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There were 2 weeks until the test was given; Heero and Duo spent the time frustrated and anxious. Duo studied for the test; there was no way he was going to fail this one. The day before the test, Friday, Duo visited the doctor for the last time. The cast came off, and he was pronounced healed, nearly four weeks after the attack. They hadn't heard back from the police about the boys who had hurt Duo. They hadn't reappeared in school. Heero finally found out that they had pleaded guilty, and because of their age, had been put on probation. Two of them had previous records, so were sent to a juvenile detention center across the state. The others had been reassigned to a school for troubled youths, and the officer assured Heero that they wouldn't be bothering anyone again. Heero disagreed; he was more glad than ever that Duo was out of that school. Heero decided to take other measures.
After they left the doctor's office, Heero told Duo they were going to visit a friend, but wouldn't tell him any more. Duo was, of course, bursting with curiosity. They pulled up to a beat-up looking old house, and Duo looked dubious. But he had lived in far worse places, so really didn't mind. He followed Heero up to the front door, which mysteriously opened at their approach. They walked inside.
The inside of the house couldn't have been more different from the outside. As soon as the door shut, it was like they were in a different world. What looked like a decrepit wooden door from the outside was actually a steel security door, and opened automatically, controlled from the inside. The small house was filled with high-tech equipment, the purpose of most Duo could only guess at. One wall was covered with flat panel displays, some of which showed views of the outside of the house, and the rest held scrolling data. It looked like something out of a movie.
Seated before the monitors was a small, unassuming man that would probably go unnoticed in a crowd. He spun around in his chair as the two entered, face breaking out in a wide grin. "Heero! How ya been? It's been ages!"
"Hello, Alex. I can see you're up to your usual tricks," joked Heero. "Duo, this is an old friend of mine, Alex." Duo nodded at the man, who didn't offer a hand to shake. Duo was struck by fear suddenly; how would Heero introduce him to this man? "Alex, this is Duo. The love of my life." Duo was amazed; Heero said it so easily. Alex didn't seem shocked at all.
"I'm happy for the two of you. You've been alone too long, Heero. Well, you've always been alone, but you know what I mean. Anyway, enough chitchat. No one comes to see me without a reason. I owe you big, Heero. You know I'd do anything to help you. What do you need?"
"You always could read me like an open book, Alex," smiled Heero. "I do have need of your particular brand of help." And Heero proceeded to tell him about the boys who hurt Duo, and how though he wished he could just kill them, he needed a way to get back at them. A non-violent way.
Alex listened carefully, nodding, and asked a few questions. Then he turned to Duo. "I'm sorry that had to happen to you, Duo. Heero is one of my oldest friends and you very obviously make him happier than I've ever seen him. I will do whatever I can to help you get back at those idiots."
"Thanks!" smiled Duo. And they got to work.
Heero gave Alex the names of the four boys that were currently free. Then they sat back and let him do his magic.
Within minutes, Alex had accessed the boys' families' credit histories, their job histories, and all the information they could find on the minor boys. Actually, one of them was over 18, so it was easier.
The oldest one was also the one who owned the shiny new Mustang, and with a few keystrokes it had been marked as a delinquent account, slated for repossession. It would be towed away, and though they would probably get the car back, it would be a long and arduous process to straighten out the red tape. Alex would arrange for it to be "accidentally" damaged during the repossession process, and when that was resolved, he would put in a report that the car had been stolen. The repossession would damage the boy's credit as well.
Two of the boys were in line for sports scholarships; they had obviously pled guilty to the assault with the intention of the conviction being wiped from their records when they turned 18, and hopefully no one would ever know about it. The scholarships depended on good behavior; and when the copy of the police report landed in the university offices, the scholarships would be all but gone, as befitted their cruel behavior.
The last one, their leader, was trickier; Alex tried and tried, but couldn't come up with anything. The boy's father was a lawyer. Then they tried searching the databases of the state he had moved from two years ago. Bingo. A charge of assault and battery that had been treated the same way as the later one, guilty with the intent that it would be erased if he didn't get into trouble again before 18; his lawyer father obviously knew that the states didn't reciprocate information, and had pulled the same trick in the new state. If the judge had known about the previous charge, the boy would not have been given probation. So Alex sent a copy to the district attorney, and the boy would most likely be joining his friends at the detention center very soon, his probation revoked. And things worse than they had done to Duo would happen on a daily basis.
After about three hours, they sat back. Alex had done his best; short of physical violence, this was the best he could do, and it was untraceable. With any luck, the problems they had invented for the boys would keep them busy and screw up their lives for some time. Heero still wanted to kill each and every one of them for hurting his love, but he didn't want to go to jail himself. Then he definitely couldn't be with Duo. They were so close now.
Heero and Duo thanked Alex, and promised to come see him again; the man was almost a recluse, working contract jobs from his fortress of a home. They drove home; Heero wanted Duo to get plenty of sleep before his test. Duo was too nervous to sleep, and tossed and turned for hours. Finally, he ventured out of his room and crept to Heero's.
"Heero?" Duo whispered in the darkness.
"Yes, Duo?" Heero answered. He hadn't been asleep either.
Duo came to sit next to Heero on the bed. "I can't sleep. Can I sleep with you please? I promise I won't try... too much..."
Heero sighed. He wanted nothing more than to sleep beside the longhaired boy all night, but could they trust themselves? But he couldn't say no to Duo, not now. "Promise?"
Duo grinned and dived into the bed next to Heero, snuggling close. "I love you," breathed the violet-eyed boy, and Heero needn't have worried. Duo was sound asleep in minutes, and though the boy's mere touch had made him hard as a rock, Heero soon followed Duo into slumber. They both slept soundly, intertwined and secure.
The next morning, Heero woke first, and lay quietly for a few moments, just looking in wonderment at the longhaired boy in his arms, amazed how lucky he was that they had found each other and were almost free to be together.
Then Duo began to stir, and managed to press his arousal against Heero, and brush against Heero's own, all while "innocently" waking up. Heero smiled and hugged Duo close; they had to get going to the testing center.
Heero sat nervously, glancing at his watch. The test should be nearly finished; it had been 4 hours. Duo must be exhausted after all that time. Then the braided boy came bounding out, and nearly hugged Heero to death, followed by a smiling older woman.
"I did it! Heero, I passed!" Duo cried, braid bouncing.
"How~" but Heero didn't get to finish.
"I must have bugged them so much they agreed to grade the sections as I finished them. I did really well, Heero!" Duo was practically trembling with excitement.
Heero looked at the older woman, who stood beaming. "There weren't all that many people taking the test, and Mr. Maxwell here was so enthusiastic, I couldn't help but check over it for him. He'll get the official results in the mail in about two weeks, but I can tell you he passed with flying colors."
Heero smiled and shook the woman's hand. "I can't thank you enough. You have no idea how much it means to him." And us, Heero added to himself.
The woman smiled back. "I think I can tell," she said, looking at the excited boy. "Good luck to both of you."
Heero and Duo walked out into the parking lot. They stood by the car, and Duo stood still all of a sudden.
"Duo, are you ok?" Heero asked, concerned.
Duo looked at Heero, eyes shining. "This is it, Heero. I passed the test. I've graduated from high school. I'm an adult. I'm no longer injured. There's nothing to keep us apart any more."
Heero took Duo's hand and held it gently. "Let's go out to dinner. Then, go home and celebrate. And I can truly show you how much I love you. Completely."
Continued in part 11