so blind about some things.

I decided to stand then. "I should go," I winced at the hoarse sound of my own voice and avoided looking at Heero as I walked through the doorway. He was staring at me, his eyes tracking my every movement and I could feel it like fire burning into my skin.

"Duo, wait," Relena followed rushed me down the stairs. "You need your clothes, they should be dry by now." I nodded and waited as she disappeared down a hallway, reappearing with my baggy jeans and black T-shirt. I walked back to the office and changed clothes, handing her her father's things when I came out again. I couldn't help but notice that Heero was standing at the top of the stairwell, looking rather lost.

I turned and left the house. It had stopped raining. I still wasn't sorry.


"Duo, are you paying attention?"

I looked up from the German book and looked at Relena with a smirk. "Ja, klar!"

Relena grinned back, "Good, then you'd have heard me when I said that we're through for the day." I blinked. She tilted her head knowingly, "Oh, you didn't? Well, we are. I have to go to dinner with Daddy and one of his associates. Do you need a ride home?" she offered tentatively and I cringed at the thought of her seeing the rats'-nest I lived in.

"Nah, you go on. I'm going to stay here and read for a bit." Here being the school library. She accepted that and picked up her books.

"I'll see you tomorrow, okay?" I nodded and she was gone. I leaned back in the stiffest chair in existence -- I swear, only schools can issue their like -- and thought.

Ever since That Afternoon as my mind had titled it, Heero had been going out of his way to be kind to me. Someone would trip me in the hall and he'd be there to help me up. My books would fall out of my locker and, suddenly, there he was helping me pick them up. It was almost as if he was stalking me. A guy could get used to that, I tell you. But I didn't forgive him yet, even though I understood completely why he had acted that way. I didn't want him to go back to either ignoring my existence or hating me once I did. Foolish? Maybe; but what can I say?

A voice over the intercom announced that the school was locking up for the day and that everyone should leave but I really didn't feel like going home. I didn't want to see Bill; I didn't want to have to look at his filth or the tiny apartment. For one night, I just didn't want to. I was in one of the closeted study rooms in the back of the library. No one would notice if I didn't walk out because they probably didn't know I was still in here. All the lights but a few central ones suddenly extinguished, proving my theory. They'd locked down and I was here for the night, blissfully alone.

Or I thought I was until I heard a loud thud and an equally loud curse in an all-too-familiar voice coming from the main library. I stood quickly, pushing myself away from the desk and opening the door to the study-closet. My hand groped on the wall beside me for where I knew the light switches to be, turning them on with a fumble.

I stared. Widened yet slanted dark-blue eyes stared back from beneath a fall of shaggy brown hair. I blinked.

"Are you stalking me?" I asked incredulously, voicing my thoughts from earlier. Heero's eyebrows drew together in confusion.

"Why would I... No. I was in the bathroom and the intercom obviously doesn't work in there, otherwise I wouldn't be here," he glared up at the offending gray box on the wall.

"Why are you here?" I wondered and he turned his glare to me.

"'Lena was supposed to give me a ride home, I was waiting for her when I had to...go. Obviously she didn't see fit to wait for me."

That didn't sound right. I knew Relena wouldn't forget about him...hm...

"So, why have you been following me around, Heero?" I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned a hip against one of the bookshelves, waiting for him to answer.

He continued to glare. "I judged you wrongly and I didn't know how else to apologize."

"Well...you did overreact, but I can forgive you," I said congenially, finally giving in despite my inner protests.

"Over... Your face was buried in her neck and you were making these...noises! How was I supposed to react?"

I sighed slightly, "I know what you think you saw but I wasn't doing anything like that."

"I know."

"And do you know why?"

"Because your mother..."

"No! Because I'm gay," I shouted, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Well, everyone else in the damn school knew it...


"Gay!" I repeated. "As in, G-A-Y, gay!" He stared blankly at me for a moment and I threw my hands into the hair. "Oh, screw it!" I stalked toward him and grabbed his face, forcing him to stay still as I pressed my lips to his. He didn't move. Which could have been a good thing and could have been a bad thing. My lungs gave out before I could tell and I had to come up for air. He was looking at me with these hooded eyes, dark blue orbs glittering behind his lids. I couldn't tell whether that was an "I'm going to kill you" glitter or a "kiss me again" glitter, but I trudged onward anyway. I let go of his face.

"See? Gay. Like, boys get me hot. Got it?"

"Duo?" his voice was dangerously soft.

"Hm?" I squeaked, fearing the worst.

"Shut up." And he was kissing me, not just an innocent press of lips together, either. His tongue was prying my lips apart and delving within, drinking from my mouth like someone who'd been in a desert for months and was just reintroduced to water. I let out a soft moan and he pulled back.

"You're..?" I mumbled.

"Yeah," he nodded.

"When?" my voice was kind of fuzzy, a mix of shock and pleasure.

Heero snorted. "Since puberty; when I learned what sex was." He backed away from me, turning.

"Hey! You can't just kiss me and leave!" I was slightly offended, mostly amused.

He stopped, "You kissed me first," he returned, sounding extremely mature. Right.

"Yeah and I didn't leave."

"I have to get home. You should, too."

"Nope!" I said, but I finally walked toward him and we unlocked the door to the library. We ended up jumping the gate of the student parking lot, which was no simple task considering it was raining again. I fell to my knees when my feet impacted with the concrete beneath the fence, causing mud to fly up toward my face. Heero landed behind me, managing to stay on his feet, and he offered me a hand to help me up.

"Tha --" he cut me off by jerking me toward him and giving me another, hot, lovely kiss. "Mmm..." Mud-spattered kisses with your former nemesis...what could be better?

He pulled his lips away and rested his forehead against mine. "If you're not going home, where are you going?" he practically demanded.

"Dunno, I think I'll just wander around for a while. I'll get there eventually..." I trailed off at the look in his eyes.


"What? Who gave you the right --"

"No," he repeated and grabbed my arm, forcing me to follow him with a surprisingly gentle grip.

"Where..." but I stopped. It really didn't matter. Sure, it was sudden, but Heero wasn't exactly the most... subtle person. I think we had reached an understanding. A very sudden, very intense, very nice understanding.

And that was one of the best understandings of my life.

1. Yes, a skort. mwahaha! 1990s fashion was evil, no?


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