5-26-2001

Category: Yaoi, AU
Warnings: slight violence at best
Pairings: will be 1x2, 3x4, but others may be included
Author: Arigatomina
Email: arigatoumina@hotmail.com

 

Divide and Conquer

Part 2

 

"Duo..." Stepping toward the center of his room, Quatre could tell the boy was angry by the way he jerked the lock on the door. "What's wrong?"

"Everything," Duo muttered, staring at the flimsy lock before glancing over to the pale boy. "Don't mind me, I'm not happy unless I've got something to complain about." He gestured to the second bed in the room and raised an eyebrow. "Can I?"

"Oh, of course." Smiling, Quatre sat on the bed across from him. It was surprising how nice it was to have the boy in his room, and he realized he wasn't used to having people over. When he went away to schools, he tended to stick to himself. "Your roommate seems nice."

It was said in such an honest tone that Duo shoved down the vicious reaction that tried to make its way past his lips. "Yeah, he's a real character. Tell me, what classes are you taking?"

"Well, after basketball, I'm taking regular courses." He didn't know what level the American was at, and he remembered his discussion with Wufei well. Hopefully, Duo wasn't one of those in the lower courses as he didn't like to think that he'd made fun of what was turning out to be a friend. "I'll have to take a language course, but I haven't decided which one yet."

"Kinda vague, aren't you?" Duo smirked when the boy flushed lightly, "Come on, Quatre, it's a simple enough question. I just wanted to know if you're in any of the courses I'm going to be taking. Right now, basketball's my only gym class, so I'm taking some technical courses. Physics, Chemistry, you know."

"Really? I didn't know they had a science program." It was obvious that the boy was in the higher classes, and Quatre felt bad that he'd doubted him. Still, there wasn't any way he could have know better, what with the majority of the classes he'd been in that day having been so small. "If I didn't already have my classes scheduled, I wouldn't mind taking some of those. I've always been interested in science." The boy across from him looked sceptical and he shook his head. "Really, I'm better at business courses, but I'm good at math."

"Oh, I'm not doubting you," Duo said quickly, "I'm just surprised you didn't know about the school's courses already. Didn't you look at them before you came here?"

"No, my father picked my classes for me."

That was a new one on him, but Duo wasn't sure if he should comment on it. The blonde boy had dropped his eyes and he looked uncomfortable. Deciding to drop it, he shoved down his curiousity as he stood suddenly, Quatre's gaze flying to him. "What time's your next class?"

Blinking, Quatre shook his head quickly as he felt sorry that the boy had to leave. He wasn't looking forward to having a room to himself. Sure, in the past he'd roomed alone all of the time, but he felt so out of place here that he was wary of being left alone. "Actually, I'm finished. I've been scheduled for lunch last period, that's why I came back here."

"Perfect, me too." Duo hid his smile when the boy looked both relieved and happy, and gestured toward the door. "Even if I hadn't been scheduled it, I was planning to eat this period, anyway. See, my classes were scheduled for me too, but I changed them." Quatre seemed surprised, and he explained, knowing the boy would probably do likewise once he knew how. "They put me in the most basic courses they had, it was embarrassing. So I talked to the counselor and he has some tests. If you pass them, they'll let you into the upper courses without making you take the baby ones first."

"I didn't know that, how did you find out?" Quatre asked, excitement thrilling through him. Here was a chance to get around his father's work and to choose classes that suited him instead.

"I've got my ways." Giving the boy a mysterious gaze, he grinned as he unlocked the door and tossed his hand toward it. "Come on, I'll show you the library after we eat. You can find out anything there...if you know how, that is."

* * *

The lunch room was very empty when they reached it, but Duo had learned that there was a football class scheduled for that period, so he wasn't surprised. Unlike public schools, where lunch was mandatory and consisted of cooks who dished out slop, the kitchen resembled a restaurant. There were menus on the wall above the counter displaying the different things available and Quatre's eyes widened when he saw how large the selection was. Duo didn't seem phased though, and he enjoyed the pale boy's indecision.

"What's the matter, can't make up your mind?" Duo asked, his eyes laughing at the boy as Quatre stared up at the menus.

"I've never had most of this stuff," Quatre said quietly, glancing at the long-haired boy. "There aren't any pictures."

"Oh, that's cool. I have to admit, I haven't tried most of it either. But it smells good. Here," he said, grabbing a tray off the stand near the corner and handing it to Quatre. He picked up two of the double cheese burgers that were set out and set one on the boy's tray. "This is easier than asking for something up there. Just grab whatever you see that you like."

"Right." Taking a large salad that was beneath the plastic roof of the counter, he placed it beside the silver wrapped burger, smiling at Duo. "I guess we'll find out what that stuff is eventually, right?"

"If I'm here long enough," Duo muttered, smiling quickly when Quatre looked at him. "Hey, they have a cappuccino machine."

Quatre blinked in surprise when Duo moved away from him and he frowned at what he was sure he'd heard the boy say. But he hadn't been brought up to pry and he knew it wasn't his place to ask. He was about to follow the boy when he heard someone move behind him and he gave a tentative smile when he saw it was Wufei. "Hi, so this is your lunch period too?"

Nodding, Wufei glanced from the blonde boy to Duo who was standing some feet away, his dark eyes glinting. He decided to ignore him and looked to the blonde boy again. "Most of the students have this period as a practice period," he said, his eyes moving over the thinly populated room. "Then, there's football and that's a large percent right there since there are two teams."

"That's what Duo said," Quatre nodded, trying not to follow the boy's black eyes as they shifted over his shoulder again. He was fairly sure the boy was looking at Duo, but he didn't think it would be a good idea to let on how obvious Wufei was being. "Well, would you like to sit with us?" The boy recoiled and if he hadn't been bothered by the thought of him and Duo being angry with each other, he might have laughed.

"No," Wufei said quickly, turning back to the counter. "I'm eating with some friends."

"Oh, okay." He managed a slight smile as he nodded to the boy, then Quatre turned and walked to where Duo waited, not missing the way those violet eyes were narrowed right before being replaced by a blank statement.

"You really like him?" Duo asked slowly, watching as the blonde boy filled one of the disposable cups with coffee.

"Duo, I know you two don't like each other." Quatre nodded when the boy raised an eyebrow and turned to face him. "But he hasn't been anything but polite to me."

"Let's talk about it at a table," Duo said, his voice low as he could see the boy in question moving towards them. The blonde nodded and they paid for their food before choosing a small booth along the wall. "Okay." Setting down his food, Duo unwrapped the burger and took a bite, not speaking until he'd swallowed. "You and me are friends, right? I mean sure, we just met but I like you."

"I'd like to be your friend," Quatre smiled, his eyes wide as he nodded quickly.

"Great. Then I guess it won't hurt anything to tell you why I'm not happy with my roommate right now. Not that you can't like him, I'm not trying to say something stupid like that, I just figure you can hear my side first."

He looked a bit uncomfortable, but Quatre was more focused on the straightforward way his eyes met him. "Alright," he said, taking a sip of his coffee as he waited for the boy to continue. While he was accustomed to his father's straightforward way of speaking, it was interesting to find it in someone his own age.

"Well, I'll be the first to admit that I can be odd at times, but I'm usually told it's easy to get along with me. But Wufei, he hated me from the moment he saw me." Remembering the way the boy had glared at him, Duo shook his head and took another bite before continuing. "I thought I'd smoothed over whatever was wrong with him, but then this morning he just..."

Quatre's eyes widened and he leaned forward, certain he was about to hear that the Chinese boy had done something trully awful. Although he liked the boy from what he'd seen of him, he did remember how intimidating his glare had been when he'd first answered the door.

"...he told me to shut up."

"That's all?!" Sitting back in his chair, Quatre scowled at the boy in front of him. "That's why you're mad at him?"

"You don't get it," Duo said, glaring as he stared at the boy, "I wasn't talking." The blonde looked completely confused and he sighed as he shook his head. "I know, it beats the hell out of me, too. I mean, I've been told I talk too much, and being told to shut up is nothing new to me, but...he didn't even have a reason to say it." Finishing off his food, he wadded up the silver foil before taking a long drink from the tall cup in front of him. "I actually thought we were getting along pretty good. Sure, he didn't say much, but I only saw him last night and this morning. Then, he goes out for about fifteen minutes and when he gets back he glares at me and tells me to shut up. Actually," his eyes narrowed and he glared at the table, "his exact words were to shut up and leave him alone."

"And you hadn't said anything?" Quatre asked, his voice soft. He couldn't tie Duo's story to the quiet boy he'd met earlier and he fought the urge to seek the black-haired boy out as if a second glance would reveal a different person.

"Hell no, I was just sitting on my bed, tying my shoes and in he comes, all angry at me. All I did was look up."

"Maybe you should talk to him, it might clear up whatever's bothering him." The boy across from him didn't seem too happy with his suggestion, and Quatre sighed. "Well, maybe there's some sort of misunderstanding."

"Forget it, I'm not speaking to him. Even if I end up rooming with him for the entire year."

Again, Quatre frowned at the words and decided that as Duo's 'friend', prying wouldn't be uncalled for. "Do you plan to leave the school before then?"

"Probably," Duo nodded, his anger evaporating at the desolate look on the boy's face. "But maybe not. I mean, this school isn't that bad, right?"

"Then you aren't thinking of leaving because of Wufei?"

"Him?!" Duo laughed suddenly, his eyes sparkling as he leaned back and shook his head, folding his arms over his chest. "No way! I wouldn't run away just because one person makes me mad. No, I just figure something will probably happen and I'll end up leaving, that's all. This is the first school like this I've gone to, and so far, aside from you, I don't like anyone here."

It felt good to be the exception, and Quatre was a bit reassured. He had been surprised to think the boy might be leaving because of such a small fight, and while he still didn't know what exactly made Duo think he'd end up changing schools, at least it wasn't because of that. "I know how you feel, this isn't my type of school either."

* * *

There was a curfew of ten at the school, but it wasn't enforced and no one patrolled the halls to regulate the official lights-out policy. For this reason, Wufei was awake when the sound came. Duo had shown up a few minutes before nine and the boy fell asleep with seeming ease, obviously not bothered by the lamp Wufei had on over his desk. Although he'd looked at the boy when he came in, he'd been ignored, so he decided to work off his frustrated emotions by doing homework. It didn't really help any, but it did get his mind off other things. When he heard the knocking, he looked up for a second before continuing with what he was doing. There was no reason for him to concern himself since it hadn't come from his door. It wasn't until he heard the bed creak that he realized he wasn't the only one who'd heard the soft sound.

Sitting up, Duo was wide awake in seconds. He didn't sleep deeply as a rule and his ears strained as he listened to the silence, a sharp glance to Wufei revealing that the sound hadn't come from him. Then the tapping sounded and he knew what had woken him.

Wufei's eyes widened a bit when the long-haired boy glared and swung his legs over the bed, moving with surprising grace to the door. His bare feet didn't make a sound and the Chinese boy had to admire the way he moved. Then he was startled as Duo suddenly cursed and unlocked the door, disappearing through it without so much as a glance towards him. Getting to his feet, Wufei wasn't sure what to do, and he looked at the closed door with uncertainty.

His and Quatre's rooms were the last two on that side of the hall, and Duo had known what was going on as soon as he'd heard the knocking coming from his right. Having inspected the locks the school provided, he'd been disgusted by how simple they were and while he doubted there were many in the school who could pick them, they would be easy to break. As soon as he left his room, his suspicions were confirmed and his eyes narrowed when the dark-haired boy turned in surprise. He had his arms folded over his chest so his hands were hidden, and Duo knew he didn't look threatening at all. Raising an eyebrow at the boy, he leaned against the wall beside Quatre's door.

He'd been startled when the boy's door had opened, but Donald relaxed again when he saw who it was, recognizing the boy easily. "Well hi, didn't mean to wake you up," he said, his voice rather high pitched for his age.

"What are you doing?" Duo asked, his statement carefully done so he looked curious. "It's late." He knew what the tall boy was doing, but if there was a way to keep from resorting to violence, he was determined to try it. The boy didn't look especially bright.

"Don't you worry about me," the boy said. He smiled as he looked over the long-haired boy, his brown eyes glinting and his lips moving to reveal a broken smile as one of his teeth had obviously been knocked out somehow. "You just go on back to bed."

"I can't do that." The boy didn't seem to get it, and Duo fought his irritation as he waited for him to make some sort of move. He could well imagine how Quatre was reacting right now and he hated the thought of the sweet boy being worried. He was just grateful he hadn't opened his door. While the pathetic lock couldn't have stopped the boy from entering, it seemed he was trying more passive methods at the moment. "See, that's my friend's room, and I'm sure he's too tired for visitors right now."

"Is he?" Donald let out a high pitched laugh that was surprisingly quiet in the deserted hall and raked a large hand through his black hair, making the short strands stand upright. "Well that's too bad, I was wanting to talk to him."

"Yeah," Duo nodded, "It's a shame." His teeth hurt from clenching them together and he wished more than anything the boy would just try to break down the door. Anything that would give him an excuse to hurt him. Sure, the boy was big, but Duo had been aching for a fight since gym that morning when he'd seen the way Donald and his friends had stared at Quatre. He knew the type.

"I don't know, I would say he's probably awake now."

Duo's left eye twitched, but he kept his movement slow as he turned his head to look at the boy who walked towards them. Also tall, he had reddish blonde hair that curled over his forehead and pale blue eyes. Duo recognized him immediately, and his body tensed as he was suddenly on the watch for any more of them. One he could handle, maybe two, but if the entire gang showed up, he knew there'd be trouble. "Just leave him alone," he warned, his voice low as he glared at the tall boy who came to stand beside his friend.

"Me?" The boy's mouth curved as he smirked and he shook his head slowly, eyes glinting. "Oh, I'm not interested in him at all. My name's Travis," he said, his tone smooth as he extended his hand to the boy. "And you're Duo, is that right?"

Duo didn't answer as he waited for the boy to lay one finger on him, just one. That would be enough for him and then he could finish what the black-haired boy had started.

"You aren't very polite," Travis said lightly, still smirking as he glanced at the boy beside him. "Donald here has been looking forward to speaking with your friend. It would be rude to interfere, and not wise either."

"I'm not wise," Duo said, his voice still low. "And I'm going to interfere." The boy stepped towards him and it was all he could do not to smile in relief, his muscles tensed as he continued to wait.

Travis let his eyes fall over the black shirt and pants the boy had been sleeping in, and he smirked as he leaned his hands on the wall to either side of Duo's head. "You're a regular spit-fire, aren't you."

"Why don't you try something and find out," Duo murmured, his eyes daring the boy to move.

"Hmm." Staring into the blazing violet eyes inches from his, Travis smiled slowly. He glanced at his friend from the corner of his eye when Donald laughed, then he moved a hand to touch the boy's hair.

It wasn't much, but it was enough and Duo buried a fist in the boy's stomach, catching him completely off guard. Shoving the boy back when he threatened to crumple on top of him, his violet eyes glinted and he turned on the black-haired boy as that one stepped toward his fallen comrad in surprise. It was a simple thing to knock him down as he punched the tall boy in the neck, those brown eyes widening as he struggled to breath. Travis had obviously recovered, and Duo knelt by him as the boy rose to his knees and he used his elbow to knock him down again, the blow to the back of his head making him sag.

Stepping back, Duo couldn't help but grin at the two boys laying on the floor, Donald's eyes wide as he gasped in hoarse breaths. He caught the stunned boy's gaze and gestured to where the other boy lay, his grin disappearing. "Get him out of here before someone comes and I'll stop now. Otherwise," he did smile as he stared at the boy, knowing how humiliating it must be to accept threats from someone half his size, "I won't be held responsible for my actions."

* * *

Wufei nearly stood up again when Duo came back into the room. He'd heard muffled voices from the hall, but since none had been raised he hadn't felt the need to investigate. He was sure the American wouldn't have wanted him too since he obviously hated him now. But the smile on Duo's face when he came back into the room caught him by surprise and he stared. Even when he looked at him, the violet eyed boy didn't lose that smile and Wufei blinked in surprise when he was given a nod.

Rubbing his elbow absentmindedly, Duo moved to his desk. It had been wonderful to fight again and as quickly as Donald had removed his friend, he was sure there wouldn't be reprecutions, at least not from the school. As in the old days, he scrawled a note on a piece of paper and ripped it from his notebook. Pulling off the small ribbon he tied his hair with, he smiled again. It didn't take long to roll the paper into a tube and he tied the black cloth around it, leaving the room again as he slipped it under Quatre's door. He was sure the boy would know it was him, but there was pleasure to be found in the gesture. When he returned to his room, he locked the door and smiled at Wufei again, knowing the Chinese boy was probably confused. But he wasn't angry anymore, and he slept very well.

* * *

~~----------------------------------------------~~

Quatre,

No worries. I've got your back.

Shinigami

~~---------------------------------------------~~

Quatre reread the small note at least five times before he hid it away in the small box beneath his bed. It fit well on top of the pictures of his mother. He hadn't known what to do when he'd heard the quiet knocking, but opening the door hadn't been an option. Sitting on his bed, he rubbed the black ribbon between his fingers and smiled as he imagined Duo standing up for him. While he wasn't sure what had happened, he felt warm in the knowledge that he had a friend, a good one. As he fell asleep, he reminded himself to ask the American what Shinigami meant.

* * *
TBC

--notes--
I'm seeing lots of variations in the pairings so I'll give fair warning. While this fic *will* have 1x2 and 3x4 as the main pairings, others may also show up. I'm not sure yet.