Two Divided By Zero
by Lasha Lee

One crisis a day, Gage thought sourly, should be enough for anyone to have to handle. Why couldn't everyone just leave him alone? First Honeybear and Dumpling, who had made a whole mockery of the art of S&M, then the bullies, and now what? All he wanted to do today was find a job, eat, and screw Shan into oblivion. Was that so much to ask?

He wheeled around, and saw two girls, 19ish, staring at him in shock. "Well, this isn't surreal." The second girl muttered. She was a lot taller than her friend, with short honey-colored bangs falling into her eyes. The first girl had very bright red hair in a French twist.

"No. I can promise you, my dear ladies, that whoever you think we are, you are mistaken." Gage assured them. "We are but two humble orphan boys, trying to meek out an living. Nothing to concern yourselves over. Have a good day, and remember, too much sunlight can kill you." He bowed and took Shan's hand. "Come, dearest one." He turned to leave.

"You're her brother, aren't you?" The first girl was not to be dissuaded. She was staring at Shan in awe. "The girl on the news earlier!"

"HUH?" Shan asked, bewildered.

"Your sister went on the news and asked if anyone recognized you, would they please help you?" The redhead continued. "Don't be scared, we're not going to tell anyone who you really are. We went to help."

"We do?" Asked the second girl.

"Of COURSE we do." The redhead smacked her friend. "Look at them. Out here all alone, hunted by people who want to split them apart. It's our duty to help them."

"I like you." Gage blurted out.

"We are pretty hungry." Shan added in what he hoped was a pitiful tone.

"See?" The redhead gave them friendly smiles. "Our beach house is right over there. Come with us, and we'll take care of you."

"I like you a lot." Gage amended.

"Tabitha." The blonde girl snapped. "What is wrong with you? They're FIFTEEN! He's a Tren's son!"

"Technically I'm a Tren's nephew." Gage offered, but they were ignoring him.

"So?"

"FE-LON-Y." The blonde said slowly. "HELLO! We're adults? They're kids! Kidnapping charges? Prison cells? Sex with really furry women?"

Shan snickered at that.

"What about human laws, Kelly?" Tabitha had her hands on her hips, pointing her finger. "What about laws of kindness? Of decency? It's fate! Fate has put these poor lost boys in our path, and it's our duty to assist them as much as we can."

The boys stared at each other. Gage shrugged and sighed. "Who am I to argue with fate?"

"This could be a trap." Shan warned.

"Possibly." Gage admitted. "Doubtful, however. Weird happens; sometimes it's best just to go with it."

"Come on Kelly." Tabitha purred. "Be nice. Look at them. Who's going to help them if we don't, huh?"

"Their parents?" Kelly asked with a snort.

"What if someone had told us we couldn't be in love?" Tabitha was prompting. "What if we'd had to run away to be together, huh? I thought you were committed to fighting homophobia. If you turn your back on these kids, you're nothing but a hypocrite!"

"They may not even want our help." Kelly was obviously weakening. "Do you want our help?" She asked hopefully.

Shan opened his mouth to say of course, but Gage beat him to it, shaking his head. "No, it's okay. We don't want to be any bother. Or come between you. We appreciate the offer, but we'll be okay. Just please, if you're going to report that you've seen us, let us reach the transporter first? Give us a fighting chance?" He rubbed at his neck, pulling down the neck of tee-shirt in the gesture absently, exposing the bruises on his throat.

"JESUS!" Kelly blurted out. "His DAD did that to you?"

"Yes... but he was understandably angry. I don't blame him in the slightest for wanting to protect Shan." Gage assured her, still not sure how she knew the whole story, but definitely suspecting someone he intended to kiss the life out of the next time he saw.

"Bullshit! A grown man doing something like that to a kid?!? He should be in jail!" Kelly was really angry now. "Come on. We need to get your guys out of here before anyone else recognizes you. People who beat up on kids just make me sick! And for what? Because you fell in love with his son?" She was walking back toward the row of houses now, the boys grinning and following her.

"She reminds me of my mom." Shan whispered. "If Mom was a really tall lesbian."

Tabitha had dropped back to walk next to them, grabbing Shan's hand. "This is so cool. We've got to go back to Earth next week, but you can stay with us until then. I'm just so honored that I'm the one who found you! I CRIED when your sister was on television earlier. Kelly thought I was just hormonal but it was so sweet and sad." She sniffed. "You poor things. All you've had to go through. We'll take good care of you."

"We don't know how to thank you." Shan smiled. "This is so kind of you..."

"My own family was totally unthrilled last year when I came out. But I was already an adult so they couldn't do much but bitch and moan. My mom was all like 'but I want to be a GRANDMA' cause I'm an only child and all. And I was like 'Mom, just cause I'm a lesbian doesn't mean I'm not going to have kids.' And then she was like 'Who's going to teach your sons how to fix cars?' and I was like 'Mom, I've been fixing my own car since I was sixteen.' She's cool with Kelly now. I think she still hopes it's a phase, though. And my Dad just coughs a lot and changes the subject. Kelly's parents are totally happy about it. Her mom said that Kelly is such a bitch she was just glad she found someone to put up with her."

"I HEARD THAT, TABBY!" Kelly turned around as they reached the front door of the house.

"You can be a bitch." Tabitha said cheerfully. She put her arms around Kelly's waist. "But I love ya anyway." She kissed her quickly. "Now let our guests inside so they can get something to eat. The poor dears are about to fall over."

"You have the strangest luck that I have ever seen." Shan had to say to Gage. "What? Do you have God on Speed-Dial or something?"

"Darned if I know." Gage replied cheerfully. "But I don't kiss a gift angel on the mouth." He paused. "You are a different story." In front of the girls, in the doorway of the beach house, he grabbed Shan and kissed him deeply.

"Ahhhh, look how cute they are!" Tabitha squealed.

"Thank God I'm not diabetic." Kelly grumbled, rolling her eyes. "This is the reason we have five cats, you know."

"You love all of them." Tabitha said blissfully. "Come on. We'll show you where the spare bedroom is."


The office wasn't big to begin with, and became a lot more crowded with the six adults and two investigators crammed inside. It at least had air conditioning; the weather outside was, in typical Setan style, scorching.

The two men looked enough alike in their plainness to be twins. Even their cluttered desks looked related as they sat down at them in unison. Duo wondered if it was a new Setan sport; synchronized investigation. He didn't feel it appropriate to ask.

The first man spoke. "Sorry to keep you waiting. I'm Detective Clipton with the Setan Youth Services department, and this is Detective Ralson." He nodded at the other man. "I want you to know that we're going to find the boys. We're doing everything in our power, and it shouldn't be long. We're still amazed that they made it this far." He shook his head in bafflement. "Tren, your son is nothing if not creative. We've questioned the people on that shuttle; everyone remembers the Red Woman."

"Best way to hide in a crowd." Duo said softly. "Stand out."

"We also understand that you'll, of course, want to help with the investigation. That's why we wanted to speak to you." Ralson shuffled some papers. "We have some concerns."

"Concerns?" Denea asked, puzzled. "What kind of concerns?"

"Mrs. Chang, your daughter made a statement to the press earlier today..."

"And her obituary will be in the paper early tomorrow." Wufei promised darkly. "Your point?"

"You've actually hit on the point." Clipton sighed. "We have some concerns about Gage Drummond, based on what your daughter has said."

"I'm not sure I understand..."

"Mr. Chang, your daughter claims that you tried to kill Gage Drummond."

Wufei's face tightened in anger. "I found Mr. Drummond in bed with my son. I believed at the time my son had been forced into the situation, and I reacted the way any father would."

"And what way was that?"

"I pulled him away from my son..."

"And..."

"I tried to choke the life out of the little snot! Is that what you want to hear?" Wufei jumped to his feet.

"You're obviously still very angry at him."

"Of course I am! He seduced my son, convinced him to run away from home, took him to another planet! I'm furious with him!"

"That's our problem then." Ralson nodded. "Our job is not only to find these boys before something bad happens to them, but to make sure that nothing bad happens to them after they're found."

"Mr. Chang, the facts are this. You attacked a fifteen-year-old boy. Perhaps with provocation, but an attack is an attack. We're worried that your daughter may be correct; that if you do locate the boys, you may complete what you started."

"That's bullshit." Denea yelled. "Wu wouldn't kill anyone!"

Clipton raised an eyebrow. "We're not willing to take that chance."

Ralson broke in. "The other five of your are welcome to aid in the search, as much as you like. However, we cannot allow Mr. Chang to participate. There's simply too much danger to Gage's life at this point."

"My SON is out there!" Wufei screamed. "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, TO TELL ME I CAN'T GO LOOK FOR HIM!"

"We're doing our jobs to make sure both boys come back home safely."

"You do your job." Wufei said tightly. "I'll do mine!" He stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

"This is just what we need." Heero rubbed his eyes wearily, but he had to admit that if he had been in the detectives' position, wouldn't he have acted the same way? And although he loved Wufei with all his heart, he also had to admit that he did not know if Gage would be safe from him. He wished he could have Denea's faith in the man, but he still remembered vividly the sight of Gage on the floor with Wufei's hands around his neck. It was something he might never forget.

"So where do we begin looking?" Zechs asked.

"Well, thanks to Meishel's statement, everyone is going to be on the look-out for the boys. Hopefully these people will do the right thing and give us a call. But if someone decides to hide them out, it's going to be trickier. Don't worry; we should have them back home within a week, however."

"He's never met Gage." Duo muttered under his breath.


"Drink this. It'll calm you."

Wufei pushed the cup away and shook his head. "I don't want to be calm! I want to be out looking for my son. I'm sorry, it was a mistake to come here. I didn't expect you to understand."

"You're right." The young man was sitting in a soft leather chair, looking up at him. His dark brown hair was messy, indicating he hadn't been awake long. "I don't understand. How can you go out of your way to help us, and then react this way to others in the same situation?"

"Your lives were in danger!"

"Isn't Gage's?"

"No... I'm not going to hurt the boy, no matter what they think. I stand by my actions at the time. But it's obvious that my son wants to be with him. It doesn't mean I have to approve."

The young man raised an eyebrow. "That is what I don't understand. Why are you tolerant of everyone except your own flesh and blood?"

"It's NOT that he's with a man! I keep saying that, but no one will listen! It's the MAN he chose. I don't want my son involved with someone who will eventually destroy him."

He sat down in his own chair, and took the cooling tea from a small table. "I've had students like Gage before. I've seen them all come and go, and most of them go quickly. He's on a path of destruction; and Shan is skipping along behind him."

"Is he? Or was he? Was he the same on Dera as he was on Earth? Or did he make an effort to change? What did he do on Dera, besides sleep with the person he loves, to make you judge him so harshly?"

"He changed Shan."

"Maybe it was time for Shan to change. Did you want him to remain as he was his whole life? Weak? Afraid? Living in the shadows of you, and his mother, and his sister?"

"Of course not, but this..."

"Wufei, I'm going to tell you something, and you may not like to hear it. But it's something Pell and I have talked about more than once." He paused. "Shan is exactly like you, but he's like the you that you are ashamed of. He's a reflection of the part of yourself you try and hide. You can't deny your own weakness or fears because you see them when you look at Shan. And as you hide from yourself, you also try and hide Shan from the world. From anyone who might really and truly see him. And who sees more deeply than a lover? Gage frightens you for those reasons. Because I'll bet he knows this; he knows how much Shan is your son. And he lets you know that he knows."

"He mocks me!"

"Perhaps. He's a teenage boy, after all. His weapons are minimal compared to your own. So why shouldn't he use what he has to his own advantage?"

"I wish he could have picked someone else to fall in love with, other than my son." Wufei stopped suddenly.

"That's the first time you've admitted that, isn't it? That his feelings for your son are genuine."

"I didn't want to. I wanted to believe that he was just using Shan..."

"Because if that were the case, he'd tire of him quickly, and when he was gone, things would go back to the way they were."

"He's not going anywhere, is he?"

"Doubtful. But I'm biased, you know." He lifted a thin shoulder and sighed. "I have Pell."

"Adyn, will you help me find them? I need to speak to Shan. I need to tell him..." His voice cracked.

"Tell him what?" Adyn prompted.

"I need to tell him how very, very sorry I am."


On to part thirty-five. Back to part thirty-three.