Sorry for the crossposting, minna-san. My psychotic desire for feedback again... ^^ This one's for the people who wanted a Crucible sequel, since it is a Crucible sequel! It's nice to know that somebody likes my fics enough to want them continued!! *^_^* This fic was asked for a while ago. I don't remember by who, though. If you're the responsible, please tell me, and I'll give you the inspirational credit for it! ^_^

Also, I know that since I posted the first, I have joined new lists, and, more importantly, there has been a huge, gigantic influx of newbies! This is not a bad thing, oh, no no. But, for all of you who never read the first, if you have any interest, you can go here:

http://lamangust.freeservers.com/works/crucible.html

Notes: This is actually the first fic I began (not finished) that had characters other than Heero and Duo in it. Evviva the Gboys!! All of them! Yes, that thing at the end is a cliffhanger! Why? Because my little Wu-bear hasn't shown up yet! That will come. Sooner or later...

Warnings: Oh, well. Let's see. YAOI 1+2 and 3+4, some sap, and lots of talking. There are several semi-sexual references, but they are not that bad. There are also massive portions of good humor and possibly an OOC alert. There's no real action, but I think I can get away with that once in a while! ^_^

Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me and I am making no money doing this. Suing me is no good, since the sum total of my posessions is a rather small anime and manga collection, one rather smelly little dog, and my beloved computer!
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Limelight
by LaMangust

“The country, the planet, indeed, the entire Earthsphere was shocked yesterday by the uncovering of the secret relationship between infamously celibate rock sensation Duo Maxwell and war veteran Heero Yuy. The couple has been together for more than two months now, and the news was not a surprise to all. Still, the revelation did not come without some sacrifice. Several major names in the music industry have denied any knowledge of Maxwell’s relationship, and decline any responsibility should his career suffer because of it…”

“Despite apparent initial controversy and indecision about Duo Maxwell’s confession of his homosexuality, his popularity has risen among the young, shown in the rapid climb of his albums and single cuts to the top of the charts. The outgoing, lovable star was very open about his relationship with Yuy in a recent press conference, admitting that his affections for the former soldier have lingered for many years…”

“Yet another shocking truth was revealed to the world today, regarding rock superstar Duo Maxwell’s mysterious and as yet untold story. He and the war hero of the same name whose image he was believed to have borrowed are, in fact, one and the same person. This astonishing fact was made known when inquiries about his connection to partner Heero Yuy brought up the service records of both. The two former Gundam pilots admitted reluctantly to having fought in and won the Eve Wars against the United Earthsphere Alliance almost four years ago…”

Trowa sank back into the cushions of the couch, allowing himself an almost-smile. Leave it to Duo to be making headlines for two months straight.

He heard someone enter the room behind him, the light step revealing the person’s identity immediately. His lover came around the couch and sat down near him, leaning his golden head against Trowa’s shoulder. On the screen, Duo and Heero were leaving some public function, running to jump into a limo before the flashing cameras caught them. Quatre watched the scene on the television for a moment before speaking.

“Ne, Trowa. Aren’t you glad they finally admitted how they felt about each other?” His voice was content.

“Hm.”

Quatre nodded at his taciturn partner’s response, or lack thereof, sighing happily, “It was so obvious for such a long time. Sometimes I wanted to shake them both and force them to talk. Looks like they got around to it all on their own.”

“Yes. Just as we did.”

The smaller boy smiled up at Trowa, who smiled ever-so-slightly in return. Then he turned back to the screen, which was now showing individual shots of Duo and Heero that Quatre remembered from their days spent at schools around the world as a reporter’s voice droned in the background. He wasn’t listening. It wasn’t like there was anything the television could tell him that he already didn’t know. “I wish we could get together more often. Not once in all these years. You’d think that comrades would at least honor each other with a visit every so often.”

“Don’t worry, koi. I’m sure they’ll come when they’re good and ready.”

“Yes,” said a voice from the doorway, “They will indeed.”

Trowa and Quatre both stood quickly, spinning to face the doorway and the two there.

“Duo! Heero!” Quatre’s eyes were wide as he looked at the two grinning faces, so familiar yet… different. Quatre did a double take at Heero. He was… smiling. Gods, the good Duo had been doing him. They looked as if the war had never happened and they had always been two happy teenagers leading only slightly abnormal lives.

The small Arabian went forward to greet them, extending his hand, and was immediately seized in a bear hug by Duo. “What?” he laughed, “you think that after four years I’m just going to shake your hand and sit down for a nice chat? No way! I feel celebrating!” Quatre watched as Duo’s eyes sparkled, and returned the hug.

“You fiend! Where have you been all this time? Oh, never mind! I know where. You can’t go a week without making headlines.” He was grinning so widely his face almost hurt. Trowa came up behind him and was attacked by Duo much in the same way the same way the smallest of the pilots had been.

He turned to greet Heero, smile widening to astonishing proportions. “And here we have the latest headline, I see…” He winked at Heero, who smirked back.

“Hn.”

Quatre pursed his lips and make scolding noises. “Oh, tsk tsk. Still not very talkative, I see. Duo, what are you doing to remedy this dreadful situation?” Duo grabbed Heero’s arm, linking it with his own, and grinned mischievously.

“I haven’t really thought about it, Q-man. He’s certainly very vocal in…” That was as far as he got, however, because Heero suddenly had him in a headlock, hand pressed firmly over his mouth and blushing furiously.

“Shut up, baka.” He tried to look stern, but his face refused to cooperate and he soon released Duo, who couldn’t control his convulsive laughter. Quatre simply shook his head at the pair. They looked wonderful.

“Why don’t we sit down?” he suggested. Before the words had finished leaving his mouth, Duo had bounded by him and vaulted over the back of the sofa, landing with a thump in the soft cushions.

He looked back over the couch at Quatre. “Still so formal, eh? Well, allow me to make myself at home!”

“You never had any problem with that, Duo.”

Quatre joined the braid-bearing ex-pilot while Trowa and Heero greeted each other in their sparsely worded way. The small blonde’s uchuu no kokoro was, as far as he was concerned, highly over-rated, but it told him what a strong bond these two had shared, if only for a short time. He was glad that they trusted each other. Trust had been an absolutely essential element in their dealing during the war, and had brought them together into the small, mismatched family they were.

Duo had kicked off his shoes and was stretching lazily. “Ahh! This is great, Quatre! I’d forgotten how nice your place is, or I would have been by more often! What have you been doing all this time?” An impish smirk appeared on his face. “Besides Trowa, I mean.”

The comment had the desired effect. Quatre blushed a deep, deep red. “Um… ano…”

“Heh heh… Don’t get all worked up, Q. I’m just teasing. Really, what have you been up to? I know some of what you’ve been doing with the business. I follow the news about your corporation when I get the chance.” He looked suddenly sobered. “It was the least I could manage, to keep up with old friends.”

Quatre noticed his change in attitude, and smiled gently. “Well, it’s certainly nice that you did. I don’t think many have the patience for what it is I do.”

Duo’s grin sprang to life again. “Well, I had a vested interest, cause way up there, you own me, too, ya know!”

Quatre frowned in surprise, a very interesting look indeed. “Really? I had no idea!”

“Yeah,” Duo shrugged, “that’s a fact. Actually, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to come see you. There are, of course, some non-self-serving motives as well!”

“No,” retorted Heero from the other side of the room, “there are never any of those with you, and you know it.” Duo’s face was happy, but Quatre could see what was worrying him.

“Now, Heero,” he said as gently as possible, “you know that’s not true. If it were, he would have jumped you five years ago!” The all laughed, but Heero caught the gentle rebuke in the small Arabian’s words, and walked to where Duo was, sitting next to him and putting an arm around him in apology. Duo happily accepted.

The four ex-terrorists, seated comfortably, shared a moment of silence, simply enjoying each other’s company as they had not done in so many years. It was definitely a pleasant feeling. Quatre finally spoke, breaking the silence, but making the atmosphere no less companionable.

“Have you been enjoying your life?” The question was directed at neither Duo nor Heero in particular, and surprisingly, it was Heero who answered.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy in my entire life.” Quatre could sense the sincerity in the words, and wanted to cry, he was so happy for them. If there was one thing he had hated most about living the war, it was not the suffering of the people around the world, or even his own. It had been the pain of two of his greatest friends. And one so easily remedied, yet so delicate. He had never dared say anything to either, and at the end of the war had given up all hope for the chance that they might get together. But things had indeed turned out as he had always hoped they would. He couldn’t stop the happy smiles from coming.

“So what did you want to talk about in particular, anyway?” He felt comfortable in the company of old friends, family even, enough to ask the question.

Duo’s look turned rather serious, ensconced though he was in Heero’s arms. “Actually, Q-man, you’ve already answered my question.”

Quatre was puzzled, and must have looked so, for Trowa chuckled gently against him and Duo laughed outright. “What I mean is, remember when I told you you own me? You were surprised, you obviously didn’t know, so you answered the question I came here to ask.”

“That still doesn’t explain much, Duo. What was the question? Simply if I knew or not?” Quatre was trying very hard to see what Duo was getting at, since it obviously made him uncomfortable.

“Nah. It’s just that, well, you see…” Quatre knew he was right. If Duo was having trouble talking about it, it was most definitely a touchy subject. “Mou, when Heero and I were… discovered. We were, you know. We didn’t ‘come out,’ as they say. Anyway, people were concerned that my… career would suffer for it. And I had some pretty nasty threats made to me by people above me. Your people. I just wondered if you had known, that was all, because it didn’t seem to me like something you would do to anyone, seeing your standing with Trowa for one, and especially not to an old friend. I was just curious, that’s all.”

Quatre was shocked by the story. True, he had heard on the news that Duo had had a rough spot when he and Heero were uncovered, but to the best of his knowledge, it had worked out nicely for Duo in the end. He had never really thought about trying to help Duo, since he didn’t think he had any jurisdiction. Now, knowing what his subordinates had done to his friend, he was shocked and more than a bit angry, though he knew better than to let it show.

“That’s incredible! Why would they do something like that?”

Duo quirked his lip. “I dunno. Just something else to attack, I suppose. They do it all the time. I never really doubted you, Q-man. I just wanted to know if you knew, that’s all.” Duo seemed very anxious to inform him of that fact, as though he now wondered if his career was going to be gone because of something he had said to offend Quatre.

The blonde pilot decided he had to change this attitude right away. “Well, of course I didn’t! If I had known that the famous Duo Maxwell was putting money into my bank account, I would have taken a much more active role, let me tell you! Not to mention giving you more of the money!”

Duo smirked. “Yeah…” He seemed at a loss for words, once again. Well, from what Quatre had understood, since the end of the war, he had become much more reclusive and contemplative. All the better, he supposed, but the bouncy, boisterous boy he knew was rarer now than he had been. It was a sobering sight.

At that moment, when the room was immersed in silence, a servant came to the door. “Quatre-sama,” she said lightly, “will your guests be staying for dinner?” Her voice revealed she knew all too well who the “guests” were, and she was quite love-struck at the sight of one in particular. Quatre smiled at her.

“Um…” he looked at Heero, who smiled again. “Yes, Shireen, they will. Thank you.” When she was gone again, Trowa spoke. “Since when does the perfect soldier smile so often?” His tone was teasing, but they all knew what great importance the question held for their small, war-torn family as they had been during the war.

Heero looked pensively at Duo, who smiled at him. “I think, Trowa, since the god of death got his hands on me and taught me a little about living.” The words were corny to his own ears, but he knew it was alright to say such things with these people, and for once he was grateful that there was someone to share such confidences with. Once upon a time, there had been only his mission, and Duo had steadily invaded that. But, at the same time, they had both been enveloped in a small family unit consisting of five warrior boys, trained to be mature beyond their age and kill with the skill of professionals. They had been professionals, and had needed each other because nobody else could ever understand.

Now, that friendship held still, and he was infinitely grateful that those men existed still. His thoughts had led him to one question, though. “What ever happened to Wufei?”

Quatre smiled. “Oh, he’s around. He’s just as famous as the rest of us for what he did in the war, but never really used it for anything. Then, come to think of it, neither did we. The public just recently found out that Duo was really who he said he was.”

Said pilot smirked. “I never said I wasn’t. I just never told them I was.” His voice dropped, fading to little more than a rough whisper. “I may run, I may hide, but I never lie.” He chuckled darkly, drawing a laugh from the others around the room. He chuckled darkly, drawing a laugh from the others around the room.

Shireen’s dark head appeared once again in the doorway, informing them that dinner was served. They stood to leave, walking close together, talking and laughing as they had done years ago. It felt right, and something that all had felt missing was finally restored, it seemed. The happy ending had come. Well, almost.

******owari*******

Tell me what you think? Please?? ^_^

-La-