8-5-2004

Thought Patterns

Disclaimer: Gundam Wing does not belong to me. Motel 6 does not belong to me. Whereas the first is on my would-kill-for list, I'm glad as all hell the second isn't in my name. Damn, that'd be embarrassing.

Warnings: Yaoi, Humor, Angst (not too much), Language, Inner Monologue, YAOI, FuckedUp!Characters, GUY/GUY MAKE-OUT SCENES, DAMMIT! *cough*

Rating: PG-13

A/N: I got this fic idea from a line that was probably very randomly placed into a fellow authoress' fic, "Only You". I claim no rights to the line, and she can get all pissed at me for the fic if she wants, too. If you really want to know the line, you can ask. It was very random. Also, ignore the last chapter of Episode ZERO. I decided to pretend it never happened, since it sucked so much. Oh, and if you're Motel 6, and you really don't like my bashing, up your damn quality and maybe I'll switch it to Ramada. Thanks.

Er, this fic is in Heero's point-of-view. I'm not gonna make you guess that. (Point-of-view means it's first person narrative and from one person’s perspective. For the uninformed.)

/\/\/\/\

Part One:

If anyone ever invites you to come stay at the Motel 6 in their area, laugh in their face. Really.

Lady Une, being far too busy to be spoken with about a bigger mission budget, gave us enough money to stay in a one-room, two-bed hotel suite -- yes, this is the suite -- for a week. Tops. After that, it's out of our own pockets. And I dunno who said the Preventers get mucho bucks, but they were off their rocker.

So, here we are, following an extremely obvious terrorist out in the boonies of the L4 area, bored off our asses and waiting for an opening. What's that you ask? How can an extremely obvious terrorist be hard to catch? Easy -- when they've got a ninety-pound nuclear missile in their basement, the right moment is hard to come by. Especially when he doesn't like to go anywhere outside of a twenty-meter radius from said missile.

And to make things almost exponentially worse, my partner, one Duo Maxwell, has decided that he needs to play his entire playlist. As loud as it can go. Did I mention he's the industrial rock type? No? Well, he is. He's currently playing some sort of electronica with a crack-high artist singing something about deeper wounds and the end of you and me.

Hey, look at that -- a cockroach.

Did I mention I hate Motel 6?

Ah, he's turned down the music. This may have something to do with the beeping sound his laptop is emitting over the music. Yes, Duo, read the email. Turn off the music. Now. . .tell me what it says.

"Oi!" Duo yells, looking up at me.

Good boy.

"Apparently this case is being taken out of our hands. They finished the first level grunt training, so we're being pulled back to base for a bigger debriefing. And that's 'bout all. I don't think they could be any more uninformative if they tried."

I refrain from commenting on that one and merely stare at him. Since the music isn't going back up there has to be more to this. Or the email fixed the tone-deaf wires in his head.

Now he's staring at me. Does he want a reply or something? "Hn," I offer, nodding uninterestedly. For some reason, this seems to irritate him. What else was there to say? Apparently something, but shoot me if I know what.

Now he's sighing. And turning the music back on. Dammit.

Today just isn't going well.

/\/\/\/\

After taking a long, relaxing shuttle ride back to earth (insert sarcasm here), we arrive at Preventer HQ at exactly 14:57 hours, 13 March, AC197. Duo and I march towards Une's office purposefully -- there are underlevel agents wandering around, you know -- speak briefly with her secretary, and walk into the rectangular room that hives the MPD-positive colonel herself.

She looks up at us from her paperwork and smiles slightly before putting down her pen and sitting upright to look us in the eye.

"Nice to see you back, gentlemen," she says shortly. "Your mission has been taken over by a pair more suited for the job. The skills you two possess will be more advantageous put towards a heftier task."

Duo blinks. I think he may be attempting to ignore her newly-found politician personality. I know for a fact that there's medication for ailments like hers; perhaps I should slip her an anonymous email.

"But, regardless, the team you will be working with won't be arriving until tomorrow." She sighs. "They had slight . . . transportation errors."

Duo obviously takes exception to her vagueness and poses the question on both our minds. "And now in English?"

Une smirks. I find myself briefly and inwardly disturbed. Those usually didn't pose good will on the horizon.

"Their plane decided to malfunction, so they're taking a rental car from their current location, Winchester, here to Brussels. They rather enjoy long car trips, so I decided to humor them. Their last mission went rather poorly," she adds.

I think Duo's eyebrow just twitched, but I can't really see it under his bangs, so I may be imagining it. I do, however, know his voice is rather "tell-or-get-strangled" upon his next question.

"And, I repeat; English, woman!" he declares, throwing his hands up in the air.

"That was very well put English, Maxwell," Une says sardonically. "But I'll go into further detail . . . just for you." She smiles brightly as Duo calmly moves his hand into a rather rude sign. "Agent Carmichael, one of the two you'll be working with, was given bad information that they'd leaked us purposefully, went in, and got shot. Agent Jamison, his partner, took a rather large exception to this, set the place full of remote bombs, and was hurt in the resulting explosion. They were both in the hospital for a time, and are now heading back here," she informs us. "The case the four of you will be working on is one in a pattern that they've been following for quite a time. I would normally have allowed them to do it themselves, but they might not be completely up to par yet and I like my agents in one piece."

Duo smirks. I can almost hear the wheels squeaking. "So they're the brains, we're the brawn?" he asks, lips twitching.

"Generically speaking," Une replies, "yes. But I'm giving you a case file for everything they've done with this group to date, nonetheless. I suggest you skim through it tonight so you know what's happening when you move out tomorrow. I will give you a very short briefing just before you move out, so you know your objectives and parameters, but otherwise you're on your own." She pulls a file from the corner of her tidy desk and hands it to me. "Now, go home and get some rest. Understood?"

Of course I understand. What a stupid question. "Hn." Stupid questions get stupid answers.

"Yep, we're all peachy keen," Duo says, mouthy as ever. "We'll have this looked over by morning," he assures, winking at Une and turning to leave.

I follow wordlessly down the hall to the locker rooms. Duo, of course, chatters the whole way.

"Huh . . . Carmichael and Jamison, huh? Well, the first is British, but the second sounds American. Have you heard of either of them before?" he asks me speedily. I have, at least in respect towards Jamison, and Carmichael sounds familiar, but Duo gives me the mere time slot of twenty seconds to reply before going off again. "I hope at least one of them is friendly. You think Une was kind enough to stick a brief description of them in the file? Probably. She always thinks of those things . . . or, at least, one of her personalities does. I think it's the Colonel one. The Peace Activist and Politician are both rather self-involved."

He keeps talking for a while, about Une's personalities, but I tune him out once we reach the locker room. Opening my lock and pulling my neatly folded street clothes out, I strip out of the Preventer uniform and into a faded blue t-shirt, jeans, and a jean jacket. I’m done, with my uniform in the laundry bin, in seven minutes. Duo took fifteen. I don't know what exactly Duo does that takes so long, but I’m decent and waiting for him for when he comes out.

You know, seeing as we live together. He would be bitchy if I ditched him, and that's just a pain. He's all right to live with once one gets over how much he talks. And eats. And throws clothes all over. And uses hot water. And, well, any one of his horrendously ridiculous traits.

All right, so they grow on you. So what?

And what, in the name of all that's mighty, is he wearing? And why don't I remember him coming in to the office like this five days ago?!

Maybe some of his habits don't grow on you. They just pop up randomly. Like weeds.

But I've digressed. He's wearing some sort of skin-tight spandex shirt -- black, of course -- and baggy green cargo pants.

Oh.

From a third-person perspective, I'm sure this is hilarious. From my own, poor, abused little perspective, this is glare-worthy. And glared at he shall be. I'll use the level six.

I really need to get these patented. If I could teach people how to glare like me, I'm sure I'd make a pretty penny.

And now he's laughing his ass off. Maybe I should have pretended not to notice. No, with Duo, that just never works. Plus, I notice everything and everyone knows it. Crud. I'm stuck between a rock and Duo. Or, no, that really wouldn't be so bad. Maybe a rock and spandex?

"Oh, this was so worth it for the look on your face, man!" he proclaims, slapping his side. Great, focus my eyes on your abs, asshole.

And, thirty seconds later, I think he's asking me a question.

"Hn?" I ask. The "hn" is a very fine art that I have perfected over the years. If one does it just the right way, it can mean almost anything on the planet. I'm sure there's a dictionary on it somewhere. Check the internet . . . you can find anything on the internet.

"I said," he repeats, obviously getting a kick out of this, "are we going to go or are you just going to glare at my ribs?"

Damn, he noticed. I really need to learn to be less obvious about this.

Oh, right, he wants an answer. I think I'll just shrug and nod, then start leaving. If I open my mouth, I'm afraid my drooling will become painfully obvious.

We walk out the main doors in a decidedly aggrieved silence. Or, well, aggrieved on my part. Duo obviously still finds this hilarious. I can just smell it. Anyway, we walk out the front doors, down the street three blocks, and come to our apartment complex.

The complex, Arrigan Heights, is home to quite a number of the Preventer agents. It's where I know Andrew Jamison from. I suppose I should mention that to Duo, but I think it'll be my revenge for his clothes. Bastard.

Andy's been living here almost as long as I have. Duo and I live on the fifth floor (of five) and Andy lives directly below us one level. I met him when my register broke and I tried to fix it. Easy enough to guess, I fell through and landed on his sofa. Nicely placed, that. Then we went out to coffee, attempted dating for about a week, and decided friends was a better way to be. We go to the pool hall or out to brunch every now and then to talk, but nothing more than that.

Now, for the record, I'm not precisely gay. Just bi. However, seeing as Relena may have put me off women for life, I'm looking more in the area of attractive, young males between the ages of seventeen and twenty-three. I realize anyone eighteen or older being with me is illegal. But only for another nine hours.

Ah, home sweet home.

We take the elevator up to the fifth floor, walk all the way to the end of the hall, and pry open the door. I say "pry" because it has a tendency to get stuck. Tendency meaning "in order to open it, you have to kick it a couple times". Not so bad, considering the neighborhood.

The apartment is a two bedroom plus kitchen, living room, bathroom, two closets, and a laundry room. When Duo moved in two months ago, the place was rather plain -- all earth tones, few to no wall decorations, and spotless. Now he's brought with him pictures, posters, paintings, and probably the plague. Alliteration.

He's not the neatest of individuals, but for a seventeen-year-old kid he's not too bad. I'm a neat freak, though, so the apartment's usually pretty clean. He gets annoyed and loud -- plus more messy -- when the place gets too clean, so I let a few things collect on the tables and couches.

And he immediately goes for the stereo.

I think my second mistake -- the first being allowing him to move in, of course -- was giving him full privilege to my vintage Pioneer sound system. It's a nice bloody system and he likes to rock the building out to his scary electronica and industrial tastes. I don't know where he gets half this stuff. He says the record store; I ask which planet. Well, silently.

So here's that crack-guy again and his electric, creepy sounds. Time to lock myself in my room.

Duo and I have separate bedrooms -- despite the fact that he's good-looking, we're not dating; he's not interested -- and I leave his the hell alone. All I know is that I'm glad he keeps his door shut.

My room is very . . . boring. I have a bed, dresser, chest of drawers, computer desk, wardrobe, bedside table, and other miscellaneous goodies. And contrary to what Duo tells people, my underwear drawer is not color-coded. It's sorted by type and texture. And if, by some luck, it goes from lightest to darkest, it was chance alone and I'm not to blame.

And now he's yelling for me.

"Heero!" Duo's voice comes over the music. An impressive task. I decide to be a good person and oblige with the first holler. After that, he tends to get curious.

"What?" I ask, coming out of my room and leaning against the wall. It's vibrating. Wonderful.

"We should go over the file!" he says, waving the manila folder around in the air.

Oh yes, the file. I'd forgotten about that thing. Oops. "Hn," I reply, walking over to the stereo and turning it down so we don't have to yell.

"All righty," Duo mutters, sitting down at the couch. I sit on the floor opposite the oak and glass coffee table from him. Tucking his hair behind his ears, he opens the file and starts pulling out the various paper-clipped sections. There are four sections, each with about twenty pages. It's becoming abundantly clear why Une told us to "skim" them. We'd be here for hours if we read through them all. Looking at them, two are on the case -- one with information about the suspects and their organization and the other about what Preventer has already done towards them -- and the other two are on Andy and his partner, Evan Carmichael.

Evan. Why does that still sound familiar? Oh right -- he's Andy's boyfriend.

Wait. Oh. I really hope we're not all rooming in one big room. Knowing Preventer's funds, I'm almost willing to bet we are. This is peachy.

I think Duo noticed me groaning, because now he’s asking what’s wrong.

I point at the files for Andy and Evan. "Them," I say.

He really needs to get those twitches looked at. "What about "them"?" he asks me, upper cheek muscle twitching in random intervals.

"Andy lives below us, so I know him," I say. No need to delve further than that. "Evan is his boyfriend," I add.

Duo blinks. "Right-o, then. This should be fun."

We look through the files for about another hour, then decide to watch a movie and eat dinner. At the same time. Duo has quite put me on to ordering Chinese and eating in the living room. This disturbs me, but I figure that if he's rubbed off on me, maybe I've rubbed off on him. Or, eventually, I can get him to shut up for more than thirty seconds. Maybe that's a bit much to hope for.

I think it's Duo's turn to pick out a movie, so he does while we wait for the food to get delivered. I miss what he finally picks out when I go to the door to pay for the food. Apparently it's a DVD, as we get the DVD menu a few seconds later. Ah, Bulletproof Monk. Good movie. Funny. You can't really do those martial art moves, though. It's a bit misleading.

After the movie, we go to bed. All in all, a rather uneventful day. Really, I must admit Duo is getting quieter. I just don't know why. He used to try and start conversation all the time and I'd do my best to be responsive. I don't think I did a very good job, though, because he’s stopped attempting.

And when I finally convince myself this isn't a big deal, I'll get back to you. Right now, I think I'm going to get some sleep.

/\/\/\/\

My alarm goes off at five thirty, every morning, without fail. I get up, shower, and start breakfast for Duo and I. I learned long ago that he appreciates the morning meal greatly, but never really has time to make himself anything other than cereal on his own time. I consider this my apology for being socially retarded.

Duo's alarm goes off around six thirty and he drags his feet -- very caveman-esque -- into the shower. He's out half an hour later, hair neatly braided and wearing a towel. I focus my attention on the omelets I'm making. I think I'll grate cheese and add it.

He's dressed by seven ten and wanders into the kitchen to plop at the bar and watch me cook. Silently. Duo’s never really talkative in the mornings.

I give him a mug of coffee -- lots of milk, no sugar; lord knows he doesn't need it -- and go back to my cooking. By the time we're done eating, the bounce is back in his step. His morning banter usually starts while we're putting on our shoes and jackets.

He's so deceptive! By the time we get to work, he's hyper as ever. People at the office seem to think he's just like that 24/7. He's not. He does nothing to confirm nor allay their fears, so they just assume they're correct. Gotta love human nature, ne?

"So, Heero, what are we gonna do until the other two agents get back?" Duo asks me suddenly. He's lacing up one of his boots as he talks, his plain blue jeans cuffed mid-calf for better access. And what nice calves they are . . .

Right! I should probably reply. It'll stop him from noticing my drooling, if nothing else. "Check the flight, car, and hotel arrangements," I supply distractedly. My voice doesn't sound any different at all . . . way to go, me! Wait, does this mean my voice is always distracted-sounding? Huh.

"Good idea," he replies, uncuffing his pants and standing up. Duo stands a good five or six inches over my measly five-foot-five. Stupid genetics. "Did Une mention what time they'd be arriving?" he asks.

I go back over the conversation quickly. "No. But the distance from Winchester to here isn't too large," I say, looking at the map in my mind's eye. "Though there is the channel to cross. They'll probably be here around supper time, depending on when they left yesterday."

Duo nods. "All righty. Knowing our luck the plane doesn't leave until tomorrow anyway." He blinks. "Where are we going, while we're on the subject?"

I resist the urge to hit him with my keys and answer him as we leave the apartment for the walk to HQ. "Former United States Midwest area," I say, cheek twitching. "Somewhere in the Mississippi region up towards St. Paul and Minneapolis." I catch his blank look. "They're two large cities in one of the northern Midwest states. Called the "Twin Cities" by locals."

"Ooooh," Duo says, nodding. "According to my records, my family moved to the colonies from the Quad Cities area. That's in . . . Iowa/Illinois, right?"

I do another quick check on my mental map. "Something like that."

"Right. So we're going to the one place on the planet that isn't densely populated? The boonies?" he asks.

"Yes." Of course we are. It's the best place for a hidden base!

"Joy."

What's so bad about that? Wide, open spaces and non-polluted sky. The man's a nutcase.

We arrive at HQ at 8:30 a.m. Happy Birthday, me! I think Une's the only one who knows the actual day of my birth. Hopefully she doesn't decide to be kind and caring and give her well-wishes. Duo'd probably make me celebrate or something horrendous like that.

We head to our private office -- being former Gundam pilots has some bonuses, you know -- and I immediately pull up our flight schedule, rental cars, and hotel arrangements.

The flight leaves at three o'clock . . . in the morning. Where do they find pilots for this? Duo's going to rant when he hears that one. If he'll be able to hear it. I don't know when he got the chance to fill up his playlist on the PCs here at work, but he did. Maybe it's just a CD. Maybe it'll explode. . . . a man has to have dreams, you know.

Car rentals . . . well, they're all right, I suppose. Two cars. One for each pair, I suppose.

Hotel arrangements? Motel 6. Maybe I should file a complaint.

And Duo's reading over my shoulder. How fun. Now he's ranting and raving about the flight arrangements. Predictable.

"What the flying crap are these people thinking?" he groans, flopping into the chair next to mind theatrically. I resist saying the very open, 'that Preventers have no lives?' "Who flies that early in the morning?"

I shrug and scroll down to the car and hotel arrangements. I think he takes as much exception to them as I do.

"That's it! I quit this stupid job! I want real housing, dammit!" he exclaims. I might be worried about this statement were it not for the fact he says it every time he sees our accommodations. Now he's throwing up his arms and going back to his computer to . . . turn up the volume.

Great. Peachy. I need caffeine.

Offering no excuse, I wander down the hall towards the vending machines. It's a dollar fifty for a 20 oz. bottle, which is pretty good, so I snag a Cherry Coke. And then nearly get trampled.

"What the hell --" I start, stopping only when I realize who I ran into. "Andy!" I exclaim, blinking at him.

Andrew Jamison, a twenty-one-year-old strategist from the Eve Wars, blinks at me from behind flaming red bangs, green eyes twinkling. "Oh, hey!" he says, recognizing me. "Sorry 'bout that."

I shrug. "I thought you weren't getting in until later?"

"Oh, right. We caught a ride from the Preventer jet stationed right across the English Channel," he explains. "Une was a bit peeved that they have to change the flight plans and everything now, but Evan charmed her."

I chuckle, quite well aware of Evan's highly-developed charmer's smile. "I see."

"Yeah," he says. "The flight's been changed to one p.m. now. Anything besides the ungodly three a.m. makes me happy."

I nod, agreeing.

"So I hear we're working together, eh? Maybe I'll finally be able to catch your partner before he leaves or whatnot," Andy says, laughing. It's been a running joke between us that whenever he comes over to say 'hello' to Duo and I, Duo's presence is lacking. The two have never met, despite all the time Duo has lived in my apartment.

"Yeah, Duo's in our office right now, actually," I say. "I had to get away from his death-to-ears music. He listens to that . . . industrial electronica stuff."

Andy smirks. "Yeah? So does Evan. God forbid, right?"

I roll my eyes. "We're screwed."

"Maybe we can blast them with Led Zeppelin or something," Andy says. I realize we've been heading back towards my office throughout the entire conversation. And now we're there. And you can hear Duo's music through the supposedly sound-proof doors.

I hope that's just the office being cheap.

I push open the door and Duo spins around on his chair to greet me. "Hey, Heero --" He stops abruptly when he sees Andy. "Yo," he continues. "You are?"

"Andrew Jamison," Andy says politely, nodding his head. "Most people call me 'Andy', though. Me and Evan will be working with you on the mission."

"Sweet. So you guys are back already?" Duo says, turning down his horrendous . . . noise.

"Yep. We hitched a ride. This also means that the flight arrangements got changed to one p.m. today. No three a.m. flight!" Andy says, grinning.

Duo grins back. "Kick," he says, standing up. "So let's go grab your partner and get briefed."

"'Kay," Andy agrees, standing back for Duo to walk out of the office and shut the lights off.

I simply nod and follow the two of them to Une's office.

/\/\/\/\

A/N: Yay! End first part! Heh. This was written May 17th and 18th, 2004, for those who want to know. Um, there was a bit of foreshadowing in there (creeping around like a stalker) and some music references. For the record, I am an industrial rock fan. I also like classic rock, punk rock, alternative rock, and Japanese rock. Have fun with that. Oh, and you can have a cameo if you can guess which song (and by who) Duo was listening to in the first bit on his laptop. If you can get it from what little I gave, you deserve a cameo. And I love you.

Oh yes, and about finding anything on the internet? I’m referring to THIS thing. Heh. ^^;

Thanks to my wonderful beta, Ai Saki (who says “no prob” on the beta -- weirdo).