12-30-1999

Ok, this doesn't have a title yet, but it's cute, a little yaoi, but not very. And for once, not lemon at all! Enjoy!

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The wind howled and blew freezing needles against Duo's exposed skin. Hunching against the cold, he rubbed his bare arms and shivered as he slogged through the snow. For the fortieth time that minute, he considered rolling down his sleeves to cover his arms and undoing his braid to allow his long hair to insulate him and cover the back of his neck. For the fortieth time he rejected the idea; after all, even if he died of hypothermia, he had an image to maintain.

:Where the fuck is that safehouse? Quatre, I'm going to kill you for putting it out in the middle of bleeding nowhere like this!:

Suddenly, as if the thought had been a magical incantation, a shadow appeared ahead of him. A suspiciously house-shaped shadow. His heart filled with hope and he tried to run, though the almost waist-deep snow made that impossible. After another few eternities, he reached the small cottage. He pulled the door open, bracing himself as it was nearly torn out of his hands by the fierce winds, entered the building and pulled the door closed, latching it.

He flicked on the lightswitch his groping fingers encountered.

Darkness.

:Damn, electricity's out.:

Slowly, his eyes adjusted and he was able to make out the contents of the room with the faint light coming in through the one window. The cottage was a single room dwelling, with an ancient fireplace that didn't look like it would ever light again in one corner. If this had ever been the safehouse Quatre had told him about, it had been ransacked and everything taken. There were even faint pale patches on the walls that showed the outlines of the furniture that had been taken by thieves. The heating and electricity had obviously been off for a long time and the house was barely warmer than outside, though it had the distinct advantages of being snow- and wind-free.

Nothing was left but a small bundle on the floor that looked like an old blanket.

Duo approached the blanket, aware that he was dripping on the floor as the ten pounds of snow he'd accumulated melted. He wrung out his hair like a towel and stripped off the sopping shirt. He had just unzipped his pants when the blanket shifted.

He froze as the bundle moaned. He reached for his gun but grasped empty air and realized that he must have lost it during one of the innumerable times he'd fallen while swimming though that blizzard. The only thing left was to act tough.

"All right, hold it right there!" he barked.

The bundle sat up slowly, his hands spread in front of him, and looked at him. Duo gasped and took a step back.

"T-Treize Khushrenada!" he breathed.

The general blinked the sleep from his eyes and cocked his head. "Duo Maxwell, the Gundam pilot? Well, my, isn't this an interesting situation?"

Duo's cheeks burned and he tried not to think about the fact that both he and the General were shirtless, and possibly much more. "What the fuck are you doing here?"

Trieze pursed his lips in a frown. "I was traveling in a small plane when this storm hit. The pilot lost control of the plane and we crashed. I was the only survivor and was forced to make my way to shelter until the storm passed. What are you doing here?"

"I, uh," Duo skidded to a halt. "None of your damn business."

"Ah, I see. My apologies."

Duo was starting to shiver. He could see his breath pluming as he breathed out. He counted the puffs of steam, trying to calm down. :1...2...3...:

"You are obviously cold. Why don't you take the blanket?" Trieze offered politely, starting to unwind it from himself. Duo glanced at him and caught sight of a ragged uniform jacket and pants hanging from a beam in the roof. Suddenly he really didn't want to see what was under that blanket.

"Uh, no, I'm fine, really!" he said, scrambling to pick up his jacket and hang it beside the uniform. "Uh, Treize, are you injured or anything?"

"Nothing I can't handle; some cracked ribs, a laceration or two," he said.

"Well, if you're injured, you need the blanket more than I do," Duo said reasonably, trying to control the chattering of his teeth long enough to say it.

"But I've been here longer and dried off. I'll be all right for a while, and you're probably soaking wet and freezing to death."

Duo had to admit he had a point.

"Come, get those wet clothes off and take the blanket. I won't look, if you prefer."

Duo felt a different sort of cold begin to spread through his body. He didn't relish the thought of being buck naked with nothing between him and the leader of Oz but a thin, moth-eaten blanket. Before he thought about what he was doing, he was backing away from Treize, who had stood up with the blanket still wound around him.

"No! No! Stay away from me!" He cried as his back hit the wall and he sensed the general still approaching.

"Duo." The soft voice calling his name made him open his eyes. Treize stood about three feet away, one hand holding the blanket around him and the other held out towards him. "I propose a truce, for the duration of our stay here." Duo's eyes widened. "We will not hurt each other, in any way until such time as we leave. Furthermore, when we leave, this incident never occurred, and we both give the other ample time to reach a safe haven."

"In other words, no biting, scratching, or clawing, and we both get a 'go home free' card at the end." Duo's voice felt raw and scratchy from the brief moment of terror, but he choked out the words.

Treize smiled. "Exactly."

"I-I can live with that."

"Good, now, take the blanket and get those wet clothes off. I'll be fine."

Duo's shivering increased in frequency. "N-No, y-you're hurt, and besides, we have a t-truce now. We'll sh-sh-share it."

Treize blinked. "Nani?"

Duo grabbed his free hand and led him back to the threadbare mat he'd been lying on. "We're sharing the b-blanket, General. N-No sense in either of us being c-cold."

"So long as you're not uncomfortable-"

Duo interrupted him harshly. "The more we talk about it, the more uncomfortable I'll get, so lie down already and turn around!"

Treize obeyed without further comment and Duo shed his last garments of clothing, hanging them up on the beam. Even his underwear was soaked through and freezing, and after a moment's hesitation, he shed them as well.

Shaking with terror and cold, he laid down on the mat and slid under a corner of the blanket. They shifted and pulled, but it turned out to be impossible to be both under the blanket, and not touching the other person. Finally, after five minutes of them both sitting with an inch of cold air between them, shivering, Treize sighed in exasperation.

"This isn't working, Maxwell-kun."

"No kidding."

"I think we had better bow to the inevitable."

Duo squeezed his eyes shut. :It's okay, if there's one thing you have to grant of his bastard, he's honourable. He'll keep his word.: "Okay, but no funny business or I'll beat you to death with my cross if I have to."

"Agreed."

Duo rolled over, pillowing his head on Treize's shoulder and wrapping his arms around the older man. He felt the warmth radiating from him and he sighed, his shivering finally ceasing. "Th-that's better," he said, a little sleepily. Treize's arm came around his shoulder and Duo found himself snuggling against him, wrapped in safety and warmth and a spicy scent Duo associated with 'maleness'.

"Good. Oyasumi, Duo-kun."

"Oyasumi, Treize."

:Damn, I wish it wasn't you, but you're better than most of the world, I guess,: was Duo's last thought before he dropped off to sleep.