Two Divided By Zero
by Lasha Lee


Relena and Gerry had left for work early that day, leaving Heero alone in the mansion, except for the servants and the still-comatose Gage.

Heero, having never allowed hired help in his own home, wasn't used to the various maids fluttering about, and he thought he had deeply offended the elderly woman known only as "Cook" when he made his own breakfast that morning.

But that was how Relena and Gerry had been raised, and how they had chosen to raise their son, and it wasn't his place to judge them for it. Quatre and Trowa had servants as well; although they had never been allowed to clean up after Rylan.

Heero sat now in the garden, sipping a cup of hot tea, and looking over his notes for tomorrow's meeting. Tariffs. Trade issues. Expedition of criminals. Basic discussion topics. Boring, but he guessed it needed to be done.

A shadow loomed over him. "Well, that looks fascinating."

Heero put the notes aside as Gage sat down at the table across from him, yawning.

He really was a handsome boy, Heero thought privately. Today he was barefoot, wearing faded jeans and a dark blue silk shirt that was too big for him and hung down past his hips. His short, white hair was messy and uncombed.

"What?" Gage asked, lacing his fingers together.

"Nothing. I was just thinking about how much you look like Zechs. He wasn't much older than you when I meant him for the first time."

"Who?" The boy wrinkled his brow.

"I'm sorry. Your Uncle Milliardo. He called himself Zechs back in those days, and I've never been able to break the habit of calling him by that name."

For the first time, Heero sensed that Gage's smile was genuine. He likes his uncle, the man noted. Not that it's going to do me a lot of good, but it's a start. At least he likes someone.

"Your uncle was a good enemy. Even when his ideas didn't agree with mine, I couldn't ever fault his honor. But all the same, I'm glad I'm not fighting him anymore. "

"I've tried for years to talk him into building me a Gundam, but he's always turned me down." Gage reached for Heero's teacup and drained it quickly.

"And may I dare to ask why you think you need a Gundam?" Heero wanted to know.

"You may dare. I'm fifteen; I'm not supposed to have to have a logical reason for everything, you know. But I figure, in a few years I'll know enough to build my own."

"Your mother will just love that." Heero narrowed his eyes.

"My mother..." Gage leaned closer and turned his head slightly. "should check her lease on me. Because in a few years it's up, and I can do whatever I want."

"I thought you already did."

"For the most part." He waved his hand casually. "She lives in mortal terror that I'm going to do something to mess up her career, you know. So even though I never do, I just make her think that I am. Drives her insane."

Heero leaned back in the metal chair, studying the boy. "Why do you hate her so much?"

"Oh, I don't hate her. I'm actually very fond of the old girl, if you want to know the truth. And please don't tell her I said that. In her own way, she's quite lovable. It's just a simple personality conflict; I have one and she doesn't."

"Maybe you and your parents need some space." Heero suggested.

"I agree entirely." Gage nodded. "Feel free to take them back to Dera with you. A galaxy should be enough space, don't you think?"

"Actually, what I was thinking was that you should come back to Dera with me for the summer."

"Considering that you're a little old to be my type, Heero, I'd appreciate it very much if you'd stop pulling on my leg."

"I'm serious." Heero shrugged. "I talked to your parents about it last night, and they said that if you were willing, they were willing."

Gage considered. "I guess it's better than spending the summer getting hauled back here by Officers Mitchell and Friendly every night."

"Probably. But there are a few ground rules."

"Well, of course there would be." Gage grinned. "Things getting a little stale between you and that walking ad for Rogaine? Figure a nice little twink might liven it up a bit?"

Heero gritted his teeth for a second. "I promise you that stealing your virtue is the last thing on my mind."

"Good. Because I sold that at a rummage sale years ago."

"The biggest rule is, I'm not Relena. If you do anything to get yourself arrested, no one is going to bail you out. You'll sit there and rot. And we will not telling your parents until the end of the summer."

"I promise to do everything in my power to avoid being arrested."

"That's not exactly what I mean, and you know it. Are you willing to give it a try or not?"

"Sure."

"Great. I'm leaving tomorrow night after the conference. I think you'll have a good time."

"Dera..." Gage said thoughtfully. "I've only been there at once, at your kid's wedding."

Heero laughed. "Now that was a day to remember."

"I got into a fight with that Chinese kid..."

"And then your mother and his got into a screaming match." Heero reminded him.

"I know! And the other kid's mother punched my mom."

"And while this was going on, you and Shan took off to play together. Duo still cracks up about that. I'm surprised you still remember; it was so long ago."

"Yeah... I had fun that day." Gage twirled the cup around in his hands. "Hey, do you ever see those kids any more?"

"The Chang twins?"

"Yeah, I think that was their last name."

"Sure. Wufei is my best friend. His kids spend more time at my house than they do his."

"What are they like now?"

Heero was surprised at the question, and that it seemed honest.

"Well, they're fifteen now, like you. Meishel is an artist. She can draw just about anything, but her specialty is houses. She makes designs for them, and then Shan feeds them into a computer program he wrote. It creates a VR of the house. They're planning on opening their own firm when they come of age. I wouldn't mind living in a house they've designed, I'll tell you that."

"Ahhh, geeks then."

"They are not geeks. They're good kids. There's a difference."

"Right..." Gage said slowly. "And I suppose you think that Flossie and Freddie Bobbsey will be a good influence on this poor, misguided youth before you? I assure you, my flaws are products of heredity and environment, and are beyond my control."

"I can dream, can't I?"

Gage ran a hand through his hair, messing it up further. "Well, Heero old boy, I find your offer most generous. Now, you'll have to excuse me while I return to my room and assemble my meager belongings, as I prepare for my exile. Good day, sir." The boy stood and bowed deeply, and headed back toward the house, his bare feet leaving prints on the damp grass.

He stopped, and turned around to look back at Heero. "Say, you have cleared this with your other half, right?"

"I've decided to surprise Duo."

"Oh, he'll be surprised, all right." Gage agreed. His face twisted into a very large, painful-looking smile, and the voice coming out of his mouth was a dead-on imitation of the late Jack Nicholson. "Wait'll they get a load of me."


Duo yawned and wandered to the kitchen pantry, his bare feet sticking slightly to the floor. He reached inside blindly, groping for what he wanted, and he felt a package of hot cereal placed in his hand.

"Thanks." He muttered, and shut the cupboard door. He paused for a minute, trying to fully wake up, and looked down at his breakfast. Scratching his head, he opened the door again.

His son stood in front of the shelves, eyeing him with no little fear.

"Jazz?" Duo figured he still had to be dreaming.

"Sh! Keep your voice down." The young man hissed. "She'll find me."

"JASON MAXWELL!" A voice boomed from outside. "You get your cowardly behind out here RIGHT now!"

Jazz quietly pulled the small door shut again.

The woman who stormed into the kitchen a second later wasn't very big normally, but the large bulge at waist gave her the air this morning of a woman twice her size.

"Where is he?" She demanded. "Where is that no-good son of yours?"

"What's he done?"

"Nothing! He's done absolutely nothing." Linra fumed. "That's the problem."

"I don't understand." Duo was confused.

"He's... done... nothing!" Linra snapped. "The dishes from last night are STILL in the sink, the living room hasn't been vacuumed in three weeks, the windows are so filthy I can write my name in them, and there are piles of laundry everywhere."

Duo pointed at the pantry. "My no-good son is in there."

Linra waddled over to the pantry and yanked open the door. Jazz gave her a small wave. "Hi, honey. I was just... looking for... this!" He said brightly, and held up a can. "Evaporated milk. Man, we'd be in trouble if we got low on this, huh?"

"You think I've got time for this?" Linra was in full rant. "You think I have time to go tracking you down like this?"

Jazz stepped out of the cupboard and moved in front of her, trying to put a hand on her shoulder, but she jerked away from him. "It MIGHT have escaped your notice that I'm seven months pregnant with your child. You'd think you MIGHT be a little respectful of that..." She watched Duo signaling to her over Jazz's shoulder. He put his hands to his eyes and pretended to sob.

Linra immediately covered her face, her body shaking. "I don't know why I bother." She wailed. "You obviously don't love me enough to try and make this easy for me."

"Oh, honey don't." Jazz was almost in tears himself. "I'm sorry. I just got distracted. Please don't cry. I do love you." He embraced her. "I'll try and do better, I promise."

Linra raised her face, blinking rapidly. "Really?"

"Yeah, really." He smiled. "Come on, let's go back to our house. I'll fix breakfast for you and get all the house stuff done." He led her gently toward the door.

Linra gave a quick glance over her shoulder. Duo was smirking and giving her a thumbs up. She had to swallow quickly not to laugh and spoil her wounded effect.

Duo waited until they were both gone to collapse with laughter himself. Served Jazz right. He had yet to find a man immune to the tears, real or pretend, of a pregnant woman.

He heated up some water and mixed it in with the cereal, sitting down at the table and stretching. The house was so quiet it was spooky.

Luke had left the week before for the university. The classes normally didn't start until fall, but he was taking extra courses. He still hadn't picked a major yet, not for lack of interest, but simply because he had too many interests to choose from and hadn't settled on one.

He glanced over to Rosemary's empty chair sadly. His baby girl. He wished he could believe that her absence was temporary, but something told him that it wasn't. Rylan still had a very real fear of Dera, something he wasn't likely to ever overcome. And Rosie loved him so deeply that she'd be more than willing to permanently relocate to Earth for him.

And Jazz was trying to placate Linra over at their house, on the other end of the farm. That left himself and Heero, and Heero was on still on Earth as well.

He sighed to himself, and put aside the half-empty bowl, trying to figure out how he wanted to spend his day. He supposed he could write a little, but it wasn't the same without Heero standing over his shoulder. Nothing he did would the same as if his family was there with him.

He could have gone to Earth with his maclen, but with Linra so far along they felt that at least one of them should stay close to "the kids." That was how they still thought of them, although "the kids" were twenty-eight years old now.

He grumbled to anyone who would listen that he wasn't old enough to be a grandfather, but he couldn't help it, he was overjoyed that Jazz and Linra had finally decided to have a family of their own. They'd been pledged for ten years, after all. Still, he understood their desire to wait, to make sure they were as ready as they could possibly be.

"No one is ever ready." He found himself mumbling. "You just think you are."

The teleporter chimed then and he limped over quickly to hit accept. He didn't care who it was, he was so bored and lonely the God of Toilet Paper would have been welcome.

"Hi Duo. Mom sent us to pester you. She said you probably needed it."

"Your mother." Duo laughed, as Shan and Meishel stepped out into his living room. "Is a very wise woman."

"Well, we were driving her crazy. She wanted to share." Shan explained. The boy pushed his glasses up on his nose. His longish black hair was damp.

"Baba said that if he heard 'I'm bored' one more time he was going to strangle us." Meishel offered. Her own hair was halfway down her back and worn in a careless ponytail

"And you replied..."

"I'm bored, I'm bored, I'm bored, I'm bored... Then we ran for our lives."

Duo wiped away an imaginary tear. "I have taught you well, young ones."

"Is Jazz home?"

"Yes, but I wouldn't go over there. He's busy kissing Linra's feet."

Meishel threw her hands up in the air. "I warned him about those dishes."

Shan bounced down on the couch. "So. What do you want to do today? We're banned from the house until five. If you don't take us in we'll be forced to go door to door begging."

He rose to his feet. "Please mister, entertain me. I'll give you my sister. What there is of her anywa... OUCH!" Meishel had elbowed in him in the side. She'd had to stretch to do it.

Like Denea, Meishel had never quite broken five feet in height, and at fifteen she wasn't likely to get any bigger. But also like her mother, the force of her will wasn't something to be taken lightly.

She glared up at her twin. "It's the lack of oxygen up there. It's damaged what little brains he had to begin with." She commented. Shan was five ten.

But both twins were grinning now. Their constant teasing could never mask the very real affection between them. Although they had separate interests and friends, they were very seldom apart.

"Got any new designs?" Duo wanted to know.

"A few. We're still working out the kinks." Meishel explained. "Well, my drawings are perfect as usual. Shan's program needs help.

"Oh, Miss 'Who needs FOUR walls anyway'." Shan retorted. "How are you going to keep the ceiling of the kitchen up? Skyhooks?"

"One little mistake..."

"One BIG mistake, you mean."

"Shut up."

"Oh, you going to make me?" Shan taunted.

Meishel exploded into action. Her arms and legs moved so fast that she became a blur and went it cleared Shan was on the floor, an arm behind his back. "Yes, I'm going to make you." She responded.

"Okay, okay, I give. I'm sorry. That hurts!"

She released her brother and stood up, brushing off her hands.

"Way to go!" Duo said approvingly. "Show him not to take little people for granted."

"Well, if he hadn't stop taking lessons for Baba..." Meishel sighed.

Shan got to his feet. "Come on, Meishel. You know I hate that kind of stuff."

Wufei had instructed both twins in martial arts until they were ten, when Shan had abruptly announced that he wanted no more part of it. After begging, threatening, pleading, and emotional blackmail, Wufei had relented and taught Meishel alone after that. The man had been determined that no one would ever take advantage of his little girl, and as a result of his efforts and her own enthusiasm, there were few who could.

Shan had remembered enough that he could fight if he needed to, but he honestly had no stomach for it. He thought about it, and realized the last big fight he had been in had been at Jazz's Pledge ceremony ten years before, when that blond kid had been making cracks about Meishel.

Things like that were worth fighting over.

The computer chirped and Duo glanced over. "Hey, got some email from Heero. Hang on a second." He sat down and pulled it up.

Dear Duo

Well, I'm leaving here in a few minutes to head for home. And not a moment too soon. Just being back here for a few days has been enough to remind me of how happy I am to live on Dera now.

I'm going out of my mind missing you. I want you to know that. Just so there are no surprises when I show up, drag you by your hair to our room, and keep you all to myself for the next month.

Rosie sends her love, and says to tell you to stop worrying about her, because she knows you are. She loves her classes, she loves Earth, and she loves Rylan. And since Quatre and Trowa can't go more than a few days without checking up on him, they're checking up on her as well. She reminds me so much of Sheld these days... she gets so involved with her studies she forgets about everything else. Her greatest dream, she says, is to pick up where Sheld left off, and continue her mother's work. And I know that she will.

Now before I leave, I can't resist teasing you a little. Get one of the empty bedrooms ready; we're going to have a guest for the summer. No, it's not Rosie. And no, I'm not telling you who it is. You'll just have to wait and see, and be surprised.

I love you. And I'm incredibly homesick right now. With the delays as they are, I'll already be on the ship before you get this. Give the kids my love; and I'll see you soon.

Heero

Duo sniffed, and closed the email. Shan noticed the older man was blinking rapidly. "Hey, it's okay. He'll be back soon. He's on his way."

Duo nodded. "I know." He gave the boy a small smile. "But when you've been together as long as we have, it's hard to get used to sleeping alone."

"So who do you think he's bringing back with him?" Meishel asked, curious.

"Not a clue." Duo admitted, tilting his palms up. "But I'm sure it'll be fun having them. It's not like Heero's going to suddenly return with a reincarnation of Attila the Hun or something."

"Do you want some help getting the room ready for whoever it is?" Shan offered.

"You're such sweet kids. I'd love some help."

"Sweet? Us?" Meishel laughed. "Hardly." She put an arm around Duo's waist. "But we've got a soft spot for you Maxwells."

Shan's arm wrapped around him from the other side. "We get it from Baba, but that's a secret."

They walked Duo down the hallway, and he found his dark mood from earlier lifting. He had company for the day, and Heero was coming home.

The only nagging thought was to wonder who Heero had with him...


On to part three. Back to part one.