******* WARNING *******
*** YAOI implications, 1x2/2x1

This is an odd, WAFF-ish little ficlet that I came up with. It was partially inspired by my own cross-stitch project (Christmas gifts for my new nieces!) which helped me deal with the frustration of having both my car and purse stolen with a 72 hour period. :P

It's a rough draft, so it's a bit incoherent. Try to ignore the typos. If the symbolism gets too weird or obscure, let me know so I can make appropriate revisions, hmmm? ^_^;

Hope I didn't pilfer someone else's title.... <massive sweatdrop>

A Gundam Wing ficlet by Madamhydra

Short Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end) Gundam Wing is copyright of its respective creators and all distributors of their work and used without permission.

Duo Maxwell was up to something.

Wufei was sure of it. Why else would the normally rambunctious and gregarious Deathscythe pilot become so quiet and solitary? What could possibly hold Duo's attention so intensely for the past few days?

He would catch the occasional glimpse of Duo sitting by himself off in the distance, busily doing something with his hands. The possibility that Duo could be busily at work on a laptop did nothing to reassure him.

Wufei did his best to leave Duo alone and simply appreciate the unfamiliar serenity. But after three days of it, he was dying of curiosity. Who knew what sort of crazy scheme could be buzzing around Duo's brain? Of course he wasn't about to lower himself to snooping, sticking his nose into other people's business. That was Duo's modus operandi, not Chang Wufei's.

That wasn't to say that he had, on several occasions, found some perfectly plausible reasons to saunter past Duo's location.

But no matter how carefully he tried, he could never catch Duo in the act. Every single time, the other pilot would disappear long before he managed to get close. Duo would later show up at mealtimes with a mildly cheerful, yet rather sinisterly satisfied air. And after the meals, he would vanish again to some obscure corner of Quatre's estate.

As he played with his rice, Wufei considered whether he would have to take more 'active' measures to uncover Duo's plot....


Duo Maxwell was up to something.

Quatre was sure of it, but he was almost too afraid to guess what that 'something' could be.

Although Duo had been his normal bouncy self when he first arrived at the Winner estate, Quatre could tell that the long-haired pilot had been deeply upset and hurt. And that evening, when he saw the news broadcast of a diplomatic reception that showed Relena being escorted by Heero... well, it didn't take a genius to guess why Duo was so upset, not to mention angry. The Deathscythe pilot had stared mutely at the television, then stormed off into the night.

Quatre had been greatly relieved when Duo returned late the next day, but the eerie calm and determination in the other pilot's eyes sent an uneasy chill up his back. And what on earth had been in that shopping bag he had carried?

His foreboding had only increased when he overheard one of his servants commenting that a pair of very sharp scissors had disappeared. Combine that bit of information with the fact that Trowa had seen Duo visiting a church, the braided teenager's rather eerie aura of contentment, and Quatre really started to worry. It was now clear that Duo had come to a momentous decision that night.

The question was... what sort of decision?


Wufei stalked past Quatre into the house, irately tapping his pair of binoculars against his leg as he muttered, "That sneaky little devil. What the hell is he planning to do with...."

The blond pilot hastily ran after Wufei and grabbed his arm, pulling him to a halt in the front hallway.

"Wufei, are you talking about Duo?"

The Chinese pilot flushed with embarassment, then reluctantly replied, "Yes."

"You were spying on him!?"

Wufei huffed indignantly, then retorted, "I wasn't spying! I was just trying to see what he was up to!"

"What did you see?" Quatre anxiously inquired. "What was he doing?"

The other teenager blinked, then shrugged. "I'm not sure. I originally thought he was up to no good with his computer, but he wasn't doing that. He was fiddling around with a dark-colored rope or something like that."

"A rope!?" Quatre yelped in dismay.

"Yes. Almost like he was fondling it. Or maybe he was trying to count every single little fiber. Who knows?"

"And you didn't take it away from him!?"

Wufei scowled in puzzlement at Quatre's obvious air of anxiety as the other pilot raked a hand through his blond hair.

"Take it away from him? Why on earth would I do that?"

"Don't you realize how upset he was when he arrived here? And later that evening...."

"Of course I noticed. Why do you...?" Wufei stopped short and stared at Quatre. "Now wait a moment. Surely you don't think that Duo was planning to KILL himself with that damn rope!"

"Why not? You know how he feels about Heero! If Heero left him for Relena...."

Wufei shook his head almost irritably. "Duo's not the sort of person to crawl off into a corner and die if someone hurts him, like some weak female in a romantic tragedy...."

Quatre frowned and retorted, "And what sort of person do you think he is, then?"

The Chinese pilot grinned sourly and said, "He's the sort of person who gets even, no matter now long it takes. If Heero dumped him for Relena, then the two of them better watch their backs for a very, very long time."

"That's ridiculous! Duo's not a vindictive person! He cares a great deal...!"

Wufei growled, "And that's the problem! Don't tell me that you've been fooled by all that cheery frivolity of his! You've heard the phrase 'still waters run deep'? Well, in Duo's case, it's a case of 'frothy waters run deep'!"

"Now wait a minute...!"

"Yes, Duo is capable of loving very intensely," Wufei paused for a heartbeat, "and he's just as capable of hating as intensely! If he's planning to do anything with that damn rope, it would probably involve wrapping it around Relena's or Heero's neck, not his own!"

"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard you say!" Quatre bit his lip, as if trying to restrain the urge to add a downright rude comment.

In the middle of the rapidly escalating argument, the front door suddenly opened. Both teenagers turned to see Heero standing in the doorway. His words were terse and succinct.

"Where's Duo?"

Wufei blinked, then replied, "He's in the woods along the eastern edge of the estate. Just follow the path along the creek."

Heero nodded once. Just as he started to turn, Quatre hastily called out, "What are you planning to do?"

The Wing pilot paused, glanced back at them and replied in a

"Apologize." And with that, he pivoted and stalked out the door.

The two pilots watched him leave, then turned to stare at each other before resuming their argument.


Following the creek side path, Heero walked for several minutes before coming to a clearing. He paused a moment to just look at Duo.

Comfortably seated in a little nest-like hollow amid the roots of a great oak tree, the braided teenager looked uncannily like a forest spirit. And draped over his knees and pooling across his legs rested the coils of a long blood red ribbon.

Heero moved closer, making no effort to hide his approach. Duo was undoubtedly aware of his presence, but didn't look up from working on the precise, exquisite embroidery stitches that formed the ribbon's surface. Finally, Heero spoke.


The silvery needle in Duo's slender fingers paused for an instant, then continued to finish the stitch. He neatly tied off and snipped off the thread, then stuck the needle into a waiting pincushion. Only then did he look up at Heero. His answer was just as concise as Heero's apology.


The Wing pilot visibly relaxed, then sat down beside Duo. A long silence followed, broken only by the soft gurgle of the nearby stream. As Duo watched Heero, the Wing pilot ran a calloused finger along the finely textured surface of Duo's needlework.

"I didn't know you could... sew."

The Deathscythe pilot chuckled softly, then gazed off across the clearing and murmured, "When I was young, I used to spend hours watching Sister Helen sewing as she told us stories. At first it seemed to be incredibly boring and pointless, just sitting around and poking thread through a piece of fabric. But as I watched, those silly little stitches started to form... something beautiful. I asked her why she didn't just buy a fancy altar cloth. She just smiled and said the church couldn't afford it. But even if it could, something bought with money wouldn't have meant nearly as much as an object created with a person's own hands. And watching her work taught me something else -- that with love and patience, even the most mundane things can become a thing of beauty."

With a sigh, Duo said, "When I first arrived here, I was hurting. Bad. And when I saw you with Relena, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I jumped into one of Quatre's cars and torn out of here. Just my dumb luck that I didn't manage to wreck myself, considering how I was driving. I spent the rest of the night driving around town, looking for some way to make the pain go away. After wandering around for a while, I somehow ended up inside a church."

He snorted. "It's not as if I believe in God and all that jazz, but there's something about churches that... I don't know. It just cuts through all the mental noise in my head. I always seem to get these epiphanies -- great mind-boggling revelations -- in churches."

"So sitting inside your average, nondescript church, I realized two important things that night. First, I couldn't run or hide from my feelings for you. And second, I could deal with those feelings in one of two ways -- I could do something destructive, either to you, Relena, or myself. Or I could do something constructive."

Duo shrugged eloquently. "So instead of indulging in booze, drugs, or gratuitious sex and violence, I opted to try the constructive approach."


"Well, why not put all this stress and nervous energy into trying to create something for a change instead of destroying stuff." Under his breath, Duo muttered, "God knows I've done plenty of destruction already."

"So you decided to sew."

Duo leaned back against the tree and murmured, "The rhythm of your hands moving back and forth... I don't know. I just find the work's strangely soothing and relaxing. It brings back... good memories."

Heero lifted the embroidered ribbon. As the sunlight played across the glossy silk threads, he asked insistently, "But why this?"

The Wing pilot frowned slightly as he got a better look at Duo's handiwork. At first he had thought that the ribbon was simply one color throughout, but upon closer examination, he could see very subtle designs in the stitchery. Designs that meant something....

Duo shrugged, but declined to answer. When Heero turned his head to give him an intense stare, the Deathscythe pilot replied in an uncommonly serious tone, "Sister Helen once told me a legend about a red thread -- a red thread of destiny that connects two souls together for eternity." He flicked his fingers toward the ribbon resting in Heero's hands.

"Inspired by hopes and dreams. My hopes. My dreams."

Staring down at the intricate stitches, Heero inhaled sharply as he suddenly identified the mysterious pattern contained within the embroidery. Along the entire length of the ribbon that trailed a good ten feet of more, the subtly varied shades of reds, crimsons, and scarlets spelled out his name and Duo's, nestled right next to each other, repeated over and over again. He lifted his head and stared at Duo.

"I don't know anything about destiny," Heero said quietly as he reached out and gently wrapped a few loops of ribbon around Duo's wrist, binding the two of them together. "But I know where this red thread comes from. It's created by love and patience, discipline and effort. And it's beautiful. As you are."

Totally flustered, the braided pilot opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, then closed it again.

Although his face did not change expression, Heero found himself smiling inwardly at the sight of the speechless Duo as he blushed furiously.

Duo finally managed to gather his scattered wits together and in a somewhat choked voice said, "Are you... are you interested in giving me a helping hand with it?"

"Show me," was Heero's simple reply.