Pyractomena Borealis Part XIV

The next morning, or afternoon rather, we still weren't any closer to figuring out what to do and we had pretty much 24 hours before Johannes would be showing up to demand an answer. My wits were failing me even worse than normal--I had no idea what to do other than tell him to go screw himself. As fun as that might be to say, it didn't seem like a good solution overall. I like my arms attached to my body and my throat just as it is, thankyouverymuch.

Besides...it wasn't just my life hanging on this one. Otherwise, I probably would have just gone for option one and hoped to god that I was one lucky little punk.

I glared at the sagging acoustic tiles above me as if expecting the little black pinholes in them to rearrange themselves and spell out an answer. No luck there; I idly started counting the number of tea colored water stains.

Let's see...there 25 tiles directly in my field of vision. Seven were clean, the rest had one or more stains. Add them all up, the total came up to be something like 30, plus a bonus of nine spit wads...

Not that I was bored or anything.

The teacher continued to drone on about the joys of writing business cases, oblivious to how many of her students' brains she'd already managed to kill. I slid lower into my seat so I could stare at the ceiling a little better, and wondered if she'd even noticed if I slid under my desk and belly-crawled out the door. The tiles were nice and slick...it'd be no problem.

Nah, that probably wouldn't be the best of ideas. I wasn't really looking for a chat with the principle if I got caught. I was already well acquainted with her, and she was a real nice lady and all, but I had the feeling that she was getting pretty tired of seeing me. A glance at the clock showed that the traitorous minute hand hadn't even moved since the last time I checked.

Some people contest the theory that there is time dilation the closer you get to a black hole. With the agreed upon fact that school is a black hole, all you have to do is watch time slow down the closer you crawl towards the end of your last class, and the theory is proven. Still, there were only five minutes left. It would only take...oh...another three hours to for those five minutes to pass. I could see Heero a few rows ahead of me, studiously taking notes in a spiral notebook. Or at least I figured he was taking notes. For all anyone knew, while we all thought he was diligently paying attention, he was actually writing Marquise de Sade style porn.

Well...maybe not.

I pulled a sheet of loose-leaf out of my binder, scribbled a quick note in it, then folded it up into a little triangle. I waited until the teacher was looking away from me (not that I think she would have noticed anyway) before flipping it at the back of Heero's head with an expert flick of my wrist. He shoots...he scores! My shot hit the mark dead center, effectively poking him in the back of the head with one of its sharp little corners before falling on the floor.

Heero immediately turned his head back toward me and favored me with one of the most baleful glares I'd ever seen out of him. I grinned and waved, then pointed at the floor. After another brief power glower, he leaned over and picked up the note, then quickly unfolded it and read. I sat back in my chair and inspected the ceiling again.

Less than a minute later, my little paper football came whizzing back at me and managed to lodge itself in my nose. I don't know how Heero managed it, but all I can say is that I've taught him well. After a brief struggle that actually caused the teacher to pause for two seconds or so before continuing on, I managed to win my fight against gravity and didn't fall out of my chair. It was a close call. By the time I was upright in my seat again, Heero was back to studiously taking notes and didn't see me flip off the back of his head.

The note that had hit me in the nose was short and to the point, like everything Heero says and does. On it, he had simply written "Yes" in his usual, overly neat handwriting.

I grinned. All I'd done was ask if he wanted to go for a walk. Little did he know what the walk was going to involve...

* * *

A movie and dinner later, it was starting to get dark, and Heero and I were making our way slowly back toward the school. Well, to be more accurate, I was moving slowly, and Heero was racing up ahead, kindly stopping every four blocks or so. I wanted to punch him, but didn't have an energy.

After class, we'd met up, dropped out books off, and headed out for our "little" walk. Who would have thought, we managed to go right by a movie theater on the way to the park. By an even more amazing coincidence, it just happened to be the main theater in town that was playing the re-release of a movie I'd been really wanting to see. Heero didn't have a chance to protest. Besides, it was probably a movie that he secretly wanted to see anyway.

A couple hours of Hong Kong action later, my stomach was growling and Heero wasn't glowering any more than normal, so I hauled him into an okonomiyaki shop. He'd had just a regular dish, and I'd had the full meal...okonomiyaki with squid, rice, soup, and a fried egg.

Which explained why I was currently dragging my stomach along the sidewalk and Heero was still zipping around. Walking garbage can I might be, it's still possible for even the largest dumpsters to overflow when they get too much put in them.

"Damnit, Heero, wait up, will you?" I yelled after Heero, he was about two blocks ahead of me and drawing away fast. Yeesh, you'd think he didn't want anyone to think we were associated or something. I half expected him to keep walking, but he stopped and waited for me to catch up with him. "Don't make me kick your ass, man. I just saw a martial arts movie." I grinned at him.

He snorted. "I'm not worried. You don't have a green destiny sword."

That one took me off guard, and I laughed. I hadn't been expecting Heero to react, let alone joke around with me back. There must have been something funny in the okonomiyaki. After that, he actually slowed down enough for me to keep up with him.

It was full dark by the time we were about five blocks away from our school, and the streets were pretty much deserted, since we were wandering through a residential area. All in all, it wasn't an unpleasant night; the heat from the day had retreated almost completely. There was no movement on, not even from the leafy tree branches hanging over the concrete garden walls on either side of the street. Other than our breathing, I could only hear a few crickets chirping and the stuttering hum from a fluorescent light further down the street that was blinking off and on. It was peaceful, relaxing, and exactly what I needed.

Heero and I continued to walk along in companionable silence, pausing at the end of the street to wait for the walk signal to change. There weren't any cars coming, actually, but I really didn't want to rush back to the school. For once, Heero wasn't in a hurry either. So there we were, two happenin' dudes out on a stroll.

Still waiting for the signal, I glanced up at the sky. There weren't many stars visible, but then again, there never are in Tokyo; there's too much ambient light from all the neon and such. The moon was out, though, still waxing and almost full. The humidity in the air caught its light and made it into a halo. Just looking at it made the breath catch in my throat; I've seen the moon plenty of times from orbit or from the inside of a colony, and yeah, it's awe inspiring then, but...the sight of the moon through the atmosphere is more beautiful and mysterious than anything else I've ever seen.

Like the moon had noticed me watching and decided to give me some attention in return, energy surged along under the ground beneath me, making all of my body hair stand on end. I should have known better than to think about it; when I ignore it, the pull that I feel from the night usually leaves me alone, like it's sulking or something. I gritted my teeth and resisted the temptation to reach out and touch the power. /Stop that./ I mentally hissed at it.

A hand clamped down on my wrist and I yelped, almost falling over backwards. It was just Heero, of course. My skin was tingling where he was touching me, like he was statically charged. I did my best to ignore it. I had a hard time ignoring the look in his eyes, though. I never thought the two little bits of ice Heero has instead of irises could look so...soft.

"Duo." he said carefully. Hell, even his voice sounded softer.

I thought about tugging my wrist out of his grasp, but decided against it. I had a feeling that I wouldn't be able to make him let go unless he wanted to, anyway. Besides...it wasn't unpleasant. Just a little...odd. "Yeah?"

"I..." his tongue flicked over his lips.

Heero was...nervous? I had to be imagining things.


"I..." his hand tightened around my wrist.

My curiosity was curiously piqued, and for some strange reason, I also felt like I was going to puke...and I was pretty sure it had nothing to do with the okonomiyaki. Heero opened his mouth to try again...

Squealing tires drowned out anything that he might have been saying as a pair of headlights pulled around the corner and headed right towards us. Heero let go of my wrist like he'd been burnt while I just stared at the oncoming high beams, suddenly understanding how deer felt. There was another high-pitched squeal, this one from the brakes of the enormous car that was bearing down on us.

The part of my brain that had been trying to figure out what the hell was going on finally said "fuck it, bright lights, loud noises, I don't like it" and decided in a split second that whoever it was in the car, I probably wanted to shoot them just on the principle of the thing. My hand was reaching for my gun, conveniently stowed under my uniform's jacket, just was the car door was flung open and we were assaulted with a third high pitched squeal.


Or, to be more accurate, I was assaulted by the supersonic noise. Heero was, conspicuously, nowhere to be seen.

That little bastard.