Here There Be Dragons
by Lasha Lee

They went up the small stairs to the humming shuttle. One attendant was greeting the passengers and another approached Heero's group.

"Ambassador. Welcome aboard." The man bowed deeply. "Your compartment is ready."

Heero returned the bow and the group followed along to a private section near the back of the shuttle. Meishel managed to steal someone's sandwich along the way and Jazz plucked Shan off of the lap of a rather startled elderly woman. "You're not supposed to talk to strangers, let alone climb them." he reminded the little boy.

Shan batted long eyelashes at him. "Jazz mad?" He pouted around a tiny thumb.

Jazz sighed and shook his head. "No, I'm not mad. But you be good now." Of the twins, Shan was less inclined to get into trouble on his own and the quieter one. Meishel was bolder and had learned early how to apply copious amounts of charm to get what she wanted, especially where her baba was concerned.

From the time they were a few months old, however, the Chang twins had made it clear that no one in the world could hold a candle to their favorite person alive: Jazz. The boy still received calls in the evening from the frustrated parents complaining that the children refused to go to sleep until Duo's son came over and read to them. The young man would grumble about spoiled brats but no matter how hard he tried he was unable to keep the look of smug pride out of his eyes as he headed toward the transporter with a handful of children's books.

This had moved Wufei enough to apologize to Duo for every unflattering remark he had ever made about the braided man's parenting abilities. Jazz was a good boy, and would one day be a good father, he had stated. In the meantime, Jazz had been in the other room programming foul-mouthed cartoon animals into Wufei's teaching VR programs.

Luke crawled up on Heero's lap to look out the shuttle window and Duo sat down next to them. Linra and Jazz had gone to the back of the compartment alone and Rosemary was now playing with the twins near Wufei and Denea. Wufei was staring perplexed at the fruit jam on his daughter's face, trying to figure out where she had gotten it. His confusion only grew when she placed the blame on fairies.

Luke stayed on Heero's lap until after the shuttle had lifted off, but soon grew bored with nothing but stars to see. Heero had let him down and the boy had wandered off to explore the compartment, red curls bouncing.

When he and Duo had adopted Luke, they had discussed which surname to give him, and Heero had been adamant that the child be called Luke Maxwell. He wanted nothing more than his son to grow up with the same life and spirit that Duo and Jazz had in such abundance, even though he knew that Luke would be his own person. So far, he thought proudly, it was working. Although Wufei had been less than thrilled when Luke had decided to transport all of Linra's animals to him.

"I got us a room with a private hottub." Heero kissed Duo's fingers. "The kids' rooms are at the other end of the hall so we shouldn't be bothered."

"Sounds nice." Duo grinned. "What are you hoping we don't get bothered doing?" Even after all these years together, that electric-blue gaze still curled his toes, made him want to drag Heero off into the nearest dark corner and kiss him breathless.

"I brought the computer along." Heero nudged a bag at his foot.

Duo frowned. "That's not what I had in mind. Hello, this is our vacation. You're not supposed to be working." He settled back in his seat, sulking.

"I promise, no official business. I just thought if we got inspired along the way it might make some good fodder for future books." Heero assured him.

"Well, that's okay then." Duo conceded. "Because I'd hate to see your computer taking a dip in the hottub."

The family had enough money to have bought their own island on Seta if they had desired it. They could have lived in a mansion instead of a renovated farmhouse, had servants waiting on them hand and foot. But they had agreed that that was not the kind of life they wanted their children to grow up knowing. It was not what they wanted for themselves either. Heero's job as an ambassador from the "Irnao" section (as the Derans referred to Earth and the Colonies) put them in the spotlight enough as it was, not to mention the success of their books. Not only was it their job to raise the children, but also to raise them not to become rich, spoiled brats. So far, they had been pleased with the results. Duo still chuckled at the memory of someone asking Luke not long ago what his parents did. Luke had replied promptly "Make me clean my room and eat Jazz's vegetables."

"I promise that you will have my full, undivided attention." Heero leaned forward. His lips brushed against Duo's and the tip of his tongue teased along them.

"This must be the kissing shuttle." Luke noted as he rejoined them. The fact that his parents were affectionate didn't bother him at all; he was used to it. He personally thought it looked pretty silly, but he guessed adults must like it.

"Oh, who else is kissing? Wufei and Denea?" Duo teased the boy, drawing back from Heero.

"Nope. Jazz and Linra." He pointed toward the back of the shuttle. "Jazz wouldn't even stop long enough to tell me to go away." He said as an afterthought.

Duo's eyes narrowed and he got to his feet, followed by Heero. They made their way to the rear of the shuttle.

The teenagers were indeed locked at the lip. They did not notice their audience until Heero cleared his throat loudly. Then they drew apart quickly.

Jazz flushed and patted Linra on the shoulder. "Next time take smaller bites. I might not be around to help out if you choke again." He told her.

"I will. Thanks for saving my life." She replied with a friendly smile. "Boy, the CPR stuff really comes in handy."

"How stupid do we look?" Duo wanted to know.

Jazz tilted his head. "What, I was supposed to let her just die?" He blinked innocently at them.

"You're supposed to follow the house rules. Nothing beyond holding hands and/or cuddling until you're both 18." Duo reminded them.

Jazz made a face. "We're not IN the house, though." He pointed out.

"Don't be smart. You know what your father means." Heero replied.

"You're just determined to ruin my vacation, aren't you?"

"Jazz." Linra touched his arm.

"No, it's not fair! They don't trust us!" Jazz was angry now.

"You're right. We don't. You've shown that in this situation you CAN'T be trusted, not yet." Heero shot back.

Duo and Heero had always found the relationship between Jazz and Linra to be wonderfully sweet and innocent. They had no doubt at all that the two would pledge one day, and they enjoyed watching their relationship grow. When the two had announced they wanted to start dating, neither man had had a problem with it, thinking that both teens were too young to take it beyond that.

That had ended the night they had come home early to find the pair only minutes away from becoming lovers. It had been a slap in the face that their children were no longer children, and they had been forced to set rules. Linra had grumbled to herself but accepted them without too much protest. Jazz was still miffed. They'd been soldiers at his age and he was too young to make out with his girlfriend? That, to him, made absolutely no sense. Duo had countered with the argument that he was NOT going to become a grandfather at the age of 34 and that he was perfectly willing to keep Jazz and Linra locked in separate rooms for the next three years to keep that from happening.

"Yeah, I'm SO irresponsible." Jazz snorted now. "Can't trust me for a minute."

"Watch your tone." Duo warned his son.

Jazz stood up. In size he towered over his father and violet eyes locked in battle. It was the boy who looked away first. "You still have a few years to go before you're a man, Jason." Duo said finally. "Until then it's my job to protect you, even if it's only from yourself. That goes for you too, Linra. You'll understand one day."

Jazz flinched at the use of his real name. Duo had always been a little puzzled by that. Before coming to Dera Jazz had never hated the name Jason, he had just preferred his nickname better. But at some point in his 8th year he had come to detest it and he would never explain why.

The boy slumped back down in his seat, and began staring out the window. Like any other teenager, he had his dark moods and temper fits, but they never lasted long.

The journey from Dera to Seta took a little over four hours. Most flights tended to be boring in nature and Heero had proposed doing a little writing to pass the time. However, they had forgotten with whom they were travelling.

Meishel had somehow slipped into the main compartment and returned proudly with several wallets, leaving her mortified father to try and find the owners. Shan, noticing his father gone and his mother asleep, had helped himself to a tube of make-up in her purse and was scribbling happily on the walls.

Then Duo had bolted upright to hear a familiar voice announce over the intercom that the shuttle was being detoured to Earth due to construction. He had run off to find Jazz and whatever he had hacked into. Rosemary and Luke then decided to try and calm down the now upset passengers with a soft-shoe song and dance. Unfortunately their song of choice was a rather bawdy drinking ballad.

Linra had pulled the children back into their private compartment as Duo was pulling Jazz back in by his ear. Wufei was trying to lecture his offspring on the evils of stealing and vandalism, which worked fine until both twins fell asleep mid-scold. He had been about to wake them up but the tongue-lashing from Denea had encouraged him to wait.

Then Heero and Duo had returned to their story to find it now interlaced with references to animals, trampolines, and potting soil.

Linra had shrugged and grinned. "You didn't expect me to miss out on ALL the fun, did you?" She asked.

"Are you sure Seta is big enough for all of us?" Duo muttered as the shuttle entered the other planet's atmosphere.

"Not anymore." Heero replied. "May whatever gods the Setans believe in help them now. We have arrived."


On to part three. Back to part one.