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So a long time ago, in a land far away, I wrote a Christmas story.  (I think it was a Christmas story...it was for Lemon Advent anway).  And then I wrote a sequel which had no title but now I'm retroactively calling Playing Pirates.  And the world they were in has always stewed quietly in the back of my head.  And then because of a conversation [livejournal.com profile] lil_1337 and I were having about Trowa and what a stinking jerk he can be...Duo and Trowa started talking (well yelling at each other, really) in my head and thus today's advent is born!

Phew.  Without further ado...


Space for all its mystery and romance was actually a pretty boring place.  Duo rarely encountered the unexpected when cruising the sectors and mostly spent a lot of time reading, tinkering and staring at paperwork.  He’d settled down and felt pretty good about his place in the world.

Therefore he was rather startled when his usual routine was thrown for a loop during what should have been a standard assignment.

“Well shit, I wasn’t expecting the great Trowa Barton himself.  To what do I owe this honor?”

Duo shoved an oil can into the door so it wouldn’t slide shut, staring in surprise at Trowa standing on the other side of the airlock. Crates were stacked outside on the platform connecting his ship to the shuttle docked alongside.  Trowa just rolled his eyes and shoved a box into his hands.

“You’re so funny Duo, you could retire on that act alone.”

Duo shrugged, “What can I say man, this talent just comes naturally.  What are you doing here, though?  Don’t you have a usual courier for this stuff?”

Trowa grunted, shoving a crate in through the door.  “He’s sick.  You made it sound like this was pretty urgent so I brought it myself.”

“That’s…” Duo was surprised to be honest.  He knew they did business because the business was good but he didn’t think the guy liked him enough to go out of his way for him.

“Whatever.  Stop being a lazy ass and move some of this freight; I don’t need to spend any more time on this hunk of junk then necessary.”

And there was the Trowa Duo knew and despised.  He rolled his eyes and made a point to drop a crate on the other man’s foot the next time they crossed paths.

Between the two of them it only took half an hour to haul the various crates and boxes from Trowa’s shuttle onto Duo’s ship.  They stacked the mining parts Duo had been hired to transport along the far wall, tossing cargo nets on them to secure them for jump.  The slightly more delicate cases of rare wine and what he suspected was a stolen work of art, supposedly recovered from an Oz facility and being returned to its rightful owner…Duo chose not to ask too many questions and Trowa certainly didn’t offer…those were stored in the wall panels and hidden floor compartments of the lavatory.

“Do I want to know why you chose the bathroom for your stash instead of something more sensible like the cargo bay?”  Trowa swore as he twisted to shove the painting up and above the showerhead.

“Everybody always looks in the cargo bay.  But nobody notices hollow spots in the lav because they expect them due to the pipes.”

They finished the unloading and were snapping the last tile back into place when the entire ship rocked under their feet, throwing Trowa against the sink and Duo into the tub.

“What the fuck?”  Duo sprinted toward the nearest window and looked out.  He should have been able to see Trowa’s shuttle but from this angle all he got was chunks of metal and a red glow.

They were nearly thrown down again as the ship lurched once more, another explosion going off toward the front.  Clearly someone knew what Trowa had been delivering and wanted it for their own.

Trowa spun snarling, poking Duo hard in the chest.  "This is your fault.  What the fuck?  I can’t believe they blew up my shuttle! What the fuck am I suppose to do now? Sit here stuck on this piece of crap you call a ship?”

Duo shoved him back, teeth bared. “Fuck you!  You were clearly followed.  Maybe if you didn’t have your head so far up your ass, you could see you were being tailed.”

“No way in hell was I followed!  They knew exactly where to hit, maybe if you did a better job encrypting your messages this wouldn’t have happened.”

While they argued, Duo threw himself down the hall and into the cockpit, fingers flying as he detached the ship from the wreckage attempting to burn a hole in his hull.

“’Scuse you?  What was it you did in the war?  Oh that’s right, you were the one with all the big guns, who was constantly going, ‘somebody help me I’ve shot my load and run out of ammo!’  And what was my specialty in the war?  Stealth, you fucking moron.  So no, it was not my encryptions that got your stupid shuttle blown up.”

 Trowa slammed into the seat next to him, flipping switches to activate the guns he knew Duo wasn’t suppose to have installed.  “Oh really?  Well at least I never got myself captured…oh wait it was more then once, wasn’t it?  At least I never have to watch anybody blow up Heavy Arms due to negligence."

Duo scowled, eyes narrowed.  "Fuck you Barton.  I wouldn't piss up your ass if your guts were on fire."

"Good!"  Trowa's face curled in a sneer, "I wouldn't want your help if you were the last person left living."

The ship rocked as Duo banked them hard to the left, adjusting his speed so they would spin around and come up behind the ship sitting on the edge of their view screen.  Trowa released the lock on the missile controls, muttering trajectory calculations under his breath.

Duo slammed them forward again, forcing the ship to twist at the last second.  He didn’t have to tell Trowa to take the shot as he counted one more beat and then fired.  They watched in satisfaction as the other ship exploded, Duo pulling them back to avoid debris.

"You know, I've never understood what your problem is.  You’ve been a jerk since day one of the war.  Oh sure you can be all buddy buddy with the other guys but me?  I get abandoned on a moon base set to detonate. What was up with that shit?  I mean, I was one of the good guys.  You're not supposed to blow up the good guys."

Duo took a breath and then let it out.  "You know what, forget it.  You're an asshole.  You were probably born an asshole and there's no changing the fact.  For some reason Quatre seems to like you.  Hell, Heero and even Wufei seem to like you.  It must just be me."

He stood up and walked to the door, slapping the control panel harder than necessary.  "We'll be planet-side in three hours then I want you off my ship."  He stalked out and didn't look back.

Duo was nursing a cup of coffee in the canteen when Trowa found him a couple hours later.  The other man stood in the doorway, looking uncharacteristically uncomfortable and then came the rest of the way in, hands clenched at his side.

“I hadn’t planned to leave you on that base.”

“Oh really?  You sure had a funny way of showing it.”  Still, Duo took it for the olive branch it was intended and leaned back to hook a mug and offer it to the other man.

Trowa nodded his head in thanks and then went over to pour himself some coffee.

"You always seem to land on your feet, no matter how bad things are.  And you have no idea how much that pisses me off.  Even when you realized you were almost left behind you just laughed and cracked a joke.  You never seem to take anything seriously, like nothing matters."

Duo stared at him in surprise, "What the hell did you expect me to do?  Cry?  I felt like shit.  Not going to carry on about my hurt feelings though."

Trowa fiddled with the sugar bowl, pushing it around before turning to stare at Duo. "It's weird."

Duo snorted, "Oh so you want me to be all repressed emotions like you?"

"I do not repress my emotions."

"Uh, hello?  Mr. I don't have feelings for Quatre but I’ll live in a house with him and pretend I don’t spend every other minute pining."

“You don’t know anything.”  He was back to snarling but Duo just flapped a hand at him.  “Oh my bad, did I miss the memo where you two started knocking boots?  Sorry that about that, it’s just so hard to tell what with all the angsting.”

Trowa look like he was about to stomp out again in a snit but suddenly he just walked over and collapsed into the chair next to Duo.  “Jesus, sometimes I really hate you.”

Duo just looked at him.

“You’re right and it’s really fucking annoying.  I’m dealing with it, okay?”

Duo still didn’t say anything just took a sip of his cooling coffee.

“Oh fuck you and your fucking smug existence.”  Trowa took an angry swig of his coffee and slammed it down.  “And you make disgustingly good coffee.”

They stared at each other in silence for a moment longer and then started to laugh.

Two cups of coffee and a cheese Danish later, Trowa leaned back in his chair, cup balanced on one knee.  “Should we feel bad we didn’t give them any warning?”

Duo shook his head, “Nah.  They did blow up your ship first, for all they knew it had a full crew.  Heero probably would have brought them in but you and I are alike in that way.”

“Merciless?”

“Pragmatic.  It’s a dog eat dog world out there, you shoot at me and I’m going to pay you back.  With interest.”

Trowa studied him for a moment; lips quirked, and then held his cup out toward Duo.  “To interest.”

Duo raised an eyebrow and then shrugged, clinking his cup against the other.  “What the hell.  To interest.”

They were thirty minutes out from docking on L3 when Trowa started to laugh again, peering over his mug at Duo. “Quatre is going to be so jealous when he finds out I got to go on a play date before him.”

Duo groaned, dropping his head into his hands.  “Oh God.  Don’t tell Wufei. He’s been harassing me since Heero and I ran into those pirates and I’ve been promising to take him out for a spin with the new boosters for weeks…”

Trowa just smirked.  “You know he’s going to find out.  Don’t be surprised if you find both of them stowing away the next time you’re in the sector.”

Duo glanced out the port window and then smirked back.  “Maybe. But something tells me there won’t be any joyrides in the Winner household when Q. finds out one of his shuttles got blown up.”

Trowa paled and all four legs of his chair hit the floor with a thump.  “You know what?  I change my mind.  This never happened and if anyone asks I’ve been home in bed with a cold and somebody stole the shuttle, I wonder how that happened?”

Duo grinned.  “That’s your story?”

Trowa nodded.  “And I’m sticking to it.”



Poor Wufei.  I swear I'm going to write you your playdate some day.
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