Disclaimer: Gundam Wing does not belong to me, nor will it ever belong to me. This is done for pure entertainment and not profit.

Warnings: yaoi, angst, blood, language
Pairings: various

Notes: Dedicated to Lady M, 'Drea, Syn, Kitsune, Blue Lemming, Hazard, Candy, Arigatomina (or 'Mina for short ^_^), and everyone else! If I forgot you - I'm sorry - I'm terrible with names

Part 8

Duo pulled another slab of totaled gundanium out from the heap. He viewed it critically, noting the areas that would have to be melted down and re-shaped before it could be used again. A few dings, some scratches here and there, but on the whole, he had a nice side plate. Completely dragging it out of the pile, he jumped to the ground and hauled it over to Mike who motioned for him to add it to the pile.

" 'Nother big one," he said, examining it. Duo nodded.

" Yeah. More of those then the little wires and trinkets I know Howard wants." He shrugged. " But why waste stuff like this?"

" 'Zactly. We can use it to rebuild Howard's car. Finally have something that can withstand the man's crashes!"

Duo chuckled. Howard was notorious for his horrible driving ability. " The dude can fly any shuttle or plane backwards and blindfolded, but he can't work a stick!"

Mike shook his head, laughing as he waved Duo back to work. Duo raked his bangs back from his forehead, reveling in the fulfilling sensation of tired muscles that had put in a good days work. About to climb back on to the scrap heap, he froze. Senses tuned outwards, he listened for a minute and then paled slightly. Turning his head, he scanned the horizon, searching. He didn't see it but he still knew it was there - the supersonic whine of turbo-charged engines were near inaudible to untrained ears, but for someone who practically lived in a Gundam for the past few years, it was unmistakable. He climbed off the heap again. Mike squinted at him, puzzled.

" What's up kid?"

Duo flicked another stray piece of hair out of his eyes as he threw a brief glance over his shoulder to the older man.

" Incoming."

" What?" The man stood up completely and looked at the sky, one hand held up to block the rays of the sun. " Yes joshin' me right kid? I don't see anything!"

Duo didn't even answer as he loped over to the main building.

Howard was not surprised when Duo burst through his doorway and stood there, eyes narrowed angrily.

" Did you tell them I was here?" he asked in a tone so low, and so cold, Howard shivered in spite of himself.

" Kid, you know me better then that," the elderly mechanic admonished him. " Would I do that to you?"

Duo deflated somewhat, a vague sense of shame creeping up his spine.

" No, you wouldn't," he sighed roughly. " Sorry Howard. I should've known better - they would have thought of you sooner or later."

" More sooner then later, neh? Only been a coupla days." Howard folded his hands on top of the desk. " You okay?"

Duo blinked. " No."

" An honest answer at least."

" Who is it?" Duo asked half-heartedly, even though he knew the answer.

" Wing Zero. Be here in less then ten minutes." Howard didn't take his eyes off the young man he considered a son to him. " You wanna leave, you still got time."

Duo considered that for all of two seconds. " No - he'd just follow me. In Wing, ten minutes wouldn't get me anywhere far enough to avoid him."

Howard leaned forward at those words, his eyes softening a fraction. " Shit, they really hurt you, didn't they? I never knew you to throw away an offered olive branch."

Duo flinched. " You could say that."

A silence followed those words, a silence that was soon disrupted by the sound of a smooth running engine, charged to the max. Duo's muscles tightened as the sound drew closer. He looked up. " Did you warn the guys? They're gonna think--"

" Ray's spreading the word for me, to keep cool. They're not going to think it's an attack - they'll recognize Zero."

" If you say so," Duo shrugged. He slipped his cap off his hip where he had slung it while doing some tricky digging earlier and put it on, tugging it into place so his eyes were covered. That simple action made him look less like the boy he seemed, and more like the trained terrorist he was. Howard shivered again, watching as the boy in black flicked a casual wave at him and headed out to meet Heero Yuy.

Heero wondered belatedly if he should have radioed ahead and decided that later was better then never. Thumbing the switch, he waited for the static to clear from the screen. Howard's familiar face appeared on the screen, eyes obscured by his ever-present sunglasses.

" Requesting permission to enter your air space and land," he said briskly. Howard nudged his sunglasses with his index finger. Heero could feel those world-wise eyes scrutinizing him from behind the lens, but his gaze never wavered. Finally, the bald-headed man chuckled somewhat ruefully before nodding.

" Ah Heero. Been some time, neh? Park it in the hangar boy."

' He's expecting me. Duo's here...' Heero swallowed and nodded his assent before switching the radio off. As he flew closer, he saw the various mechanics and Sweeper crew members pausing in their work to shade their eyes and stare up at Wing Zero. Knowing Duo and his friendly personality though, they were probably more interested in his reason for being there, instead of gazing in awe at Wing's impressive entrance. Large white wings swooped gracefully as Heero relaxed back on the throttle, switching from bird-mode to land with a vibrating thud on both feet. The wings folded back behind and the sounds of a large mecha powering down were all one could hear as the lights dimmed on Zero's headpiece. A small crowd gathered at Zero's feet and Heero opened the cockpit hatch, letting it swing out and down, stepping out into the light.

Leaping gracefully to the ground, he examined the gawkers faces closely, seeing a lot of curiosity, but not hostility...waitaminute..one of the Sweepers was glaring at him. Suddenly the crowd parted like the Red Sea, and Heero's heart leapt into his throat.


The lithe form of his partner strode towards him purposefully, braid trailing behind him. He kept his face down, black cap blocking Heero's view of the Americans eyes, but the Japanese pilot could see through the casual-looking stride, noting the tense muscles and rigid fingers.

' Shit. He's still mad.'

He watched as Duo stopped by the angry-looking mechanic and spoke a few words to him. The mechanic started, glancing up at Heero again with an angry look, but then nodded resignedly. Blinking, Heero watched as the man began shooing the crowd away, urging them back to work. Before following suit though, he walked up to Heero and stared at him challengingly.

" Duo's part of our family. You hurt him, you deal with all of us." Not allowing to the boy to get a word in, the man abruptly turned away and strode after the men. Duo stopped him briefly.

" Thanks Mike," he said quietly. Mike nodded and slapped him on the back.

" Give him what for kid."

Duo grinned tightly and let him pass. Then it was just him and Heero, staring each other down. The braided boy had a brief image of two cowboys facing each other down and smirked.

" All I need is showdown whistling music..."

" Duo." Heero's voice cut through the air like a knife.

" We need to talk."

on to part 9

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