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Chapter 5: "Duo.  I'm going to kill you."

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An hour and a half after Lady Une hung up, Zeches and Noin called back.  Quatre and Relena answered, Heero hiding behind them.

Quatre explained the situation to Zeches.  Relena was still feeling ill at the thought.  It wouldn't have worried her so much, except that everyone else was so worried.  She knew they had a tendency to overprotect her, but this all seemed too extensive unless there was a serious threat.

Quatre and Relena spent several moments calming Zeches down and convincing him Relena was all right.  Noin left to get him some water, while Quatre continued trying to reassure Marquise.

Heero was pacing in the back, out of Zeches's sight.  He came forward now, leaning over Relena's chair.

Zeches stopped listening and grit his teeth.

They glared at each other through the screen for a few minutes, then Heero let a smug smile twist his lips.  He rested his hand on Relena's shoulder...

"The Preventers have already sent men out," Quatre was saying.

...Then lifted his hand and ran it along the side of Relena's face, gently tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear...

"Lady Une will let us know the second--"

...trailing his fingers through the long, soft lock, wrapping it around his finger, angling it in such a way that Zeches couldn't miss the action.

Zeches jumped out of his chair.  "Get your hands off her, Yuy!" he shouted, looking like he was trying to get through the screen to strangle Heero, or at least break his hands off.

Heero only continued smirking, his hands back on her shoulders.

Relena and Quatre had jumped at Zeches's outburst.  Relena frowned and smacked Heero's leg.  "Stop antagonizing him!" she hissed.

She turned back to the screen and smiled at her brother, trying to placate Millardo, who was still seething.  On the other side, a confused Noin was back, trying to calm down her husband.  Again.

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Duo was highly suspicious.  Wufei and Sally were acting even stranger then usual, and there was something odd going on between Heero and Relena.  At the moment, he was listening to Trowa talking to Catherine over the vidphone.  He wasn't getting anything good, though; Catherine was doing most of the talking.

"That's the most horrible thing I ever heard" she said decisively.  "Poor Relena.  I hope this creep is caught soon."

Trowa said nothing that Duo could hear.

"Will you come home soon?" she asked.

"As soon as possible" Trowa said in his quiet voice.

They said their goodbyes, and Duo jumped up to run away.  His jaw ached as he jumped around, but if Heero could run with a broken leg, Duo could run with a busted jaw.

He scooted down an adjacent hall and ducked into an empty bathroom as he waited for Trowa to walk to past.

Duo wasn't getting anything good.  He wandered off to look out the window at the end of the hall.  Relena and Heero were in the garden.  Relena had a book she was swatting at Heero, who seemed to be getting in her sun.  Heero was glowering at her.  Situation normal.

Duo had an idea.

He slunk down to the end of the hallway and looked rapidly back and forth.  Coast was clear.  Duo shot off for Heero's room.

He knew it would be empty, but he was cautious when he poked his head in.  He wouldn't put it past Heero Yuy to have booby-trapped it some way.  The room was meticulously neat, but Duo had expected nothing less.  It made it difficult for a search to go undetected.  Of course, the maid had probably been here already, but Duo bet she hadn't found much to clean up.

Unfortunately, it eliminated anything that could have been evidence for...anything.  The bed was tightly made, all the sheet corners tucked it.  The bureau and desktop were empty...Heero must have hidden his laptop somewhere.  Duo pulled open all the dresser drawers, then the closet.  Nothing.  Nothing under the bed, either.

Duo stood in the middle of the room, considering.  And then it hit him.  Heero's room was completely empty.  Heero and Relena had taken the time to pack a small bag each; he'd seen them when they arrived.  So where was Heero's stuff?

With a wicked smile, he took one more glance around the room, to make sure everything was in place.

Duo snuck into Relena's room, relieved to find it was still vacant.  The bed was made, but he pulled the covers back and the pillows looked slept-on.   And...both Heero and Relena's bags were in the closet.  Chortling with glee, Duo carefully replaced everything.  He was about to open the door when he heard Relena's voice in the hall.

Panicky, Duo slipped into the closet and shut the door after himself.  He couldn't believe he'd gotten caught-- he, Duo Maxwell!  On the other hand, he might get to hear all sorts of good stuff.

Relena was complaining about Heero making her come in.  "It can't be that much safer inside," she protested.  "And it's so beautiful out!"

Heero grunted in response.

Duo struggled to see out the slats on the door.  Relena had thrown her towel down on the floor and was digging through some drawers.  Heero bent down and folded the towel, then placed it next to the door for the maid to pick up and launder.  Relena, with a bunch of clothes in her hand, stepped into the bathroom and shut the door.

Burn! Duo thought, grinning.  He was amusing himself so thoroughly, he failed to notice Heero approaching the closet until he jerked the door open.  Duo tumbled onto his best friend's feet and looked up at him, still grinning.

"Heero."

"Duo.  I'm going to kill you."

"I know." With that, Duo scrambled upright, stomping on Heero's feet, hoping it would delay Heero somewhat.  Duo fled.

  

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