Two Divided By Zero
by Lasha Lee

No rain came with the storm, just wind, thunder, and lightning. Gage waited in the dark of his room, watching his shadow flash across the wall every now and then, listening to the old house creak and moan under the assault.

All he could do was wait, staring at the clock. 1AM. 2AM. 3AM.

There was a rap on his window, and he jumped, and ran to open it, hauling Shan inside.

Neither boy spoke, just stood in the darkness, the window still open and the storm breath whipping their clothing around them, holding so tightly to each other that they were nearly one being. And in spite of all his resolutions, Gage began to weep again. He'd cried more tonight than he ever had in his entire life, and he was ashamed of that fact, but with Shan it was okay. Shan could make it all okay.

When he couldn't cry any more, Gage pulled away and sat down on the bed, holding out his arms. Shan went to him without hesitation, kissing him, touching him, loving him. Gage was like a puppet; responsive but undemanding, needing to surrender control completely and let the other boy just take care of him.

Their lovemaking this time was much slower, gentler. Shan knew that it wasn't the sex Gage needed, it was the closeness and the comfort, and so he whispered to the other boy the entire time, telling him how much he loved him, how he would stand by him, how they'd get through this. And when it was completed, he felt drained, not just of seed but of soul. Which didn't bother him; Gage needed it more than he did at the moment.

The horizon was just beginning to turn light outside, and Gage suddenly laughed, touching Shan's cheek.

"Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate-tree:
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale."

Shan kissed him, running his tongue over Gage's lips.

"It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:
Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die."

Gage snickered. "Duo and Heero might be mad, but don't you think it's a little extreme to think they'd kill for this?" He picked up the next line.

"Yon light is not day-light, I know it, I:
It is some meteor that the sun exhales,
To be to thee this night a torch-bearer,
And light thee on thy way to Mantua:
Therefore stay yet; thou need'st not to be gone."

Shan picked up his glasses from the table and offered them to Gage. "Trust me, it's daylight. See for yourself."

Gage tried on the glasses and winced. "Geez, Shanny Boy. You're blind as a bat!"

Shan continued:

"Let me be ta'en, let me be put to death;
I am content, so thou wilt have it so.
I'll say yon grey is not the morning's eye,
'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow;
Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat
The vaulty heaven so high above our heads:
I have more care to stay than will to go:
Come, death, and welcome! Gage wills it so.
How is't, my soul? let's talk; it is not day."

"YES!" Gage cheered. "I ROCK!"

Shan frowned. "That is NOT the next line. You're supposed to convince me to flee."

"Shan, I'm the one in danger of being killed for this." Gage licked his nose. "I'm expecting your Baba to come crashing through the door any second."

Shan touched the bruises on his neck. "He'll pay for hurting you."

Gage shook his head. "No, let it go. If I thought someone had hurt you, I'd snap too. He really thought that I'd raped you. You're lucky, you know. Your father is a prick, but he loves you. I just wish he'd tone it down a bit."

"So what are we going to do? That's what I came here to ask. How are we going to stay together when everyone else wants to keep us as far apart as possible?"

Gage was quiet for a moment. "Shan, you told me once that you'd follow me anywhere. Did you mean that?"

"With all my heart." Shan promised.

"Heero and Duo are fantastic but they underestimate Zechs. If he can't win me in court, he'll pay someone to abduct me. Either way I'll be back on Earth before I know what hit me." He gave Shan an earnest look. "But he can't take me anywhere if he can't find me."

"You're running away, aren't you?" Shan gasped.

"I have to. I can't go back to Earth. I can't live with him. He may have knocked up Laura Landagren, but that doesn't make him my father. And I can't lose you because of his whims. Shan, come with me. I've got the money Jazz has paid me. Not a fortune, but enough to keep us fed for a while. We can be together, just you and me."

Leave? Shan thought hazily. Leave his parents? Leave 'Shel?

The alternative was just as harsh: lose Gage. If they left, it would only be for a few years, until they were old enough to legally Pledge, and then no one could keep them apart. It would be safe to return. But if Gage left on his own, who knew what might happen to him? It was very possible that Shan might never see him again.

"Okay." Shan agreed. "Let's do it. Let's go."

"It's too late today." Gage glanced at the window. "But tonight, meet me at the lake at 2AM. We'll need to avoid using the home transporters so they can't trace us."

"Agreed." Shan felt his heart racing with excitement. "I should really get home before I'm missed. I don't want them putting me under armed guard tonight or anything."

"Yeah, go on." Gage sighed. "Shan... if there was any other way..."

"I know." Shan kissed him again. "This is the only way. I love you, Gage. We'll start a new life somewhere. Let them stay here and fight about us; we don't have to stick around to listen."

Gage remembered when they had been little boys, at Jazz's wedding, running off together through the fields while their parents railed at each other. They'd really come full circle. But this time, when their parents called for them, there would be no reply.

"I love you right back, Shanny Boy. See you tonight."

"Tonight." Shan promised. He'd finished dressing and was at the window, and then gone.

And finally, with the morning sunlight full in his face, Gage was able to sleep.

"Shan?" Denea asked. "You're not eating much. Are you sure you don't want any more?"

The boy shook his head. "No thanks. I'm fine."

Wufei sat down his fork with a sigh, ignoring Meishel's warning look. "You've been moping around about that boy the entire day. Shan, this behavior is totally beneath you."

"Well, I wanted to eat in my room, but Mom wouldn't let me." Shan said in a dull voice. "Sorry that you have to look at me and be offended."

"That is not what I meant..."

"Mom, may I be excused? I've completely lost my appetite."

"Go on, honey, it's okay." She smiled at him. "Get some sleep tonight. You look terrible."

"Of course he does. I don't know how many diseases he probably picked up from..."

Shan moved quick as a flash, and his fork stabbed into the table, just barely missing his father's hand. "I didn't have to miss." Shan said in a tone none of them had ever heard before. It was low and deadly. "Tomorrow morning, I want you to think about that. I want you to think about everything that you and I have said over the past few days. Because you will."

"Don't you DARE threaten me." Wufei jumped to his feet. "My father would have beaten me within an inch of my life for something like that!"

"It's not a threat." Shan smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. "Goodnight, Meishel. Goodnight, Mom." He left the room and headed up the stairs. His door was still broken, and they could hear him setting it into place.

"What are we going to do?" Denea asked. "This can't go on."

"You could try letting him see Gage." Meishel suggested.

"Don't be flip." Denea scolded.

"Who's being flip? They're in love. Give Shan what he wants, and he'll go back to normal."

"Meishel, when you have your own children, you'll understand this, but children do not dictate the rules of a household. Shan is not going to get his own way in this acting like a spoiled brat! You want us to reward him for that behavior just now?" Denea demanded.

Meishel smiled. "If you'd listened to him, you'd have understood what he was trying to say. He's right, you know. I think that tomorrow morning, you might be doing a lot of thinking."

"What exactly is that supposed to mean?" Wufei wanted to know.

"I know nothing." Meishel said sincerely. "Shan doesn't always tell me what's on his mind. But I do know this. He's not giving up Gage without a fight." She looked at her father, and then her mother sadly. "He is your son, you know. He's just as stubborn as you, Mom. And in his own way, he's a warrior, Baba, just like you. And neither of you have ever run from a battle in your lives; why would you think Shan would be any different?"

She stood up. "I'm going to Jazz's house. He's invited me over. Just because you aren't speaking to the Maxwells doesn't mean that I'm not."

She headed for the living room, and then turned around. "I think it's all going to be okay." She said softly. "Just keep believing. The Wronith couldn't tear our family apart; this doesn't stand a chance."

Denea reached across the table and took Wufei's hand. "She's right. We'll get passed this and laugh about it one day."

He touched her fingers. "She was right about a lot of things. Shan is far too much our son at times." He rolled his eyes. "It won't matter. Gage is going back with his father, and that's where he NEEDS to be. A boy's father is such a vital piece of his life; that's the whole reason Gage turned out the way he did. If he finishes growing up with Zechs, a good deal of the damage can be repaired. And then... then if Shan still insists on being with him, I won't object. I won't approve, but I won't stand in their way. But right now, Gage is not worthy of my son. And he's not going to have him.

In his bedroom, far above their heads, Shan continued packing.

(Two divided by zero, zero)
(Two divided by zero, zero, zero)

Let's not go home, we'll catch the late train
I've got enough money to pay all the way
When the postman calls, he'll deliver the letter
I've explained everything; it's better that way

Shan laid the envelope on the bed, and hitched his knapsack over his shoulders. He wasn't taking much; just a few changes of clothing and a book he had been reading. He looked around his bedroom. It felt so strange to be seeing it like this, knowing how long it would be before he saw it again. Would they leave it the same, waiting for his return? Would they get rid of everything, all traces that a boy named Chang Shan had grown up here, lost his virginity in this room?

(Divided by, divided by) I think they heard a rumor
(Divided by, divided by) Or someone tipped them off
(Divided by, divided by) It's better to go sooner
(Divided by, divided by) Than call it all off

If he was going to do this, he had to go now.

He eased the door back and tiptoed down the stairs, waiting to be caught at any second, but he could hear his father snoring from his parents' room. All was well.

He went into the dark living room, and toward the front door, when something detached from the shadows, headed toward him. He jumped, but then saw who it was.

Meishel's thin arms wrapped around his waist, and her shoulders shook as she held tightly to him. His own eyes stung and he stroked his twin's hair. Leaving her would be like leaving part of himself behind.

She pulled back, and her black eyes glittered in the dim light. "Good luck." She whispered. "Write if you can. If not, I'll understand."

He nodded. "I have to go."

"I know." She released him. "Go to him, Shan. He needs you. I'll be fine."

"I love you, 'Shel."

"Love you too. Go on, before they wake up."

She opened the front door, watching her twin disappear into the night, and then shut it, returning to her own room to cry herself to sleep.

Relena had called from her hotel to check on Gage, but he had refused to speak with her, and Heero and Duo refused to make him. Then a few hours later, Milliardo had called, demanding to see his son. Duo's response was considerably less polite than it had been to Relena.

"You can't keep him away from me!" Milliardo was ranting. "I'm his father, and I wish to see him."

"Yeah, well wish in one hand and crap in the other. See which gets full first." Duo retorted. And hung up.

"That wasn't very nice." Heero noted with a smirk. "Good job."

Duo went back to a list he had been working on. "Good lord, not another party." Heero moaned.

"No, no, no parties." Duo soothed. "It's a list of things to use against Zechs in court. Past crimes, for example. And the fact that no matter how together he appears now, we both know just how deep his mental problems ran when he was younger. He was fucking looney tunes, and let me tell you, Yosemite Sam does NOT like to be fucked."

Gage had stayed in his room the entire day. He had accepted a tray of food from them, and thanked them politely. "Is there anything else you need? Anything at all?" Heero asked, worried about the boy's pale face.

"No, nothing." He assured them. "Just to sleep."

And so, they let him.

Now Gage stood by the lake, waiting again, his backpack cutting into his shoulders. What if Shan didn't show? Would he leave on his own? Zechs wouldn't be put off much longer. Did he dare risk hanging around here for another day? He glanced at his watch. It was nearly 2AM.

"Gage." He heard the whisper behind him, and was flooded with relief. Shan was here.

We'll catch a plane to New York, and a cab going down
Cross the bridges and tunnels, straight into town
Tomorrow morning we'll be miles away
On another continent and another day

"There's a public transporter about a half a mile from here. We'll go from one to the other, just to throw them off the scent." Shan explained. "We can be on the other side of Dera in a few hours. They'll never find us."

Gage nodded, and took Shan's hand. They began to run.

(Divided by, divided by) Let's not go home
(Divided by, divided by) Or call it a day
(Divided by, divided by) You won't be alone
(Divided by, divided by) Let's run away

On to part twenty-six. Back to part twenty-four.