Title: Hunting

Pairings: 1+2/2+1

Warnings: Contains light shonen ai.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters portrayed in this story. No
money was made from this, and this was done totally for fun.

Archiving: If you do not have previous permission, please ask. Will also
show up on my page, URL is in the sig.

Notes: This is the second sequel to my story 'Modus Operandi' and is
happening concurrent to 'Cinematic Bliss'.

I've actually got a title for this arc! It's called 'Life Rules'. And it is
so titled on my webpage.

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Hunting
by Ninjababe <nagisa@millenicom.com>
=====

"We have accepted a perilous mission. Hunting through the wilds of a mall, we've been sent to track the allusive, dangerous Relena. No matter what horrors await us, no matter what injuries we incur, we will not stop tracking until she returns to her natural habitat!" Duo's melodramatic speech, whispered to Heero and the pyramid of platypus stuffed animals the two pilots were hidden behind, was punctuated by the American pointing his finger to the sky. "Mission accepted." [1]

"Hn," Heero snorted, amused. "Idiot."

"That's me," Duo replied, grinning. "So, are we just going to trail her, or actually mess with her head? How long until the guys pick us up anyway?"

"We'll be picked up in one hour, ten minutes, and thirty seconds from... mark," Heero replied as he stared at the clock above the toy store's entrance. "And, we're going to mess with her head."

"You know, when we're not on a mission, it *is* OK to use approximations for time."

"Here."

Duo looked at the floor plan Heero handed him. "What's this?"

"Blueprints for the mall. Key codes for the locks are listed on the back. We might need it to keep up with Relena."

Duo took a few moments to stare at the floorplan. "She still there?" he muttered as he folded the map up and putting it in one of his many pockets.

"Yes," Heero muttered back, glaring at Relena, who was leaning against the railing, watching intently the people passing before her. "I'll be right back," he added with a small smile.

Duo grinned as he watched the Japanese man slip to the back of the toy store and through the 'employees only' door. He then turned to watch Relena again.

After a few moments, he saw the girl stiffen and yell, "Heero!" before running for the escalator.

Getting up, Duo gave the startled salesclerk a blinding smile, then rushed over to the railing Relena had recently vacated. He got there just in time to see Heero's head in the crowd before disappearing down a hallway leading to the restroom and one of the employee area of the mall. Pulling out the floorplan, Duo traced a route from the store that had been their current base of operations, downstairs, out into the public walkway, and back to the employee's only area. Looking up, he saw Relena standing in the middle of the crowd, hands on her hips, mad at having lost Heero again.

"She has to be kept interested for this to last," Heero said from behind the braided pilot, his breath brushing Duo's ear as he leant close and whispered.

Duo grinned. "And I thought *I* was evil. Well, if we're going follow her, we better get started before we lose her in the crowd."

Heero nodded in reply and headed for the escalator, striding down the steps instead of waiting for the machine to deposit him on the lower level.

"Of course, losing her wouldn't be *too* much of a hardship," Duo muttered to himself as he hopped on to up escalator and fought the upwards momentum to reach Heero's side. "Hey, it's fun… and it's a mini-workout!" he defended when he saw Heero's raised eyebrows. [2]

Snorting, Heero winded his way through the crowd, keeping Relena in his sight, but stayed far enough back not to be noticed.

Duo fell in step with his partner and started humming under his breath.

After following Relena around for forty five minutes and doing a little window shopping, the two watched her stop again to scan the crowd around her. Before her eyes had turned in their direction, Duo and Heero had ducked around a stand selling personal electronics.

"Hey, she's heading for the exit!" Duo exclaimed.

"Go stop her then."

"Why me?"

His usual monotone somehow conveying that the answer was obvious, Heero answered. "I went last time." Pausing, he added, "Mutant Venus fly trap."

Duo froze in confusion, one foot in mid-air, at the non-sequitor before his mind switched gears. "Let's keep it at least *slightly* realistic. And, falling piano." With that, he slipped across the throughway and around the crowd until he was able to approach Relena from the opposite direction from Heero's surveillance location.

"Hey, Relena-sama!" the braided pilot yelled, waving. Jogging over, he grinned widely.

"Duo," Relena replied, her voice neutral.

"I didn't think I'd find you!"

"Why did Heero leave so suddenly?" the woman asked, her eyes sad.

"Eh, we were pulled away by a new mission," Duo replied, not mentioning that their current 'mission' was to follow and harry her.

"Where is he now?"

Duo pointed in the general direction of Heero's hiding place. "He's that way. Come on, I'll lead you."

Making sure the young woman was following him, Duo strode through the crowd, grinning madly at the cart Heero was skulking around. Seeing Heero glare at him, the American pilot stuck his tongue out and continued to walk past him, leading Relena into the depths of the mall.

"What is that idiot doing?" Heero muttered as he followed Duo, who had gotten farther ahead of Relena. He watched as Duo suddenly got lost in the crowded exodus from the movie theater and winced when Relena started to call out "Duo? Duo? Heero?"

"We better get out of here before she reaches glass shattering decibels," Duo said, appearing beside his partner.

"Time to go meet the others."

"We're just going to leave her here to wander aimlessly?" Duo asked, looking mildly shocked.

Heero gave a slightly affirmative nod.

"Cool."

The two exited the mall and waited outside for the other pilots to come pick them up. They didn't have long to wait, as Wufei glided the car to a stop in front of them a few moments later.

"Can I drive?"

"No, Maxwell, you can not."

Duo, who was sitting on the back seat with Trowa and Quatre, stuck his tongue out at the back of Wufei's head and waggled his fingers from the side of his head.

"Did you two have a good time?" Quatre asked.

Heero thought a moment, then nodded.

Duo was a bit more vocal. "Yep! We ran into Relena…"

"And that was fun?" Wufei asked, shocked.

"We were playing the MO game when she showed up… Girl *still* doesn't have a clue what we're talking about," Duo continued with a chuckle. "Anyway, we lost her, and then spent the rest of the time stalking her for a change while we waited for you guys. But… enough about us… did you enjoy the movie?"

"Oh… it wasn't bad… but, we missed the ending," Quatre replied.

Duo was shocked. "How could you have missed the best part?!"

The five pilots traded their stories on the way back to their apartment building.

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Le End

[1] Ever see a platypus stuffed animal? I have one... Really cute. Her name is Daisy (I can't believe I remember the name. I've had the animal for 12 years!)

[2] He's right about that… it's tough to overcome the momentum when you're going the opposite direction than the escalator. I, and my 8th grade class, found that out during a trip to the British Science Museum in London. I've been trying to ride escalators the wrong direction ever since.