Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is owned by Sotsu Agency/Sunrise - this was written for "edutainment" purposes only.

Pairing: None
Contents/Warnings: None

AN: Ficlet written for Challenge #14 ('lost item') at the gw500 LJ community.

Stray Bullet
by kebzero

"Damn it, I know it's here somewhere..." Duo was frantically searching their temporary dormitory hideout; closets, dressers, desks and beds in disarray. This chaos - and Duo the whirlwind at the center of it - was what greeted Heero as he returned from a quick check-up on Wing.

"What are you doing?" he inquired, voice flat, leaning back against the wall.

"My bullet."

Folded arms. "Bullet?"

Duo shoved the lowest dresser drawers back in, mission at a loss. "Yeah - I had a special one, with my name engraved on it. Made it myself. I kinda like to keep track of where the damn thing is."

Half a smirk. "You shouldn't worry about that one. Worry about all the blank ones."

At any other time, Duo might have laughed, or joked that meant Trowa was in trouble, 'no-name', and all. Now, he barely bothered to grunt in acknowledgement, before resuming his search.

"I didn't figure you for being superstitious."

Brief pause. Duo sat down on the flipped mattress of his bunk. "Yeah, well... I guess it's a result of being a survivor - when you always escape scot-free, while others die in plagues, or fires, or missions gone really, really bad, you begin to wonder why, right? Calling it 'luck' is just not a good enough explanation. 'Karma' doesn't sound right either, given some of the things I've done - can't imagine the man upstairs has me in a particularly good light." He leant back, stretched his arms, took a deep breath and sighed. "So, I turn to my bullet - makes me feel I'm holding my destiny in my own hands. Feels less random than luck or karma."

Snort. "And you think a charm is less arbitrary? Duo, you survived because you did. Because of who you are. It happened, deal with it."

Lopsided grin. "Always the fatalist, huh? You still think your life is cheap, don't you?"

Heero didn't bother to reply beyond a shrug.

"Well, don't. Stick around for a while. You kinda learn to appreciate it when those around you start dying - especially those you care for." Wry grin. "Not that I think you would have that problem, ice-man."

Scowl. "I care for more things than you know."

Chuckle. "Oh, yeah? Like what?"

Heero hesitated to answer, moved over to the window and stared blankly out of it. "Winning this war, for one thing."

Duo snorted. "Oh, give me a break - you know this whole thing is a suicide mission, right? Sure, we're winning our battles, at least for now, but the whole damn war? Gundams are great, and we're their match, but you know what the real killer in warfare is, right?"

Nod. "Attrition."

Snap of fingers. "Exactly. They outnumber us. We can't keep up forever, unless something unexpected happens."

The room fell silent for several minutes, before Heero broke the tranquility. "You've lost more than that charm of yours, Duo."

Grin. "What, you saying I'm ugly?" Chuckle to the frown. "Okay, bad joke - what do you mean?"

"Hope, Duo. You've lost hope."

Sigh. "No, I haven't - just being realistic."

Frown. "Quit trusting things like that bullet. Trust yourself. Otherwise, you'll be nothing but a liability to the rest of us."

Snort. "Gee, thank you, mister compassion."

Scowl. "Duo, as another sold-" He cut himself short. "As a friend - take the advice. Being realistic about this is commendable - but if you want to survive, you need to keep fighting, not give up."

Another snort. "Look who's talking. You've risked your hide-"

Heero kicked off the wall, and started walking away. "I said I think my life is cheap - I never said anything about those of others - or yours." As he reached for the door, a small gleaming piece of metal by the door threshold caught his eye. He bent down to pick it up, verifying ownership. "Hey, Duo - catch." He tossed the bullet at Duo - who first scrambled to catch it, but changed his mind at the last minute, stepping back and letting it fall to the floor, rolling in under an overturned dresser drawer. Heero frowned. "Duo - what-"

Half-hearted grin. "Well, you didn't think I'd want to catch a bullet with my name on it, did you? Would kinda spoil the whole superstition thing." He dared a chuckle, then reached under the drawer to take the charm out.

Heero snorted. "I'm taking a walk - I expect you to clean up the mess you've caused before I return."

Full grin now. "Hey, don't I always?"

After giving a disregarded glare, Heero chose to simply walk out. To his credit, he didn't even slam the door.


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