7-16-2001

Gundam Wing
Cygnet Wings
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. Ain't gettin' paid.
Sequel to Emergence
Author's note: Since some lists did not get all of this fic, I am doing a repost of what I've written so far.

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-PART 1-

Trowa had always believed that life was easier for the rich. In my youth, filled with hardships, he had gazed at the stars in the rare moments when he could. Each one was a diamond to him, representing some child of wealth whose life was filled with easy days and golden dreams.

"But it wasn't easier for you," he whispered at the sleeping angel who lie upon his bed. "It must be so difficult being the only one of your kind. What did they do that to you for? Did they believe you needed to have wings to be an angel of hope? My precious Quatre. You were always an angel. Even when you had no wings."

*****

"Who was that on the phone?" Duo asked as he brought Heero a soda and opened his own.

"Trowa," Heero replied. "Something has happened to Quatre. Its nothing bad, but Quatre's a little upset about it. From what I gather, someone did an experiment on him when he was a child and now its reached fruition."

"What kind of experiment?" Duo asked.

Heero hesitated for a moment. Should he tell Duo or not? ~He'll find out eventually,~ his mind reasoned.

"Quatre has wings." he explained.

Duo's eyes lit up. "Really?"

Heero blinked. "Duo, you seem happy that someone's turned Quatre into a frea-" he was cut off abruptly when Duo slapped him. "What the hell?!"

"Never use that word about Quatre, Heero," Duo glared, "Never! He's our friend and I will not have you or anyone badmouthing him. Is that clear?"

Heero nodded. "I'm sorry. Duo, what's wrong? You seem a bit moodier than always."

"Quatre's doctors weren't the only ones who liked to experiment," Duo remarked cryptically as he left the room.

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-PART 2-

Heero turned back to his laptop, searching for anything he could find about the experiments Duo had alluded to. What had Duo gone through as a child? What torments had some twisted mind subjected him to? Finally, after much searching, he found what he had been searching for:

"Project number 897-6A4," he read to himself, "May 4th. All is going well. Host subject is healthy. No signs of rejection at this time. Host is male. Approximately 9 years of age.. Sole survivor of recent local tragedy. June 8th. Still no signs of rejection. Host complaining of fatigue, discomfort. Prelim shows no reason to discontinue experiment at this time. July 5th. Project self-terminated. Host remains in critical condition. LIkelihood of survival is at 20 percent at this time. Reason for miscarriage unknown at this time."

Heero stared at the screen in disbelief. "unknown?! He was a nine year old kid!" he couldn't believe it. Duo had been pregnant in childhood. They had made him carry a baby when he had been little more than a baby himself. The idea shocked and sickened Heero. He wondered what it had been like for the nine-yaer-old to deal with a miscarriage. Especially after the Maxwell Church Tragedy.

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-PART 3-

Duo was looking at a scar that ran across his abdomen when Heero located him. Concerned, Heero stared at Duo. "I... I thought you had a miscarriage."

"I did," Duo nodded. "But they weren't about to give up on their little experiment so easily. Less than a year after I lost the first child they implanted into me, they succeeded in their goal. I was barely more than ten years old when my child was born. I don't know if it was a boy or a girl. All I know is that they were supposed to be the ultimate warrior, the product of combining my DNA with that of ..."

Heero waited for Duo to finish. "Duo?"

"Oh, Heero..." Duo shook his head. "Heero, the baby I had... I think you're the father."

Heero glared. "That's imp.... never mind. Look, any idea where they may have taken the baby?"

"No," Duo shook his head. "All I remember was a name... Dr. Takahashi."

Heero ran a scan on his laptop. "Found him," he said, after several minutes. "He's in town, not far. Working at a local hospital. Why don't we pay him a little visit?"

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-PART 4-

Quatre picked himself up and brushed the dirt from his wings. From nearby, he could hear the affectionate chuckle that came from Trowa. "I guess these wings just aren't meant for flight.".

"Don't give up, Quatre," Trowa encouraged. "You can do it. I know you can!"

Quatre nodded. His eyes were filled with determination as he gazed at the far off horizon. Trowa's words of encouragement filled his heart as he spread his wings. Quatre pushed upward with his feet, moving as gracefully as a dancer. After a couple slow flaps of his wings, he found himself airborne.

"Ha ha," he laughed, "this is great! Oh, Trowa, I wish you could see how pretty this all is."

An idea sprang to mind and he swooped down, intending to scoop up Trowa and give him a nice little aerial tour.

"Quatre! Don't!" Trowa protested, though his voice was filled with laughter. He let out a yelp as Quatre gripped him and lifted him up. "Hey! Put me down! Hey! Help! I'm being kidnapped by a cute Arabian Gundam Pilot."

Quatre smiled at this. He looked down, trying to find the nicest place they could to land. It was getting close to sunset and he wanted to share it with Trowa. On the ground. he spotted a young boy camping out all by himself. He landed and stepped up to the boy.

"Hey," he said, "are you lost, little boy?"

"My name is Shiko Maxwell Yuy." the boy said in a belligerent tone, "and I'm training to be a good soldier, just like mommy and daddy."

Quatre blinked. "Really. What happened to your mommy and daddy?"

"They died around the time I was born," Shiko replied. "That's why I gotta train and get really good. I want them to be proud of me."

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-PART 5-

"Your parents are not dead," Quatre told the small boy.

"They're not?!"

Trowa began to open his mouth in protest, but Quatre silenced him.

"No." Quatre smiled. "Why don't you come with us? We can take you to them."

Shiko lunged forward and grabbed Quatre's gun before either pilot could stop him.

"Not bad," Quatre smiled. "you got Duo's speed, that's for certain."

Shiko blinked. "Duo? As in the Gundam Pilot? He's my dad?"

"He;'s actually your mom. Your dad is named Heero Yuy," Quatre extended hand and gave the boy a goofy, disarming grin. As if to add weight to the latter adjective, the boy handed the gun back to the Winner Heir, then took his hand.

"Quatre, are you sure we should do this?" Trowa asked as they began to lead the boy to where Duo and Heero were staying.

"He has every right to meet his parents," Quatre nodded.

*****

"What if they don't want to see him?" Trowa inquired that night when they arrived back home. The boy was in bed, trying to sleep. It was a feat he was finding difficult to accomplish. Trowa looked in on him for a moment, then returned to Quatre's side. "Quatre, I know you mean well. But remember, Heero probably doesn't know about him and if he did, it would have been a recent discovery. And Duo was experimented on, forced to carry a baby when he was a child. This might..."

Trowa was cut off when the phone rang. He raced to get it, but Quatre made it to the phone first. However, before he could pick it up, Shiko intercepted it.

"If it's them..." Trowa began.

"Shh..." Quatre placed a kiss upon Trowa's lips.

*****

"Quatre," Heero began, "Heero. We need your help. We need to use your family's computers to..."

A voice that was neither Quatre's nor Trowa's cut him off. "Hi, daddy. It's Shiko."

Heero bit his lip, his voice full of unexpected emotion as he looked over at Duo. "Pick up the other line, koi," he told the braided pilot, "our son is on the phone."

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-PART 8-

Duo's hand was trembling as it picked up the phone. "Hello?"

"Hi, mommy."

Duo's knees buckled and tears came to his eyes. "Hi, um..."

"Shiko," the boy replied. "My name's Shiko.

"Hi, Shiko," Duo could barely speak. Memories flooded back. Painful memories of the pregnancy that had almost killed him. Of seeing his son very briefly before the doctors had given the little boy to a group of men who had taken him away.

"Mommy," Shiko asked, bringing Duo back into the present, "Are you gonna come see me?"

"Yeah," Duo replied. "Your daddy and I are going to come see you. You be nice for Quatre and Trowa until we get there. We'll be there shortly, okay?"

"Okay, mommy. I'll see you and daddy when you get here." Shiko hung up the phone and ran to tell Quatre and Trowa that Duo and Heero were coming over.

Back at their location, Duo and Heero were locked in a tight embrace. Duo was trembling and sobbing with joy. He couldn't wait to see the boy he'd carried.

"Let's go," Heero suggested after several moments. He lifted Duo's chin and kissed the braided pilot. "Our son is waiting."

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-PART 7-

"Come on, Trowa, hurry up," Quatre said as Catherine fixed Shiko's hair and tidied up his clothes. She'd just arrived on Quatre's invitation to help out with the impromptu reunion supper. "Supper's almost ready and Duo and Heero will be here, soon. Relena, how's the hamburgers coming along?"

"Almost done," Relena coughed through the thick smoke that billowed around her from the barbecue. On the grill four hamburger patties were far beyond the well-done point and heading off into oblivion.

Trowa saw the smoke and ran out to the grill. "I think they're done, Relena," he said, rescuing the burgers.

"I'm sorry, I'm not used to cooking," Relena looked very embarrassed.

"Don't worry about it," Trowa smiled, "that's how Quatre makes 'em, too.."

"HEY!" Quatre protested.

*****

"Duo, you okay?" Heero asked for the nth time.

"Yeah," Duo fidgeted about with the radio knobs, tapped the dashboard, and went through several text books.

"Duo, for someone who's okay, you're doing a pretty good job of imitating a long-haired cat in a rocking chair store."

"Heero, how can you be so relaxed? Don't you get it?" Duo's eyes were filled with excitement, "we're going to see our son."

The ambulance came to a stop and Heero turned off the engine.

"Why are you stopping the ambulance, Hee-chan?"

Heero turned to Duo with a very serious statement in his eyes. "We're here."

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-PART 8-

Duo sat there in the ambulance, his hand hovering over the doorhandle. His heart was pounding in his chest as if it were trying to get out. Some part of his mind wanted to remind him that Shiko was just a child. Only a little boy.

But Shiko wasn't just a little boy. Shiko was his little boy. His and Heero's.The idea boggled his mind. He loved Heero, but that love, even their first encounter, had come years after their child's birth.

"Duo," Heero put his hand on Duo's shoulder and lifted the other boy's chin. "It's okay. You're going to be fine. I'll be right beside you."

"How can you be so calm, Heero?" Duo asked. "He's your son, too, you know."

Heero nodded. "I know," inside he was as anxiety-ridden as Duo. He kept that hidden, however, for Duo's sake. "Let's go."

Duo nodded, then climbed out of the ambulance.

Heero got out on the other side, then went around and joined Duo, taking the braided boy's hand.

The walk down the pathway between the ambulance and the front door was the longest Duo had ever taken. He paused at the front door, pondering what he would say. How would he explain things to his son? The boy had seemed pleasant on the phone. But...

"Here goes nothing," he sighed as he opened the door.

"Hey, Duo," Quatre said, "c-"

At the mention of Duo's name, Shiko was suddenly wrapped tightly around Duo's right leg and holding on for dear life.

"Mommy!" the boy squealed with delight, looking up at the Shinigami pilot with a smile on his face.

Duo dropped to his knees and held the boy close. Heero joined in.

"Daddy," Shiko looked up at Heero with big hopeful eyes, "are you gonna marry Mommy?"

"Yeah," Heero nodded. "If he'll have me."

Duo looked up at Heero with eyes full of wonder and delight. He had always dreamed of being Heero's spouse. He'd never imagined that Heero might feel the same.

"Of course I'll have you." he told Heero. "I can't believe you finally asked me."

"Yeah, it's about time," Relena laughed.

"The injustice! Making us wait like that," Wufei joined in.

Duo turned as pink as one of Quatre's shirts as everyone laughed and smiled. He looked into Heero's eyes, his own eyes were misty with tears of happiness as they joined the rest of the group for dinner.

"To the couple-to-be!"

Cups were raised in honor of Duo and Heero, but there was no clinking. Even billionaires can't get plastic to clink, And while Quatre could afford, and did have expensive crystal, he felt that plastic cups were more appropriate for a picnic. Crystal ruined the setting somehow.

"Hey, why not have the wedding here," Trowa suggested, "We can have the double wedding out in the gardens and then have the reception in the ballroom. How does that sound?"

"Double wedding," Quatre turned to Trowa, "Trowa, who else is getting married?"

Trowa reached into his pocket and pulled out a diamond ring. "Quatre, will you marry me?"

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-PART 9-

A sudden sense of joy, love, and well being filled the room, emanating from one single source.

Unconsciously, Relena leaned on Catherine and sighed barely noticing the arm the other girl wrapped around her waist, also unaware of her actions.

A sense of justice filled Wufei's mind and he actually smiled. A happy smile, not a sardonic one.

"Quatre's projecting," he remarked. "Go ahead, Quatre, give Trowa your answer."

Quatre looked up into Trowa's eyes, his own eyes filled with adoration.

"Yes," he told Trowa., "I will marry you."

That's when Quatre heard the click. He turned and saw a servant standing there, pointing a gun at Trowa.

"Achmed..." he hedged carefully, "what do you think you're doing?"

"I cannot permit you to marry him," Achmed told Quatre, "I won't let you leave this all behind and make me and the others lose their jobs. He must die!"

Achmed puled back on the trigger as Quatre rushed to grab the gun away. There was a cry of pain as the gun went off.

For a moment, pain radiated out to everyone, then it vanished.

"Quatre! No!" Trowa grabbed the gun from Achmed.

Achmed just stood there, hands to his side, unblinking. He felt worse than he ever had in his life. He hadn't really been afraid of losing his job. He'd been afraid of losing Quatre. And he'd shot him. Had killed little Quatre.

"Great Allah," he whispered in horror, "what have I done?"

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-PART 10-

Heero held Duo and Shiko close, drawing his gun and aiming it at Achmed. The man had just taken a good friend and Heero would be damned before he let the man kill his son or the boy who had carried him.

"Omae o korosu," he warned.

"I"m afraid, I can't let you do that," Trowa said, quietly. "this man's life is mine to take, not yours. Quatre was my fiance. I am the one who should avenge his death."

"Could you guys wait until I'm dead to avenge me?"

Everyone turned and stared.

"Quatre?!" Trowa threw his arms around the blond pilot and drew him close. "But... how? I felt you die."

Quatre shook his head. "You felt me sever my link with you when the bullet hit my arm. I was in pain and I didn't want you to suffer, too."

Achmed approached and Quatre drew his gun. The man felt horrible. His mind had twisted Quatre's kindness into a budding romantic love that had never existed. He had nurtured that delusion until this moment, when his jealousy had lost him not only Quatre's kindness and friendship, but his trust, too.

"I only wish to apologize, Master Quatre," he grovelled, "Please, I beg your forgiveness, though I do not deserve it. I did not mean to hurt you."

"I know," Quatre glared. "You meant to hurt my fiancee. That's why I cannot forgive you."

"Please," Achmed's voice held a tone of desperation. "Master Quatre, I beg you. I cannot lose you! Not to anyone! Please, forgive me? Forgive me," he kept wailing it as he grabbed Quate and tried to drag him toward the door. Trowa's eyes narrowed his the man began groping around at Quatre until he found the boy's gun. Drawing it, he put it to Quatre's head. "Don't make me shoot him." he warned. "Everyone, stay where you are." he backed toward the door, dragging Quatre with him.

Reaching into the waistband of Heero's spandex shorts Shiko fished out his father's gun. Using his parents' protective embrace to conceal his movements, he aimed the weapon and fired it, striking Achmed in the center of the forehead.

"Not a bad shot, kiddo," Duo hugged his son.

"I agree," Heero adde, looking into his son's eyes. "But in the future, always ask before you borrow Daddy's gun."

"Okay, daddy." Shiko smiled at his parents.

Trowa held Quatre close. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine now," Quatre caught his breath. "I should have let him go months ago," he shook his head. "I could sense that he was becoming unstable. But I felt sorry for him. Maybe he'd be alive now if..."

"He made his own choice," Trowa said, reassuringly, "You shoudn't blame yourself. Now, let's get that arm of yours fixed up, shall we?"

Quatre nodded and followed Trowa out the door.

"I'm going with them," Wufei announced, "I don't trust that man." he followed Trowa and Quatre without bothering to wait for an answer.

"Relena," Catherine spoke up, "Why don't you and I leave these three alone for a bit. I know of a nice little restaurant not to far from here."

"I agree," Relena nodded. "Under the circumstances I think we should postpone today's plans."

Catherine extended her hand and Relena took it without hesitation. "We'll see you soon," she told the remaining pilots and Shiko.

The door closed quietly behind Catherine and Relena leaving Duo and Heero alone with their son.

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-PART 11-

Duo stood up after several minutes and went into the kitchen. He reemerged shortly afterward with sodas and potato chips. Handing them to his son and fiance' he flopped out on the sofa, patting a spot beside him.

Shiko took the proferred spot and rested his head on Duo's chest.

"So, kiddo," Duo ruffled the boy's hair, long like his, but with the same dark moss green tint as Heero's. "Tell me about yourself."

The boy looked up at Duo, his eyes as much a combination of the two pilots as his hair had been. They were violet, as beautiful in color as Duo's eyes. But their shape was the same as Heero's.

"Well," he began, opening his soda and taking a sip, "as long as I can remember I've been trained to fight. Dr.J and Dr. G were there in the beginning. They used to tell me that they'd take me to see you some day so you could train me. But then they died. When that happened, the other doctors told me that you had also died. I was really sad."

"I know how you felt," Duo kissed the top of his son's head. "I lost a lot of people. I know how much it hurts."

Shiko nodded, "It sucks. Anyhow, there's really not that much to tell. I spent all my time in training, except for mealtime and showertime."

"What about sleeptime?" Heero asked. "Surely they didn't train you then!"

"Sometimes they did," Shiko stuffed a handful of chips into his mouth, "they trained me how to defend myself in case someone tries to abduct me in my sleep."

Duo didn't know whether to be grateful or sick. His son's childhood had been stolen from the poor boy. On the other hand, OZ would find it difficult should they ever try to take the boy hostage.

"How did you escape?" Heero asked.

"I didn't," Shiko replied. "Quatre found me while I was out at my training site. He decided I'd be better off here so he brought me with him."

"You are better off here," Duo hugged the boy close. "And there will be no more training. Not for a while anyhow. You need to be a kid for a while. You're only six years old for crying out loud!"

"Your mom's right," Heero said. "You have to learn how to just relax and just be a regular human being. Your mommy taught me one very important lesson about being the perfect soldier. You can't be the perfect soldier unless you learn one very important lesson."

"What's that, Daddy?" Shiko was very curious. He leaned forward toward Heero, his statement eager.

"How to not be a soldier."

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-PART 11-

Duo stood up after several minutes and went into the kitchen. He reemerged shortly afterward with sodas and potato chips. Handing them to his son and fiance' he flopped out on the sofa, patting a spot beside him.

Shiko took the proferred spot and rested his head on Duo's chest.

"So, kiddo," Duo ruffled the boy's hair, long like his, but with the same dark moss green tint as Heero's. "Tell me about yourself."

The boy looked up at Duo, his eyes as much a combination of the two pilots as his hair had been. They were violet, as beautiful in color as Duo's eyes. But their shape was the same as Heero's.

"Well," he began, opening his soda and taking a sip, "as long as I can remember I've been trained to fight. Dr.J and Dr. G were there in the beginning. They used to tell me that they'd take me to see you some day so you could train me. But then they died. When that happened, the other doctors told me that you had also died. I was really sad."

"I know how you felt," Duo kissed the top of his son's head. "I lost a lot of people. I know how much it hurts."

Shiko nodded, "It sucks. Anyhow, there's really not that much to tell. I spent all my time in training, except for mealtime and showertime."

"What about sleeptime?" Heero asked. "Surely they didn't train you then!"

"Sometimes they did," Shiko stuffed a handful of chips into his mouth, "they trained me how to defend myself in case someone tries to abduct me in my sleep."

Duo didn't know whether to be grateful or sick. His son's childhood had been stolen from the poor boy. On the other hand, OZ would find it difficult should they ever try to take the boy hostage.

"How did you escape?" Heero asked.

"I didn't," Shiko replied. "Quatre found me while I was out at my training site. He decided I'd be better off here so he brought me with him."

"You are better off here," Duo hugged the boy close. "And there will be no more training. Not for a while anyhow. You need to be a kid for a while. You're only six years old for crying out loud!"

"Your mom's right," Heero said. "You have to learn how to just relax and just be a regular human being. Your mommy taught me one very important lesson about being the perfect soldier. You can't be the perfect soldier unless you learn one very important lesson."

"What's that, Daddy?" Shiko was very curious. He leaned forward toward Heero, his statement eager.

"How to not be a soldier."

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-PART 13-

Quatre listened carefully to Sally's words. It was information he needed to know. "How do I take care of them?" he asked. "I've only been taking baths since I got them, since I wasn't sure I should get them wet."

"There's no problem with them getting wet," Sally told him. "As for preening them, I don't have any instructional guides for that. I recommend you drop by the nearest pet shop. I know that sounds a little embarrassing. But they would be your best source of information. You'll want a guide on how to care for birds."

Sally concluded her examination and nodded for Quatre to get up from the table.

"Thanks, Sally," Quatre sat up and folded his wings. He slid off the table and stretched, giving a little yawn. "I'm sorry," he said, "I guess I'm just tired. I haven't slept well. I was worried about turning to wrong way and hurting my wings."

"You're just not used to them," Sally assured him, as she walked him to the door. "Give yourself time. Everything is going to be fine."

"Thank you." Quatre closed the conversation and walked over to the waiting area where Trowa was reading a magazine.

*****

"Ha! King!" Heero smiled triumphantly at his son. The boy had been on a winning streak. But that was over now. Now it was Heero's turn to be victorious for a bit.

Shiko turned over his top card. A king itself. "War."

Each opponent laid down three cards. There was a tense moment as they sized each other up. Then the last card was turned over.

"Jack," Heero's eyes glittered with impending triumph.

"Queen," Shiko smiled, taking the cards.

Duo smiled proudly at his son, "He got ya, Heero." he laughed. "Yup, I'm afraid you've just been replaced as the Perfect Soldier. No doubt about that! Nope, none whatso..." his was silenced that moment by a deep kiss from Heero.

"Sometimes I think you talk a lot just so I'll do that," Heero remarked.

"You might just have something there."

"We're back," Quatre announced as he and Trowa enterred the room.

"Already? That was kind of fast," Duo noted as he searched the game closet for something else to play, "Ugh! Can we get rid of this?" he held up a copy of the ill-fated hybrid game Pokemonopoly.

"No, you can't," Quatre replied. "Its a collector's item. That's the only one in existence."

"Yeah," Duo nodded. "Because everyone else had enough taste and sense to burn theirs." He pulled out a copy of FFVII Monopoly and set it up on the living room table. "I get Masamune." he said, chosing his token.

"I get Cloud's motorcycle," Shiko chose his. He looked up, "You want to play, Uncle Quatre?"

Quatre nodded. "Sure. I'll take the dolphin."

Duo turned to Heero."Which token do you want?"

"I'll take that one," Heero pointed out the token he wanted.

Duo picked up the buster sword token and set it on the Go square next to his Masamune token.

"We still have wedding plans to make," Heero said, rolling a single die.

"Five," Quatre noted, taking the die and rolling it. "I got three. Trowa, Wufei. You playing?"

Trowa shook his head. "I'm going to start dinner."

"I have to speak with Nataku," Wufei turned and left the room.

Duo and Shiko took their rolls.

"Okay," Heero said, once mother and son had each taken their rolls, "Duo starts and we go clockwise from there."

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-PART 14-

Heero picked up a card after placing his piece on the SOLDIER square he'd rolled on the dice. "Nibelheim or Corel Your city is burned to the ground. Remove any houses on the Nibelheim and/or Corel squares."

Being early in the game Heero had no houses on either of these squares and shrugged as he handed the dice to the next player.

Eventually it was Shiko's turn. Rolling the dice, he found his piece on a square with an image of Cait Sith on it. He picked up a FORTUNE card and read it aloud...

"Advance to Gold Saucer. Pay owner twice the amount owed. If it is unowned you may buy it from the bank."

On Duo's next turn he landed on Wall Market which he bought for $240.00

The game went on for about an hour before Quatre rose and dramatically threw an arm up to his forehead.

"Oh the shame of it all! I have lost all my fake money! I am a disgrace to the Winner Family! I shall lie down now and allow myself to die here to remove myself from this honored family!" he lied down, placed his hands over his chest, and managed to hold a somber, deathlike position

"Dinner is ready," Trowa announced from the doorway.

Heero, Duo and Shiko rose from the monopoly board.

"Hey," Shiko asked, grinning at Quatre who was still lying there, "Since Quatre's dead, I guess that means he won't be eating his dessert, right?"

"Guess not," Duo shrugged. "So, split it or coin toss?"

"Coin toss." Shiko handed a coin to Duo.

"Okay,:" Duo grinned. "heads I get it, tails you don't."

"Yeah, right, mom," Shiko grinned. "Heads for me, tails for you."

"Okay," Duo tossed the coin up into the air.

A second later, Quatre was on his feet and holding it triumphantly between his fingers. "The coin has landed on its side, which means that I get to keep my dessert. Sheesh, what a pair of scavengers you are."

"We knew you weren't really dead, Quatre-sama," Shiko grinned as the group headed off into the kitchen. "And that you weren't serious."

"What amazes me?" Duo remarked as the walked, "is that you managed to hold in that laugh for so long. I kept hearing that little half-snicker and waiting for you to just give in and crack up laughing."

They arrived at the dining room and took their places at the table.

"I'd like to propose a toast," said Relena who joined them along with Wufei and Rashid, "To the two recently engaged couples here. I must admit, Duo you've made me both jealous and fond of you. Its no secret that I've longed for Heero since the day I first saw him, and because of that I am extremely jealous of you, Duo. But you've made Heero happier than I ever could, and that is why I am fond of you. You keep my Little Prince happy, Duo. He deserves that."

"I'll drink to that!" Duo rose his glass. "And I'd like to add a little something. To Trowa and Quatre. May all your quarrels be with OZ."

They waited for more to come, but for once in his life, Duo seemed to have chosen to be brief.

Glasses clinked, sips were taken, then the meal was served.

 

(OWARI)