8-17-2001

Kracken
Disclaimer: I don’t own them and I don’t make any money off of them, Gawd, I wish I did! All the long hours I spend doing this stuff, all the coffee and late nights... Hey, but I love it and that’s more important than money, isn’t it? :) So, don’t sue me for loving G.W.!
Warnings: None. It’s just funny. Hey, my first G rated fic! The happy classes must be working. Maybe I should recommend them to Heero, ne?

 

The Perfect Joker

 

“You have to do something about Maxwell!” Wu Fei panted furiously as he slammed himself into a chair at the breakfast table. The others blinked at him, faces etched with weariness and the marks of last night’s battle.

Heero narrowed his eyes thoughtfully as he poked at a plate of rice and fish with his chopsticks. He didn’t reply. Wu Fei blustered, pounding a fist on the table.

“I’m speaking to you, Yuy!”

Heero took a mouthful of food and chewed slowly, his blue eyes on the distance.

Quatre, putting down a carafe of coffee on the table, wiped his hands on his apron and looked from the angry Wu Fei to the sedate Heero. He decided to try and diffuse the situation himself, since Heero wasn’t in the mood. After the battle last night, they were all nursing wounds inside and out. It definitely wasn’t the time for Duo to play pranks or to get on anyone’s nerves. Their nerves were shot enough as it was. Trowa, especially looked depressed, face frozen and eyes studying his cup of coffee as if it were replaying the battle in the swirl of steam rising up from it. Quatre himself felt fragile and depressed, memories of blood and death pressing in at him from all sides. Yes, they were all hurting.

“Heero!” Wu Fei barked and slammed his fist again.

“What happened?” Quatre asked. “Surely it can’t be that bad, can it? Duo fell into bed like everyone else right after we came home. When did he have time to get you angry?”

Wu Fei glared. “That- That fool...,” Wu Fei couldn’t speak for a moment. He ran a hand over his face as if he were going to claw his own skin open in frustration.

Quatre poured Wu Fei his tea. The man’s hands were actually shaking as he lifted the cup and sipped it. He put it down carefully and then glared at Heero again. His face was flushed, embarrassed, Quatre realized. “He tied my underthings together and hung them out in the cold last night. They’re frozen!”

Trowa looked up from his coffee with wide eyes and then he snickered. The snicker turned into a laugh. His face, bruised from the battle, had been mottled and ashen, like a corpse’s. Now it was alive with a smile and his hearty laugh.

“I fail to see the humor in defiling my under garments!” Wu Fei exploded, both fists slamming on the table this time. Plates jumped.

Quatre hid his grin and giggled behind his hand as he turned to the sink and began rinsing dishes. He could just see it in his mind’s eye, Wu Fei’s underwear tied together, frozen little bits of cloth swinging in a cold breeze from the windowsill. There was a window over the sink. Quatre stared out at the blanket of snow, trying to compose himself, and saw... He squinted and his smile turned down. “My-My... that- that idiot!”

Everyone stared as Quatre pointed with a furious finger at the window. He turned to them and the blonde Arabian was red to his ears. They rose from their chairs and went to look. Only Heero remained seated, still eating his breakfast with absent, methodical, motions.

“Nice, uh, what’s on them? Bunnies and duckies?” Trowa wondered and then snickered.

“I don’t see yours, Trowa,” Quatre growled. “Are you certain you’re not the one who did this?”

Trowa pulled a straight face, but then he snickered again. “I don’t wear underwear!”

Quatre squinted, “But you do seem to like odd colored tights.”

“My circus costumes!” Trowa exploded in disbelief. “How could he? They’ll never be the same!”

“Am I seeing things, or is one them pink?” Wu Fei wondered with raised eyebrows.

“With sequins,” Quatre noticed and grinned. “Duckies and bunnies suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, does it Trowa?”

“I’ll kill him!” Trowa raged.

“Uh, oh, Heero!” Wu Fei said with satisfaction. “Your wardrobe of lime green tank tops and spandex is out there as well. He’s hung them all over a tree! Looks like you’ll be stuck in your robe until Spring thaw!” Wu Fei laughed. He couldn’t help himself. “There’s a sign. What... Huh, listen to this Yuy, it says, ‘Yeechy clothes sale, very bad taste, oh, what the hell! Just take them for rags!’. Getting mad yet, Yuy?”

“Hn,” Heero finished his breakfast while he watched the three young boys standing by the window, laughing and ribbing each other as they gawking at their intimate clothing strewn all over the snow covered ground. They were all scarred and bruised, stitched and bandaged, but the painful shadow of last night’s battle was gone from their eyes.

“Ohayo everyone!” Duo came in, hair a tangled braid and hand raised to his mouth as he yawned sleepily. He was wearing his boxers and a raggedy robe. Bunny slippers slapped the wooden floor as he made his way to the breakfast table. When everyone turned to stare at him with dire frowns, he put on his most innocent expression and scratched his head. “What’s up, guys?”

“Maxwell!”

“Duo!”

“Duo Maxwell!”

Duo smiled. “It’s nice of you all to remind me what my name is, but I haven’t forgotten it, K?” He sat down. “Get me my choco- sugar- marshmallow bits cereal, please Quatre? Yah, know? The one with the extra sugar?”

“You will do my laundry today,” Wu Fei said menacingly as he sat down at the breakfast table again.

“Why Wuffie!” Duo grinned. “Are you proposing marriage or something? I don’t swing that way, yah know? I know the braid fools people-”

“Idiot!” Wu Fei snarled. “You have no honor!”

Duo lowered his voice, but not low enough to keep everyone from hearing as he said behind his hand. “Hey, I didn’t hang out the pair with the smiley faces, Wu-man, so don’t get so mad!”

“You’re going to do my laundry as well, Duo,” Quatre interjected, but he couldn’t manage to be as angry as he would have liked to be. Duo was just... just too funny the way he grinned and winked. His giggling laugh was infectious.

“Ah, Quatre!” Duo moaned mockingly, not losing his grin. “You know I’ll only mess up. Your little duckies, bunnies, and super hero t-shirts might all come out green. You don’t want to look like Heero, do you?”

“You will pay for the costumes you ruined!” Trowa shouted now, his eyes snapping fire under his long bangs.

“Okay-o, Trowa!” Duo laughed. “Where do I buy you new ones, Pink Tights Are Us?”

“They were specially made!” Trowa fumed. “This is not a joke, Maxwell!”

“Okay, Okay, Trow-man!” Duo laughed. “Don’t get your tights in a bind!”

Everyone laughed. Even Heero smiled. Trowa grumbled, but even he couldn’t keep a straight face for long, especially when Duo kept salting Wu fei’s food when the man wasn’t looking.

Breakfast ended. The pilots broke up to tend their Gundams or to take care of business of their own. They were all relaxed now, most smiling, ready to go on with life and forget, until the next time, the nightmare of battle.

Heero stayed behind, sipping his tea, watching Duo over the rim of his cup. The braided boy was quiet now. He looked weary and his smile faltered at last. He looked up at Heero and Heero knew that he was in pain.

Heero put down his tea. He stood up and came around the table. “I’ll help you back to your room. Need stitches? Bandages? A-”

“Broken bone set without anesthesia, like you do to yourself?” Duo chuckled. “No thanks. I’ll be fine. I wrapped it up all ready. Just a piece of shrapnel across the shoulder blades. Nothing serious. It’s like a bad paper cut.”

“Baka! Why didn’t you rest?” Heero demanded as he put a hand under Duo’s elbow and helped him stand. Despite what the braided boy had said, he did lean on Heero a little and looked pale. Heero was amazed. “Look at you! How did you manage to pull off your practical joke last night in this condition?”

“A clown has to do what a clown has to do, Hee-Chan,” Duo laughed wearily as they made their way into the hallway and up the short flight of stairs. “Someone has to make them laugh. Someone has to give them a little life after so much death.”

“And that has to be your job?” Heero wondered.

“No one else is as good as me at it, Hee-Chan,”

“Stop calling me that,” Heero grumbled. “Your Japanese is awful and you don’t even know what you’re saying!”

“But it’s funny, isn’t it?” Duo pointed out. “It makes everyone laugh when I call you that. Besides, I like the way it sounds. Hee-Chan, Hee-Chan, Hee-Chan. Sounds like a sneeze or something.” Duo giggled. Heero hid his smile behind a sour expression.

“Who makes the joker laugh, though?” Heero wondered suddenly. “Who relieves your stress and makes you ready for the next fight?”

Duo frowned. “Is that what I am?” he replied. “Your secret weapon? Your tool to keep the others from losing their minds from stress? Here, I thought you were really concerned for me, but you just want to make sure I keep on living, that I keep your pilots in the seat of their Gundams. You’re a cold man, Heero Yuy.” Duo shrugged and then hissed at the pain it caused his shoulder. “Don’t worry. I’m not about to lose my mind. I laugh plenty, especially at my own pranks and jokes. I guess I do it as much for myself as everyone else.”

They reached their shared room and Heero helped Duo onto his bed. He covered Duo up with a blanket and then stared down at him. “Need anything else?”

“To hear you laugh, Heero,” Duo replied impishly. “I mean, really laugh. I will, some day.” he sighed and sank down under the cover. “But, for now, I just wanna sleep, Hee-Chan. Turn out the light, K?”

“Hai.”

Heero picked up his laptop and took it with him downstairs, not wanting to keep Duo awake with his typing. Settling on the couch, he placed the computer on his lap and tried to open it, intending to type up a report of last night’s battle. The cover, to his surprise, wouldn’t open.

Heero dug his finger in and pried at the cover. It gave, slightly. He strained, leery of breaking the thing that was his life’s blood, but determined to get it open. Finally, it came apart with a very sticky sound. Heero peered closely and saw two wads of chewed bubble gum on each side of the lid. Both pieces were stretched out, pink gobs. On the screen, large and yellow, was a picture of a smiley face. Underneath that, it said. “Got you, Hee-Chan!”

“Duo!” Heero shouted. “I’m going to kill you!”

Laughter floated downstairs from where Duo had been ‘sleeping’. It was bubbly, giggly, infectious laughter. Heero’s face split into a smile, despite everything he tried to do to stop it. To the horror of the Perfect Soldier inside of him, Heero began to laugh. It grew in volume, unchained at last and powerful, it rose up and joined with the laughter coming from upstairs. Heero may have been the Perfect Soldier, but he had met his match in Duo, the Perfect Joker.

 

****Owari****