New Years: Gundam Wing Style
New’s Years Eve, A.C. 196
Duo Maxwell stared at the oven. “Ooookay…I think I just press the ‘start’ button and the food cooks and I take it out. Right, Heero?”
Heero Yuy looked up from his laptop. “You have to preheat it.”
“Oh, ‘kay then!” A series of beeps pierced the quiet apartment. Heero shook his head and returned to his typing.
Trowa Barton, Quatre Winner, and a very annoyed Chang Wufei came into the quiet kitchen. “Someone tell me again why we’re letting Maxwell cook,” the dark eyed Chinese teen complained.
“You think you could do better Wu-man?” Duo called as he stirred a bubbling bowl of soup.
Wufei glanced at the bowls and pots and trays of food still waiting to be prepared. “Of course I could.”
“All yours,” Duo tossed him a wooden spoon, which he caught inches from hitting his face.
Wufei set the spoon in a pot and began to take stock of the situation he had volunteered for. “Maxwell, what exactly were you making here?”
Duo grinned as he sat down across from Heero. “That’s half the fun, Wu-man, you get to figure it out.”
It was the first holiday the pilots weren’t spending fighting a war or saving the world, New Year’s AC 196-197. It had been a quiet New Year’s evening so far, although maybe a little lonely at the Gundam boy’s apartment. The pilots had been invited to Relena’s very exclusive, very elegant New Year’s evening soirée, and had almost decided to go until Heero informed them of the fact that they were all expected to be there in tuxedos. Heero had then done everything short of ripping up the invitation to get out of the commitment, (especially since they were supposed to pay for the tuxes themselves.)
A light, powdery snow had begun to fall outside the apartment, with a slight breeze blowing tiny flakes inside a window Trowa had opened for some fresh air. The night was young, Duo had volunteered good naturedly to cook something otherwise “we’re gonna starve, and we all know that makes certain people way grumpy.” None of the teenagers had really wanted to go to Relena’s party; the last they had been to was unanimously the most boring event of the year.
Trowa was quietly watching the weather channel. Quatre came over. “Anything interesting happening?”
The brown haired, emerald green eyed teen sat back thoughtfully on the couch. “A blizzard for one. It’s heading strait for us apparently.”
“Oh that’s alright,” Quatre smiled amiably. “How much snow are they predicting?”
“Three, possibly four feet.”
The smile evaporated from Quatre’s face. Heero’s Prussian blue eyes scanned the TV in the other room for a moment. “Hn. Better shut the window.”
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST. Something was bubbling over it’s pot in the kitchen.
Wufei seemed fairly occupied, he was peering in the oven which was billowing huge clouds of smoke into the chilly room. A smoke detector went off. Another pot sparked onto the burner, igniting it for a dangerously brief minute.
“You need some help there, Wu-man?”
“No!” Wufei yelled tersely as he pulled what looked like a charcoal cinder out of the oven. Another pot of some unidentifiable liquid boiled over. “What injustice…Maxwell, get over here!”
Duo tried not to laugh but couldn’t help it. “Aww, come on Wu-man, all you do is turn the heat down and then-“
Heero’s concentration was instantly averted from the typing. “What’s going on, are we under attack?”
Trowa and Quatre came running from the other room. Duo was on the floor in hysterics, he explained what happened in between smirks. “We forgot…that Wufei can’t… can’t cook for his life!”
The tiny kitchen filled with smoke. Most of it just blew out the open window, but not before chaos ensued. None of the boys could see more than inches in front of their faces, and it took at least 15 minutes to convince Heero that no one was under attack. Except for one person who was in quite possible amounts of trouble: Wufei.
“Now that was about the easiest job you’ve probably done in your entire life to date Wu-man,” Duo commented wryly. “And you had to go screw it up. That’s just-“
“Maxwell, I’m warning you-“
“Be quiet, both of you,” Trowa advised. “Look, it’s obvious that dinner at home isn’t going to work.” The quiet teen glanced at his watch. “It’s 6:47. If we’re fast maybe I can cook-“
“Why don’t we just go out to a restaurant?” Quatre suggested as he swiped his hand in front of his face to clear the smoke.
There was silence as the guys contemplated this. The soundless apartment slowly aired out, and the pilots caught site of each other. Wufei was a soot blackened mess, Duo was still trying not to laugh, Trowa was looking serious, Heero was sending everyone the fiercest deathglare he could, and Quatre seemed to be the only one genuinely concerned.
“Yeah, let’s go out for dinner, you know, abandon this disaster area,” Duo tried unsuccessfully not to grin.
The others nodded; it was unanimous. The guys piled out of their tiny apartment into an even smaller garage. Three cars and a motorcycle sat in the dusty room, these were the cars that the guys had managed to accumulate since their piloting job had given them a vacation. One was Duo’s red Corvette, an ancient model, 2001, but still in mint condition and the teenager’s pride and joy. He absolutely refused to let anyone take it out in the potential snowstorm, especially since Heero had announced that he was driving. Parked next to the Corvette was a blue Ford pick up that Trowa had came home with one day for no apparent reason. He had the car was “inconspicuous”, and for that reason alone the others had let him keep it. Quatre drove this most of the time. Next to this was a motorcycle, Trowa and Wufei’s favorite, the two were constantly having quiet but intense arguments over who got to use it. Last, and according to Heero never least, was a camouflage Humvee. This boxy structure took up twice as much room as the other cars combined, but Heero refused to drive in anything else. So he got in this tank of a car, started the roaring engine up, and then it was decided that they’d take the Humvee.
The night was obscured by large, puffy snowflakes, which landed and stuck to the mostly abandoned road the boys had decided to cruise. They didn’t exactly know where they were going, Heero just kept driving, pulling onto more and more forlorn and secluded roads. They left the busy, crowded city bustling with holiday life and the kind of giddy cheerfulness that the pilots had spent their lives trying to get away from. As they got farther towards the country the snow came down harder though, and soon the five boys looked like they were going to have a big problem.
“Heero, buddy, how can you drive in this?” Duo questioned, gesturing at the snow piling up on the windshield. “We can’t see a foot in front of us!”
“Heero’s just using his usual method,” Wufei commented from the back. “Anything that gets in his way ought not be there.
“Hn,” Heero muttered as he clutched the wheel. Duo was right, the snow was piled up at least ten inches outside, so much so that none of the boys could even see the road they were on anymore.
Quatre stuck his head out the window. A strong frosty breeze blew in the Humvee, making rouge snowflakes stick to the boys’ more or less out-of-control hair. “There are an awful lot of trees out here…is everyone sure we’re still on a road at all?”
“It’s a Humvee, we couldn’t tell if we were driving over the rocks next to the edge of a cliff,” Trowa commented as he shook his head.
Heero turned to face the back seat peanut gallery. “Do any of you want to drive?” He fingered the gun he had brought along (just in case of course.)
“No,” Duo said slowly. His blue eyes were locked on the road. “ But maybe you should…WHOA!!!”
Duo pointed to a huge oak tree that was growing larger and larger in the snow covered window.
“Uh, you’d better swerve now, Heero-”
“No way, there’s to much snow! This isn’t a gundam, I can’t just-“
“Just brake and we’ll skid to a stop-“
“Not enough time to do that-“
“Damn right there’s not enough time-“
“Heero, just do something and don’t listen to us, kay?”
“Too late!” Duo yelled as huge, spiky branches filled the window.
The Humvee slammed head on into the tree, the glass of the windshield shattered and flew into the snow. But the nanosecond after the impact Heero swerved the world’s sharpest left and the inertia of the crash was carried to the side of the boxy truck with a huge scraping sound. The guys were all buckled up so they fortunately moved with the Humvee, but that was about as good as their luck for the evening got.
The particular oak tree that they happened to crash into was filled with very fresh, very loose snow that was shaken onto the pilots wrecked car on impact. About four feet or more fell onto and into the Humvee, pinning it to the ground.
“So,” Heero took his hands off the wheel. “Is everyone alive back there?”
“Yup, more or less,” Duo shook the snow off himself.
“So you crashed the Humvee into a tree in the middle of no where. Nice going, Yuy,” Wufei unbuckled his seat belt and shivered. “Where are we?”
“In a lot of snow,” Trowa observed as he tried unsuccessfully to get it out of his hair. The teenagers peered up through the broken window. Large flakes fell through it, for a moment no one spoke and the teens just listened to the silence.
“No background noise,” Quatre said quietly. “We must be a long way from the city.”
“I think the GPS on the Humvee still works,” Heero got his laptop out. “I’ll interface it and figure out where we are. In the mean time someone should go out and have a look around.”
“I’m so there!” Duo jumped into the front and climbed through the windshield. He grasped a large branch and pulled himself onto the hood of the Humvee. Snowflakes stuck to Duo’s long brown braid, and he shivered as a breeze whipped the tree’s branches. “Brrrr……man, are we lost.”
There wasn’t a road in site. Everything was blanketed in at least three feet of snow. Huge trees stuck out of it in odd places; Duo looked one direction and saw only a sparse few trees, but when he looked the other way he saw thick woodland.
“Uh…guys? I think we’re at the edge of some sort of-“
“National forest,” Heero called from the car. “There isn’t a road or any urban development for miles.”
“But then how’d we get here?” Wufei demanded. “We were on some sort of road for a while there.” The ill tempered boy climbed over the seat and stuck his head out of the car. “I think Yuy’s map is wrong-“
“My laptop is never wrong,” Heero countered. “We’re probably lost from the directions you gave us before.”
“My directions were flawless, unlike that computer-“
FWAP! Wufei slapped his hand to his forehead. It came back cold and wet. Wufei ducked from the next flying snowball.
Duo snatched up another piece of snow and grinned. “Better duck again Wu-man,” he took careful aim.
Wufei ducked and the snowball hit Trowa, who had apparently come for a look around. Trowa reacted by cocking an eyebrow, whereas Wufei sent a snowball back. Duo dodged it and threw another one.
FWAP! Both of the boys outside dodged, and the snowball flew strait through the nonexistent windshield and landed with a splat on Heero’s laptop. The boy looked up with the fiercest deathglare.
“Heh, heh,” Duo looked at the now very wet computer. “It should of ducked.”
Heero’s hand flew to his gun. “You had better not of ruined it or I swear I’ll-“
Grrrrrroooooowwwwwrrr. A low growl pierced the night.
“Look, Heero, I get that you’re mad but-“
Heero cocked the gun and pointed it past Duo. “It wasn’t me.”
“Then what was it?” Quatre inquired.
Trowa broke the silence as they heard it again. “Wildlife.”
“What kind of wildlife?” Wufei struggled to see past the snow covered trees around them.
“The growling kind apparently,” Quatre shrugged. Heero’s fast pace typing was the only sound that could be heard.
“It says that we’re at the edge of a national forest,” Heero read from the screen. “A forest which-“ he paused for a moment, “-is also a grizzly bear preserve.”
“What’s a grizzly bear?!” Wufei demanded. “Is it like a black bear?”
Duo started smirking. “Not quite. How could you not know what a grizzly is?”
“I’ve only been on this planet for a week now,” Wufei complained bitterly. “How can you expect me to know-“
“Uh…that was closer,” Quatre observed.
There was silence. “Aren’t these things supposed to be hibernating right now or something?” Duo asked with just a hint of nervousness in his voice.
“Probably,” Trowa answered as he stepped out onto the hood. ”I think it’s gone. We probably scared it.”
“Or not,” Wufei said dryly. “Relax, we can take a little animal.”
“Of course,” Trowa cocked an eyebrow. “It’s not a lion, after all.”
“Fine,” Heero continued monotonously. “All’s I need is a clear shot and-“
“Wait!” Quatre exclaimed. “We’re not going to kill it, it didn’t do anything to us.”
“Yeah,” Duo folded his arms. “It probably has a family, a wife bear, and a bunch of baby bears-“
Heero paused before dropping the gun. “Fine,” he consented, “what are you anyway, a bunch of animal rights activists or something?”
“I’m a friend of nature,” Quatre said defensively.
Duo smirked as the boys listened for a sign of the bear. They heard only silence.
“I think it went away for real this time,” Duo commented as he jumped off the hood. Two thirds of him ended up below the snow level. “Oh great…could I have some help here?”
Heero climbed over the windshield and gave his unhappy friend a hand to get him out of the waist deep snow.
Suddenly they heard something walking in the distance. Huge, heavy footsteps were crushing themselves through the snow. A shadowy shape on four legs became visible through the trees, a shape who’s size rivaled that of the of the snow covered Humvee. Lamp like eyes peered through the trees.
“Heh heh,” Duo laughed. “I think nature found us. Wonder if it’s hungry.”
Heero looked at him imperiously. “It probably hasn’t eaten in weeks, it’s winter genius.”
“Nice bear, “ Quatre said as the grizzly rounded a tree to get closer to the frazzled pilots. It was almost 11:00 on New Year’s eve and the g-boys were having a very interesting party in the middle of nowhere. “I’m your friend…”
Wufei slapped a hand to his forehead. “Aiya…what a weak-“
Duo ducked back into the Humvee. “Bear wrangling is exclusively Heero’s specialty, I’m outta here.” He tried to start the damaged car.
Heero didn’t move from his perch on the hood. The bear cleared another tree. “It won’t start. I tried that already.”
Trowa seemed to be the calmest of the bunch. “Relax, if we leave it alone it’ll go away. Bears, even grizzlies, don’t attack people.”
“We’ll consider that, Mr. Encyclopedia,” Wufei snapped as he backed up away from the edge of the hood.
GGGRRRRRROOOOWWWRRRRR….. The bear reached the car and stopped. It reared up onto it’s back legs; it was easily nine feet high that way. The Gundam pilots just stared. The bear wasn’t happy for some reason, and it vocalized this quite efficiently.
The teens noticed it’s teeth. They noticed it’s fangs. They noticed that this bear didn’t seem to approve of midnight visitors to it’s den.
“Hmmmm,” Trowa commented. “It’s bigger than a lion. This might be a problem.”
The bear roared and slammed it’s paws down on the hood of the Humvee. It started to climb, and the pilots just stared in dumbfounded amazement when suddenly:
“Ashitaka! Oh Ashitaka, where are you?”
The bear stopped dead. GGGRRRRR-ooooowwwwrrr???
“Ashitaka? Is that my good little grizzly?” a voice called through the forest.
The bear turned to face the sound. The g-boys just stared, frozen, too confused to move yet. They were torn whether to be more amazed at the fact that the bear had stopped noticing them completely or at the fact that it was a girl’s voice calling through the night.
Another girl’s voice spoke. “Hey look, there’s something over there, did Ashi find something?”
A third girl. “Looks like a car. Who in their right mind would be out here at night?”
A fourth. “I dunno, someone stupid.”
This comment jostled the pilots back to reality. Heero climbed out onto the hood again.
“Hello? Anyone here?” the first girl called. She rounded the oak tree. The Gundam pilots were faced with a relatively short, brown haired girl in a parka holding a twinkie. She walked up to the bear. “Hi there Ashi, you wanna snack?”
The bear turned away from the g-boys and plodded over to the girl, sniffed the cupcake like snack, and ate it in a gulp.
The other three girls seemed to pay more attention to the teens.
A girl with very dark brown hair and a purple fleece on smiled at them. “Odd night to be roaming the forest, isn’t it?”
Heero tried to scare her with a deathglare. “Who are you?”
“I might ask you the same thing,” the girl answered with a cocked eyebrow. “We live by this forest and help protect the wildlife from people who crash into it,” she glanced pointedly at the Humvee.
Duo stuck his head out the car. “We’re lost.”
“Really? On New Year’s?” a girl with black hair and another twinkie asked. She patted Ashitaka. “Why would you be roaming around on a holiday?”
“I dunno,” Duo continued. “Why would you be out on a holiday?”
The black haired girl blinked, then shrugged. “ ‘Cause we didn’t have anything else to do.”
"We were throwing a party at her house,” a tall girl gestured at her friend. “But someone,” there was a glance at the first girl, “burnt our dinner to a crisp, so we decided to come say hi to Ashi instead.”
Wufei glared at the girls. “Your Ashi was about to eat us alive,” he accused.
The first girl grinned. “Ashi? Nah, he doesn’t like the taste of lost, weird guys. In fact he’s very friendly if you get to know him.”
Wufei scowled intensely at this comment.
“My name is Seiryu,” the first girl smiled. “What’s yours?”
“I have no name. But if you must call me something call me Trowa.”
“Quatre Raberba Winner.”
“Oh my,” Seiryu nodded and took a step back through the snow. “Friendly, articulate bunch we have here.” Her friends introduced themselves.
“Luminare,” the girl in the fleece smiled.
“Tsuyu,” the black haired girl said.
“Arista,” the tall one continued. “And you need some help getting your…car…out of the snow, huh?”
“It’d be useful,” Duo grinned.
Tsuyu pointed due south into the woods. “There’s a storage shed about a few thousand feet that way, we keep all sorts of tools there, shovels, rope, spar car parts. I can go and be back in ten minutes with some equipment to help.”
How?” Heero asked incredulously, but his question was answered as Tsuyu hopped onto Ashitaka’s back. The bear let her do this and then proceeded to lumber off into the woods with the girl on his back.
“By the way,” Luminare said as she hopped onto the hood of the car. “You do know that there’s a dirt road about a hundred feet to your left, right?”
There was a pause as the boys contemplated this.
“Ooh, you guys are lost.”
Trowa checked his watch. “Happy New Year’s everyone. It’s officially AC 197.”
Vvvrrooooommmmmmmm. The Humvee started. Heero smiled from inside his battered but definitely not beaten car. The girls paused from the repair jobs they were working on. “Alright, Heero!”
Duo, Seiryu, and Luminare were changing a wrecked tire. “So what are you gonna do after we fix this?” Seiryu inquired.
Duo shrugged. “Go back to our apartment I guess.”
“That’s kinda boring.”
“Yeah.” Duo hauled the spare tire up into place. “Hey!”
“I’ve got an idea!”
Seiyu smiled. “Good for you.”
“No really,” Duo hopped down and went over to talk to his entourage. “I’ve got a really, really good idea.”
“Well that’s a first,” Wufei muttered.
Duo chose to ignore this. “You know Relena’s party? The one that’s probably as boring as ever right about now?”
Heero blinked. “The one we were invited to?”
“Yep. Why don’t we go?” Duo proposed.
“Not just to show up, to make more…interesting.”
Quatre cocked an eyebrow. “How so?”
Duo grinned. “Everyone over that way must be asleep. Let’s go wake them up.”
Trowa gave the long haired boy a scrutinized look. “Are you saying we should go crash that fancy party?”
Heero looked up from his laptop. He was smiling. “Mission Accepted.”
Duo grinned even broader and ran back over to the girls. “Hey, you girls want to help us crash a party?”
Arista wondered, “Who’s?”
The girls looked at each other and grinned. “That diplomat? Crash her party? Absolutely!”
So the guys and girls somehow loaded themselves all into the Humvee; Tsuyu gave Ashitaka one last twinkie and sent him back into the woods. Duo was elated as they found the road under the girl’s direction. “Okay, this is gonna be so cool. But first we need to stop at a party supplies store for some equipment.”
Luminare called out a question from the back seat. “So you guys go on these ‘missions’ all the time, right?”
The gundam pilots exchanged a sort of furtive look. “Sure. Missions. Yeah, we’ve done a few missions.”
“Do you have a job?”
“We’re pilots,” Heero answered.
“What do you fly?”
“Huh? You fly a plane named classified?”
Duo laughed. “No, we fly…nevermind what we fly. Anyway,” he continued, “we’ll need some confetti and steamers to start. Then some neon paint, silly string, noise makers, and soda. And then some duck tape. Lots and lots of duck tape…”
Duo laughed diabolically some more as Seiryu persisted. “Come on, what do you fly? Helicopters? Jets? Some sort of army aircraft like MS? I mean, it’s not like you pilots those super weapons I’ve seen on the news, what are they called again?”
“Gundams, I think,” Tsuyu answered. “You know the people who fly those are so wanted by the cops it’s not even funny.”
“Yeah,” Seiryu added. “They must really be on the run…” She stopped.
There was silence.
The girls blinked as the g-boys avoided looking at them. Duo grinned, Heero slammed the gas, Trowa was indifferent, Quarter was smiling sheepishly and Wufei was looking amused.
“You have got to be kidding………right?”
“Uh…how can we put this? No.”
“This is so cool. Shocking, but cool.”
The car sped away as Seiryu asked one last question. “You owe us ‘cause we helped you out. So can we fly them?”