hm. gomen for yet another conversation piece. it makes it easier on me. *blushes guiltily* er... hopefully i got my french right. and my japanese! geez. well, the french is stuff i -just- went over in class... *hopeful*. as for the japanese... i switched, like, a word or two from a sentence i already knew. hopefully i have a good enough grasp on grammar to have done it right. o.O;;;



Find Me



Zechs slipped into his own office and shut the door.

He rarely hid things from Treize and he was infinitely gratefully that Treize trusted him enough to keep secrets. Besides, Treize would most assuredly find out soon enough.

Frowning, Zechs wondered what Treize had seen in the photographs. They'd been pictures of the 4 leaders of the group; fairly clear pictures, surprisingly. Two girls, two boys. He had to admit to himself that the girls were somewhat attractive, as were the boys. But that wouldn't make Treize react like that, would it?

"Duo." Zechs said the boy's name out loud. How odd that things were so tied together. When would Heero find out his lover was his target?

And how had he known? Zechs almost chuckled to himself. 'Completely by chance,' he thought. 'Absolute chance. Seeing Heero and Duo walking through the city together, without a care in the world. Realizing who Duo was. Treize hasn't seen Duo yet; he only knows there's someone in Heero's life now.'

Soberly, Zechs tried to analyze pros and cons. He didn't really think Tristan Mordaux could be a threat as is, but one could never tell. Tristan - no, Duo - seemed to be a cynical teen, and he doubted-

'Nevermind,' Zechs told himself. 'More secrets. More things all parties involved do not know. And I'm sure there are pieces to this puzzle I am not yet aware of. Whatever Treize realized. This is going to be messy, regardless of how we go about this.'

He paused. 'Maybe I should tell Treize.'

But if he told Treize... he wasn't sure what would happen.

"And Heero deserves love," Zechs whispered to himself. "So now what?"


Suddenly Heero found himself pulling Duo close to him, murmuring, "Shh, shh, it's okay. I - I hope you want to stay. I hope you want to stay with me." Duo began sobbing into his chest, wrapping his arms around Heero's waist.

"I do," came the muffled reply.

Heero sighed. "Duo," he pleaded. "But I - loving me is a liability," he finished quietly.

The sobs suddenly stopped and Duo pulled himself away abruptly. "What's that supposed to mean?" he demanded.

With a gulp, Heero hesitantly reached out to wipe away a tear. Duo didn't move. "I am not so good at expressing emotions," he began. "And... I don't want you to be hurt."

"What's that got to do with the price of peas in Persia?"

Heero blinked in surprise. Duo was staring at him intently; they were sitting close, but not touching, Duo under the covers and Heero cross-legged on top of them.


Looking at Heero's completely befuddled statement, Duo began to smile, then giggle. Finally he had to choke back an outright laugh when Heero grew only more confused.

"It's an statement," Duo finally said, subsiding. "Not sure if it's the exact statement, but that's what Bella and I used to say." He sobered, mentioning Bella. 'Bella. I wonder how she's doing. Damn, she thought I was leaving for Paradise. And here am I, desperately in love with someone who says he's not good with emotions. Aw, fuck.'


"So," Duo said, swiftly bringing the conversation back on topic. "What does expressing emotions have to do with hurting me?"

Heero found himself speechless - 'no big feat,' he thought to himself. He sat for a moment just collecting his thoughts, while Duo waited patiently.

"If you were to... care for me," Heero began slowly. "I'm afraid... of you caring too much for me. Because... in my... line of work, I am a walking target." He looked Duo squarely in the eye. "My life expectancy is perhaps 30 years. If you were to care for me, my dying would hurt you, would it not?" he finished in almost a whisper.

"It would." Duo's words scarcely carried across the small distance between them.

"And," Heero swallowed. "I could - could never deal with that possibility. I am too afraid to hurt you."

Duo's eyes dropped to his hands, which were fidgeting with the blanket. There was silence for a few minutes, save for shallow breathing. Just as Heero had gathered the courage to suggest a move to Quatre's, Duo spoke, not looking up. "So maybe that'll happen. There are always worst-case scenarios." He peeked through his bangs. "I say might as well give it a shot," he added uncertainly.

Heero stared at Duo in shock. He'd given the beautiful boy every reason and opportunity to leave, and yet he wouldn't.

'Does he really love me?'

'Does he really care enough to face imminent pain?'

'Does he really want to stay with me?'

A thousand questions flickered across Heero's face in rapid succession.

Duo did the first thing that came to mind. He reached forward and drew Heero into his arms, tenderly placing his lips on those of his lover.


Treize stared at a pile of papers in front of him. With a sigh, he reached forward and shuffled some of them. Staring again. More shuffling.

'There's something important here,' Treize thought to himself, rubbing his temples. 'And those girls...'

With an audible groan, Treize leaned backwards in his chair, simply staring at the ceiling. "Life," he told the ceiling fan, "has gotten far too complicated." The fan merely spun around in acquiescence or dispute, Treize wasn't sure.

The most important things he had were a few pictures. And even with them, he wasn't entirely sure about anything. Speculations, guesswork... it was driving him crazy. There was nothing tangible right now. And he felt a little concerned about trusting a random group, even if he had all their information in front of him.

With a growl, Treize threw some papers across the room just as the door opened. Lady Une ducked a particularly high-velocity high-mass projectile seemingly aimed for her head.

"Treize-sama?" she inquired respectfully, straightening back up."

"I'm sorry for that, Lady Une," Treize sighed.


"There's a word for it," was the wry answer. He leaned back in the chair again, this time inspecting a crack in the ceiling.

Lady Une dropped and picked up the wayward papers, then setting them on the desk. "Perhaps you should take a break. It's lunch time."

Treize glanced at a clock. "I hadn't noticed. Thank you, Lady."

Lady Une simply nodded and withdrew.

After a moment, Treize rose from his chair, settled the papers into a neat stack, and walked out of his office, realizing he was somewhat hungry. He wondered if anyone was going out for Chinese.

Just as he closed the door behind him, he was forced to step backwards as Relena and Toby came barreling down the hallway.

They tumbled to a stop, breathless. "Sorry, Treize!" they chorused.

Treize grinned. "Where were you guys running to?"

This seemed to remind them of their destination. "Hotdog stand set up right outside the building!" and they were off again.

As Dorothy walked up calmly, following her friends, Treize murmured, "Hot dog stand?"

Dorothy smiled. "We hate looking for them, or having to go far for them. And besides, if you're going to have something gross, greasy, and with uncertain contents, why not go for it in its worst form: by a city vendor?"

Treize blanched a little from Dorothy's description. "I'm going to get Chinese," he murmured. Dorothy laughed.



A shot.





"Fire. Down."

"Fire. Down."

"Fire. Down."

Heero hit the center of the target each time, blindfolded, even as he pulled the gun off the target after each shot. He pulled off the blindfold and blandly looked at the target. "I'm pulling to the left a little."

His instructor didn't answer his comment. "Blindfold back on. Moving targets."

Heero obeyed without a word.

Not 30 seconds later, 5 targets were down, hit in the center. Moving targets. All he could go by was hearing and feeling. Hear them move, feel them move.

"You're getting better. Not perfect."

"I know. I will continue until I am perfect."



Heero's mind shut down and all he could feel was the comforting arms holding him, the whispers into his hair, promising to try. He reached out and held his lover close to him, praying that he would never have a need to let go.

'He loves me...?'


"Hand to hand combat. Yuy, Catalonia."

The two stepped forward. Heero in tank top and spandex shorts. Dorothy in tank top and loose pants. They stood and faced each other, waiting for a command.

Zechs was conducting the combat sequence. Almost carelessly, he intoned, "5 minutes, or first broken bone. Now."

Heero and Dorothy didn't move for a breath. Then, suddenly, they were flying around the room, delivering kicks and blows, blocking, ducking, feinting, rolling.

Heero got points for first blood, having punched Dorothy in the face, causing her lip to bleed. Dorothy retaliated by kicking Heero to the ground. She reached down to pull him up, and Heero flipped over her, pulling her down in the process. But he gasped as Dorothy wrenched his wrist in the process, probably spraining it. With a slight hiss of pain, he mentally adjusted to work more with the other arm.

Dorothy lashed out again, trying to finished the job by breaking his wrist. But Heero dodge to the side and delivered a blow to her stomach that knocked the wind out of her. Instinctively she tumbled off to the side, even as she tried to breath; she felt the wind of Heero's kick ruffle her hair.

As she was getting up, Heero managed to punch her in the shoulder, but not before Dorothy twisted the same wrist again, this time evoking a growl of pain. Still, the wrist wasn't broken yet. Although well on its way.

Quickly, Dorothy ducked down, trying to trip Heero. But Heero rolled to the side, tucking his injured wrist to his stomach, evading the foot that came flying at his legs.

So far, not a word had been spoken.

Again it was a mess of whirling limbs for a moment, as Heero tried to ignore the pain in his wrist and Dorothy staunchly bore the aching in her shoulder. Heero managed to get Dorothy down again, but couldn't follow up, as Dorothy delivered a kick to his stomach, from the ground.

Breathing heavily, Dorothy rose. Both eyed each other.

Now it was slowing down, both sides more wary, wanting to beat the other within the allotted 5 minutes, trying to ascertain exactly how injured they and the opponent were.

Just as they flung themselves at each other again, Zechs barked, "Time. Yuy, Catalonia, report to Sally Po for meds. I don't want to see either of you out of there for at least 20 minutes, then 3 hours rest, at least. She's the doctor."

Nodding breathlessly, Heero and Dorothy helped each other out of the room.

Before they left, Zechs called out, "Good work, you two." Then, "Barton, Schbeiker. Pick a weapon each. One."

Heero turned to see Trowa pick up a set of throwing knives as Hilde grasped a wrapped staff.

"Rules: guys, try not to kill each other," Zechs said wryly, just as Heero left the room.


"I'm willing to try if you are," Heero finally said, averting his eyes.

A soft sigh. "Damn you." Heero started, but Duo's arms held onto him firmly. "Damn you for making me love you," Duo finished quietly. "I couldn't leave if my soul depended on it."

Heero was startled he had come to the conclusion that Duo was in some form a religious Christian. Such a statement was certainly serious. Looking up, Heero locked eyes with the one he'd fallen desperately in love with. So far in love that he was trying to push himself away. Trying to save Duo from being hurt. Trying, he realized, to save himself from being hurt. Again. He'd been hurt before, and he didn't want to go through that experience again.

But Duo seemed so different.

And he brought up a good point. Take what you can take, live life to the fullest for the future is scarce.

"I love you," Heero breathed, not daring to say it any louder.

Duo heard. "Love you."

They tumbled backwards onto the bed together, curled up in each others' arms and legs, simply content to be tangled together, like their lives were now tangled together. Heero slid under the blankets to get closer to his lover.

"Tu," Duo began in a slightly amused voice. "Tu m'embrouilles. Mais c'est bien, parce que je t'aime. N'oublie jamais. N'oublie jamais que je t'aime. Et je t'aimerai continuellement."

Heero began to smile. "Hai. Omae wa ore no mono da. Ore wa omae no mono da." Then, even softer, if it was possible, "Kore wa yume desu ka? Suki da. Suki desu, Duo." Almost inaudible, "Ai shiteru."

Feeling, if not understand, Heero's words, Duo snuggled closer. "Let's start this day over again," Duo suggested.

A smile crept onto Heero's lips. "All right," he agreed. "Good morning, beautiful."

Duo smiled.


"Is it happening?"

"Hope so."

"He call back yet?"


"Will he?" Impatiently.

"Damn, calm down! Shit, you're touchy!"

"I just want this fucking business over with."

"What's wrong?"

"...Nothing. I just want it to be over with, that's all."

Pensive silence. "Okay."

More silence. "So..."

"You're in SF by now, right?"


"You want to get together here?"

"You're here already?"


"Fuck, Alex, you can't tell me these things earlier?!"

A little laughter. "Sorry, Eri."

"Yeah, yeah, like shit you are."

"My foul language is rubbing of on you."

"Fuck yeah."

Laughter from both. Sobering. "I'm hoping it's happening."

Whispered, "It's for Nicky..."

"Yeah. And your dad. Don't lose sight on the reasons, love."

"I know. If I lose sight on my reasons..."

A deep breath. "You become no better than m-"

"Don't say that!"

She could almost see his weak grin. "Yeah, you know it's true. You're my guiding light, love. We'll get this done, get the money, and ship out of here. Find a nice little town in the middle of nowhere, and settle down."


"So we need this money. Last time..." Fading off.

"I know. Just-"


"Promise me this'll be the last time. Nicky's dead, Dad's dead; killing other people won't bring either of them back."

A quiet sigh. "You and I... we're both getting soft. Old age, I suppose." Forced laughter.

"Maybe we've just seen too much, Alex."

Thoughtfully. "Yeah, maybe."

"Promise me?"

"I promise. This is the last one."

A sigh. "Thank you."

"Don't thank me. We'll just get this fucking job down and fly. Parting present to the world, sort of like."

Alex couldn't see Eryn's sad smile. "Yeah."

"Love you. Gotta go. I'll call later for when to meet up, okay?"

"Okay. Love you."

"Stay safe. See you soon."



Were they really getting soft? Had they really seen too much? What was making them all slowly lose their resolve?

Or, rather, her and Alex. She wasn't quite sure about her twin and Mueller, but Eryn suspected Jess hated this business as much as she did.

Somewhere along the way, their locked-away hearts had managed to find the keys and unlock themselves. For better or for worse.

'One more job', she told herself grimly. 'And Mother, I'm sorry. Just this once, and I promise I'll never kill anyone ever again.'



Tu m'embrouilles. Mais c'est bien, parce que je t'aime. N'oublie jamais. N'oublie jamais que je t'aime. Et je t'aimerai continuellement. : You confuse me. But it's okay, because I love you. Never forget. Never forget that I love you. And I will love you forever.
Hai. Omae wa ore no mono da. Ore wa omae no mono da. : Yes. You belong to me. I belong to you.
Kore wa yume desu ka? Suki da. Suki desu, Duo. : Is this a dream? I love you. I love you, Duo.

hopefully all phrases in both languages are correct...

other notes: the whole hotdog thing? that is actually my reasoning for only eating hotdogs when i go down to the city. ^_~ "live life to the fullest for the future is scarce" is humbly ripped off of nicker carter. 'twas his quote in the 'millennium' album thanks. o.O it took me FOREVER to figure that out (it was in phone code). and after i did... i realized -that- was what had been floating around the internet since a week before the fricken album had been released. so. ^_~