disclaimer: i don't have any rights to gw except my first amendment fair use right.

genre: AU, ordinary life, stuff like so
pairings: 3x4 established, working on that 1x2
warnings: none so far.. 'cept i wrote in first person POV and Duo is.. an attorney (hides)

Part 2
by 0083

- The First Encounter -

As easy as it is to say I want to be special, the whole activity of going about being special is damned hard. For example, I had no idea where to begin my search and I was rather reluctant to ask my friends for advice. If Quatre, or for that matter, any of my friends, found out about my newly formed quest, they would pounce on me like a pack of rabid wolves on raw meat with indispensable words of wisdom. It is not that I mind advice from my friends, not at all. However, certain things in life must be achieved by oneself and I believe that my search is personal enough to merit privacy.

Still, it would be easier if I knew how to begin. I know what kind of girls I like, but Iím not sure if Iím going to find a means to be special with any of them. So far, dating the girls I liked had not given me any results and there is no guarantee that continuing in my habits and usual tastes will show me something I had not noticed before I got insane about being special. Then the logical conclusion, of course, would be to stray from my well-trodden path, but as I am now, I donít even know if there are other viable paths ahead of me.

Losing hope before starting a quest is not a very good way of going about things.

My first week of searching yielded no concrete results, but I did learn something. I donít think any of the girls I talked to would be able to give me what Iím seeking, no more than I can give them what they want. It seems that at my age, women think about two things when it comes to relationships Ė one night stand or marriage forever. There is no middle ground for me to work with and Iím no longer interested in a strictly one night stand type of relations. That does not mean I want to do the marriage thing. Despite my strange quest driving me onward to god knows what, I have not completely lost my sanity.

Second week came and went with no visible results as well, just a whole string of women I considered then discarded. Oh, they were all beautiful, sparkling, smart and a whole dictionary full of positive adjectives, but I did not want to wake up next to them in the morning. I certainly did not want to spend idle time with them. I didnít want anything from them except the sex.

It is very discouraging that I am turning down sex in my search to be special. I suppose this must be important to me if Iím actually turning myself away from easy sex in favor of finding someone special.

Third week, my friends noticed the change in me and began staring at me oddly. I think Quatre nearly spat out his drink at the bar when I turned down an overt invitation of sex from a really gorgeous girl. He stared at me with his eyes as wide as they would go and Trowa immediately checked my forehead to see if I was sick. They didnít ask me anything that night, but I could tell that the questions were burning a large hole in their brains.

When fourth week rolled around, my friends must have had enough because they sat me down and began their friendly interrogation. Quatre had invited me over for Ďdrinksí at his and Trowaís apartment late Friday night, insisting that we stay in for the night. I agreed despite my misgivings since Quatre seemed oddly spaced out lately. Then when I get there for a quiet night, I find Quatre and Trowa there with interrogator eyes trained on me even before I crossed the threshold into their apartment.

I felt like a bug under a microscope. I sat on their couch with a nice two fingers of premium scotch, watching them watching me. It was enough to set me on edge and my brain went into overtime trying to find answers before they asked the questions.

ďDuo,Ē Quatre began in what I termed his diplomatís voice, ďwhat is going on with you?Ē

Such a simple question, but it was loaded with deeper meaning. In that one question, I could hear Ďare you having problems with your sex lifeí to Ďgod, I hope you donít have an incurable STD under that skin of yours.í Instead of answering the question in any meaningful way, I decide to play dumb.

ďWhat do you mean? Iím fine.Ē

That was the complete truth. I am fine. Iím just in the middle of a large project, thatís all.

I could tell the answer troubled the two of them because they exchange one of those looks loaded with meaning. They were probably wondering how to phrase the next question without offending me or hurting my feelings. After all, how do you ask your friend why heís not sleeping with everything under the sun as he usually does? How do you ask your best friend why he is not the player that he was? How do you ask your friend about the changes in his habits when you actually approve of them?

Eventually, the silence wore thin and I was tempted to just blurt out my whole mission so that they would stop worrying. But alas, Quatre beat me to breaking the silence.

ďDuo, donít take this the wrong way,Ē he said, ďbut you arenít.. acting yourself lately.Ē

That much is true, I must concede. I nod in acquiescence, but offer no further information. Quatre was getting annoyed, I could tell, because Iím quite verbal most of the times to the point of banal babbling. Yet here I was, not saying much at all, practically making Quatre pull the answers out of me with force.

Trowa raised an eyebrow at my continued silence and he considered me carefully. He knew I was hiding something, how could he not? But he wasnít about to go charging in with questions. It is too bad that Quatre had no such reservations.

ďStop playing around, Duo. Iím just really worried. Whatís gotten into you?Ē

Damn. Quatre used the guilt card, the cheat. Now I have to answer or end up feeling like I had kicked his puppy or something.

ďDonít worry, Quat. Iím a big boy. I know what Iím doing.Ē

Well, actually, I havenít the faintest idea as to what Iím doing. I only know the goal, not the means to get there.

ďWhat is it that youíre doing? For the life of me, I canít figure it out.Ē

If Quatre wants to, he can make a guy feel really, really guilty. When he uttered that sentence with worry imbedded so deeply within, I could not help but answer before I had time to process what I wanted to say.

ďIím looking for someone special, thatís all.Ē

That silly saying about the cat being out of the bag, I never did understand what it meant. But I suppose thatís what I had just done with that reply.

The answer I gave was received with mental fanfare by Quatre and Trowa. How could I tell? Because their eyes lit up like lanterns and they both got this huge grin on their faces. Even Trowa. Yeah, itís a big deal when Trowa makes a facial expression beyond bland.

ďOh, thatís wonderful Duo! We can set you up with the nicest..Ē

Thatís as far as Quatre got before I clapped a hand over his mouth, my eyes blazing Ďdonít go thereí in neon lights. As I said before, this is a private matter to be dealt with by me only.

ďMmphrmph..Ē Quatre finished over my hand anyway.

Translation: I have this cousin whoíd love to meet you, my neighbor is the sweetest little thing, my sisterís roommateís brotherís friendís cousin is so very nice.

Yeah, things get complicated when your friends who are already itching to make you settle down gets a whiff of your future plans to settle down.

It is safe to say that I tucked tail and ran out of their apartment quickly after that. I was not in the mood to sit there while they congratulated me on my decision to find someone special, to find someone who thought I was special. Not that I didnít appreciate their support, but I really didnít need Quatre going matchmaker on me and pulling out every female he has ever known, convinced that each and every one of them was perfect for my needs. God, no.

So yes, I ran. They didnít follow, thankfully, but then again, they understand my needs. For tonight, Quatre would leave me alone, knowing that I had said something to them that I had meant to keep to myself. Tomorrow, though.. Maybe I should just sleep through tomorrow.

And how does one sleep through an entire day? Easily. One, itís Friday night so tomorrow is a blissfully calm Saturday. No need to wake at all. Two, I spy a bar.

Alcohol plus a Saturday bonus equals sleeping an entire day.

That was my brilliant plan for avoiding Quatre the next day. So I went to my regular bar, the Tornado Fodder, named after the fate of the ownerís house in Florida, with every intention of getting hammered to the point where I would skip Saturday and head straight into Sunday.

Believe me, I didnít even have an ulterior motive of wanting to meet girls in my quest either. I just wanted to drink and go home to pass out. I did see a couple of cute ones batting their eyes at me and I bought them drinks out of habit, flirting for all I was worth, but nothing serious was flitting through my mind. I was drinking for the sake of drinking then something odd happened.

I was standing at the bar, trying to flag down the busy bartender for a refill on my drink since I wasnít nearly drunk enough, when a solid mass crashed into me and pitched me forward. It was a resounding kind of crash where I ended up with my face nearly planted on the bar among the lime rinds and the empty glasses. Also, the crashed caused the not very sober chick next to me to spill her drink all over me. It just had to be a strawberry margarita, all sweet, sticky and impossible to ignore.

ďIím so sorry!Ē

The girl squealed at me, trying with her hands to wipe away the damage but it was too late. I was soaking wet, definitely unhappy and she was putting her hands where I did not want them. I waved her off, thoroughly pissed, to whoever behind me that had crashed into me. From the crash to the girlís apology to my whirling around in a frenzy took all of five seconds but my reaction as soon as I turned to the guy who had crashed into me lasted significantly longer.

Imagine this scene for a second. One: Duo Maxwell, slightly tipsy, wearing his nice polo shirt and black pants which in turn are wearing a strawberry margarita. Two: a solidly built guy about my age and height with Prussian blue eyes and a mop of dark brown hair staring back rather impassively at me. Three: Instant, carnal attraction on my part.

Step three involved me staring at the guy with mouth gaping open and it lasted, oh Iíd say, about twenty seconds before I realized what I was doing and where I was.

Thatís when my brain finally caught up and said Ďyouíre attracted to a guy!í really loudly in a shocked tone.

Letís just say itís not every day that Duo Maxwell runs away with his tail tucked behind his ass twice in one night.

When I got home, three things occurred to me. First, I may not be as straight as I originally thought. Two, the guy was really hot. Three, I had no earthly clue who the hell he was.

Oh shit. On all three counts.

on to part 3

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