Innocent Bystander

He Only *Looks* Sweet and Innocent
By Ashkara and Christy

Standard disclaimers apply.

Quatre Winner sighed tiredly as he opened his laptop and booted it up. He really *should* have sent out a mission report the night before, but he’d been too tired to even think of it, and the sight of Trowa, asleep in their bed hadn’t helped his sense of duty in the slightest.

He yawned as he sipped at his tea and forced himself to ignore the blinking mail message until his report was written and sent.

An hour later, after a shower and breakfast, he finally opened his email, and grinned at what he saw. “Duo! Allah, I hope he’s doing okay…” He clicked on the message:

FROM: The Groovy Reaper
TO: The Blond Bomber
SENT: 16:52 February 6, 196AC
SUBJECT: I Can’t Help Myself
----- message begins -----
Hey, Q!

Hope your last mission went well – all is fine and dandy here. Heero says hi and thankyou for those Virgo upgrade schematics you sent us. Made the last mission a hell of a lot easier!

Anyway, you saw those messages I’ve been exchanging with Treize, well… I saw this one, and I couldn’t help thinking of you.

One day the cute act will wear off, you know. But don’t worry, we’ll still all love you.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Duo :)
----- message ends -----

Quatre snorted his third cup of tea as he began reading the attachment and began laughing so hard that Trowa breezed in from the next room to pat him on the back. “Quatre! Breathe, love. That’s it, just breathe…”

Once the blond had calmed down a little, Trowa leaned closer to the screen to see what had provoked the laughing fit and rolled his eyes. “Oh God, not another one.”

Quatre shot him a look. “You laughed just as hard at the last one as I did, Tro. What’s the harm, anyway? It’s just for fun!”

Trowa arched an eyebrow. “The Innocent Bystander? You?”

A devilish glint lit Quatre’s aquamarine eyes. “I’ll just have to show him how wrong it is, won’t I?”

The green-eyed pilot finally laughed. “Copy me on the reply, will you? Shame we won’t see his face when he reads it.”

“Aye aye, sir,” Quatre replied with a mock salute. Trowa playfully whacked him on the arm before he left. Grinning, Quatre reached for his keyboard. “Okay, wise guy. You had this coming to you…”

----- view attachment -----

[Quatre Winner wrote] Duo,

Trowa and I are both fine, thanks.

If my cute act won’t last forever, just remember yours won’t either. In return for nearly making me choke on my tea, my answers are annotated. Enjoy!

Oh – and don’t forget to tell Heero I send a hug!

- Quatre

----- message begins -----

The Normal Innocent Bystander's Survival Guide

1. Never take on someone that has just beaten the Hero, unless it is to distract him just before the Hero delivers the killing blow.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Of course not. Trowa would insist on taking him on first. As Heero’s best friend it is his duty to assist. That is, if you’ve left him anything to assist with. I’ll just video tape it.

2. If the Evil Overlord announces to the world that he has reformed and wants only to help people, throw a party, and give away money; don't go. Not even if he's playing Prince's music. Especially if he's playing Prince's music. If he's lying, you'll be a hostage or a statistic. If he's telling the truth, catch the next one.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Anyone with bad enough taste to play Prince (or whatever he called himself, strange guy) deserves to get his party crashed by a Gundam pilot or two.

3. Watching the Evil Overlord's interview on TV will certainly be interesting, but do not be in the studio audience when he/she/it hosts "Saturday Night Live." Tape it, and wait a week or so to see if any other viewers had any seizures or mind-control problems before you watch the tape.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I don’t watch ‘Saturday Night Live’ to begin with, so I highly doubt I’d be in the live audience.

4. If you're riding on public transport and the Magnificent Seven board your train or bus, get out immediately and wait for the next one. Especially if they're in their street clothes.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Aren’t I part of the Magnificent Seven? Oh, right, we’re the Magnificent Five. We can take them easily.

5. If you are exceptionally attractive, stay away from banks. It's always the buxom redhead who gets taken hostage by the bankrobbers.

[Quatre Winner wrote] According to you and Trowa, I ‘am’ exceptionally attractive. However, since I’m neither buxom nor a redhead, I don’t think I have anything to worry about.

6. Do not run back to get your teddy bear or puppy.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Trowa *is* my teddy bear, and I would never leave him behind. I’d go back in with guns blazing, and Allah help anyone who gets in my way.

7. If you have small children, keep them on one of those kid leashes when in public, so that they won't go running back after their teddy bear or puppy.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I’ll remember that when babysitting my nieces and nephews.

8. When a Bad Guy uses you for a human shield, certain delicate areas of his body are in striking range of your heel. Go for it.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Forget the heel. I have these nifty forearm knife sheaths that you gave me for my birthday.

9. If an acquaintance of yours seems to disappear every time the Hero puts in an appearance, rub some of those brain cells together and see what comes up.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Well, he doesn’t disappear when ever Heero shows up, but Wufei does disappear a lot. I wonder how Treize explains loosening his security at those times?

10. If your child has an adult friend who frequently urges your child to clear his/her mind, or tells you that your child has "a rare gift," set your affairs in order. Your days are numbered.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Please don’t make me think of being a father, yet. I don’t know that I’ll ever be ready for it!

11. If you are a news reporter, find a happy medium between the people's right to know and your right to not get kidnapped/held hostage/etc.

[Quatre Winner wrote] But I’m *not* a reporter – I’m the one they expect to be taking the hostages! Of course, I wouldn’t – innocents have no place in a war, but the general public seems to think we have no morals. I’ll get a PR guy to look into that.

12. Likewise, if you are a policeman, bank guard, or night watchman, and your first shot bounces off of the intruder's chest, try shooting other areas of the intruder's body, like their face, groin, etc. If this also fails, do not waste the rest of your ammo on him/her/it, or risk your neck in hand-to-hand combat; instead, fall back and observe.

[Quatre Winner wrote] In this situation I’d call Heero, tell him to bring Wing, then have him employ the beam cannon. I’d pay a fortune to see a normal flak suit stand up to Wing’s beam cannon.

13. Do not attempt to duplicate the means by which the Hero gained his/her powers. You will either fail and die a lingering, agonizing death, or succeed, lose control of your powers, wreck half of the city, and make it necessary for the Hero to kill you to neutralize the threat you pose to everyone else.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Not a chance! NOTHING is worth dealing with Dr. J on a daily basis! You couldn’t pay me enough!

14. If you associate with the Hero, you run the risk of becoming a True Love or a Sidekick, depending on your availability and mutual gender preferences. The former situation will involve hostage situations on a semi-regular basis, but chances of survival are optimal. The latter position can be quite hazardous to your health; avoid it.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Well, I think we all can play ‘sidekick’ to each other, but the only True Love I want or need is Trowa. You and Heero (Wufei, too, come to think of it) are quite attractive, but the pull is just not there, no offence meant.

15. If the Hero and the Evil Overlord are engaged in mortal battle, go somewhere else as quickly as possible, before you are squished by a car, the statue of the city's founder, or a collapsing skyscraper.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Why run? We’re probably contributing to the mass mayhem!

16. If you notice that your fellow reporter can type 1,024 words per minute, you should be able to tell that something's up.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I get it! That’s a Superman reference, isn’t it?

17. If the Evil Overlord offers you immortality, superpowers, or infinite wealth, and all you have to do is something that seems terribly trivial, don't. It's a trick. You will be used as a pawn in a larger game, and then crushed like a bug.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Do you really think Treize could manage that? I already have the wealth, but I wouldn’t mind superpowers…

18. Don't try to impress your significant other by emulating something that a Hero once did. Doing so usually results in said Hero having to come and save your butt. And you look like a complete loser, too.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I think Trowa would kill me if I ever pulled any of Heero’s stunts, especially that skydiving and not opening the parachute thing you told me about. Even if he didn’t, Rashid and the Manguanacs would.

19. When you hear reports that the Hero has been involved in some illicit activity, remain skeptical; it's probably a frame-up.

[Quatre Winner wrote] And you probably set it up. Or, you were involved in the ‘illicit activity’ with Heero. You and your sexual perversions. Oh, by the way, when I get back, are you still going to loan me the illustrated Kama Sutra? I think Trowa is flexible enough for some of those positions…

20. Never purposely investigate the Hero in order to learn his true identity. Success will get you kidnapped by the Evil Overlord.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I doubt he even knows his own true identity, and I don’t think he cares, either. I think we’ll leave it at that.

21. If a Superhero takes up residence in your city, a nice spacious estate in the country will help you to actualize your potential lifespan.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I have a few of those. But Heero is always welcome there.

22. If you are a security guard for a vast, powerful corporation, try to get assigned to the Marketing or Personnel departments, rather than R&D.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Security guard and CEO are two different things, I believe.

23. If there's a shy, quiet kid in your class that everyone picks on, treat him with respect and kindness. Your life will be spared when his psychic powers become manifest.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I *am* that shy, quiet kid, and no one gives a damn about my psychic powers! Don’t you ever wish you could beat the guys picking on you to a bloody pulp? I know I do, and you know it takes a LOT to get me that angry!

24. If you are spending the night in a spooky old house on a dare, do not sneak away to another part of the house for romantic interludes with your Significant Other. Instead, wait until you can get a nice, clean, safe motel room.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Spooky and old would cover most safe houses we stay in. I’ll take my chances – Trowa and I get far too little alone time, as it is.

25. If you come across a body, do not walk slowly in the direction of a suspicious noise, or stand above the body in a stunned state of shock. Instead, call the police on your cell phone.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I’m probably the reason the body is there, to begin with.

26. If your Mom or Dad is an eccentric researcher, insist that you live close to civilization so that you can socialize with your peers and date. That way you'll be able to judge the Hero and the Evil Overlord on their own merits.

[Quatre Winner wrote] They are both in a class all to themselves, I’m sure! Then again, none of us could remotely pass as normal, could we?

27. If your Mom or Dad is an eccentric researcher, insist that they educate you in their specialty, so that you can duplicate their research as the need arises, and exercise some restraint on their schemes should they become mad. Keep in mind that if the Evil Overlord offs your parents, you will be required to use your knowledge to defeat him.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Dad was never really an engineer, but I’ll use every tool he gave me to beat Romefeller, even if it means buying them into bankruptcy!

28. If the Hero says "wait here," it really doesn't matter whether you obey him or not. If you stay, you will be captured by the Evil Overlord's henchmen as soon as the Hero is out of earshot. If you tag along, you will be caught by the Evil Overlord's henchmen as you stumble along. Don't agonize over your decision.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Rule number one of working with Heero Yuy – ALWAYS obey a direct order. He usually has a very good reason for giving them.

29. Evil Overlord's friendly overtures are never sincere. If he is suddenly friendly to you, answer him with courtesy and skip town at the first opportunity. If he has always been friendly to you, answer him with courtesy and feign utter uselessness in his designs.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Especially when dealing with Treize Kushrenada. The man could charm an alligator into going vegetarian.

30. Learn to control sneezing, coughing, and other bodily noises so that you won't give yourself away when you're trying to hide from tyrannosaurs, henchmen, etc.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Ooo! You mean Treize has T-Rexes now? WEI DOES subsidise a few zoos… do you think he’d give us one on loan? Or maybe Trowa’s circus could use one?

31. If you enter a house, fortress, cave, temple, tomb, graveyard, etc., especially one with a malevolent aura or history of macabre events, and an eerie, disembodied voice orders you to depart the premises, go.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Does Lady Une’s voice threatening me over the Intercom system count? She really is a bit creepy, But Trowa says she can be very nice at times.

32. If the mere presence of your new sweetheart provokes a hostile or fearful reaction in cats or dogs, terminate the relationship immediately.

[Quatre Winner wrote] New sweetheart? Never happen. And Trowa gets along splendidly with ALL animals.

33. If someone chasing after someone else asks you to catch the latter, feign incomprehension. If you comply, you'll either catch the hero (and thereby play into the villain's hands), or catch the villain (who will waste you or use you as a hostage).

[Quatre Winner wrote] I have a bet idea. If it isn’t one of you, I’ll just shoot the guy and send his family a condolence card.

34. If you are a police man, bank guard, or night watchman, and somebody breaches the concrete walls of your facility, it is generally a waste of time trying to ask them about their business.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Since I’m usually the one breaching defenses, I don’t need to worry about it.

35. If a new hero shows up and takes business away from the old one, keep your distance; they're either a Bad Guy pretending to be good, or their powers are not fully developed and will soon go out of control.

[Quatre Winner wrote] If there is anyone out there who could out-hero Heero, I think I would run in the opposite direction and scream for backup. With our luck, He’d be OZ.

36. Do not attempt to observe the Hero's fights in person, but rather, content yourself with watching it on the nightly news.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Fighting alongside any of you is so exhilarating! We do much better as a team than fighting individually.

37. If mysterious strangers appear at the birth or adoption of your child and make epic proclamations about him/her, listen.

[Quatre Winner wrote] No spindles in my household, I promise, Duo.

38. Don't make friends with the Hero's True Love. You'll buy it when she gets kidnapped.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Oops, too late. You’re already my best friend.

39. Do not take the shortcut through the woods.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Kind of difficult not to on the occasions I have to hide Sandrock in the forest.

40. Do not make the snack run alone. Bring someone else with you.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I get this reference! It’s the whole ‘Scary Movie’, Friday the 13th’ etc syndrome. “I’ll be right back” is another thing to avoid.

41. Do not actively try to become a Sidekick or True Love. If you really have what it takes, you'll wind up with the role no matter what you do.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I knew it! Trowa and I are fated to be together!

42. If your corporation conducts research, do not volunteer to work after hours. That's when the experiments go awry.

[Quatre Winner wrote] I’ll keep that in mind, thanks.

43. If you run a corporation that conducts research, do not fire one of your researchers without first dismantling every bit of their laboratory equipment and getting a hold of everything they've taken home.

[Quatre Winner wrote] This is about that weird guy Jim Carrey played, isn’t it? In the Batman movie? Gosh, I hope none of my employees are like that.

44. Do not attempt to chase custom-built vehicles, even if you are a policeman.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Chase it? I’ll drive it!

45. If you are singled out as the Chosen One, politely inquire as to what this entails. If the job description involves "Defeating the Darkness," and involves long years of danger and struggle, you've just been made a Hero, and the person naming you as the Chosen One is your Mentor (or can direct you to your Mentor). If the position of Chosen One involves being pampered by half-naked temple virgins, then it will end with you being sacrificed to the volcano, and the person calling you the Chosen One is the Evil High Priest(ess) who intends to perform the ceremony.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Make it half-naked Trowas and you’ve got yourself a sacrifice. Duo, you would make a fantastic ‘Evil Priest’. I wonder if WEI owns a movie production company…

46. Any artifact named as if it were a part of somebody, especially if it really was once a part of somebody, is a Talisman of Purest Evil, and should only be dealt with in a manner pursuant to its destruction.

[Quatre Winner wrote] If I ever run into one of those, I’ll hand it over to the God of Death to deal with, how’s that?

47. Stay away from all buildings or natural features of the landscape that resemble skulls, fists, fanged mouths, etc.

[Quatre Winner wrote] That’s got to be spooky! I’d rent the place out for my company’s Halloween party!

48. Before going off the beaten path for your vacation, check the police archives, and with the old people who live in the region, taking note of any mysterious deaths or disappearances.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Ummm… Duo, the Manguanacs would already have done that. I swear, they’re like a team of babysitters!

49. No matter how hooked you are on phonics, don't try to pronounce things you find inscribed in ancient artefacts.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Duh. I DID watch all the Mummy movies with you, Duo.

50. Artifacts that are found in pieces should be left in pieces. Most importantly, if the pieces of an artefact stick together during assembly without any sort of adhesive, stop!

[Quatre Winner wrote] I’m sure this was covered in one of those horror movies we watched when we got snowed in, back in Germany, wasn’t it?

51. When the scholar in the expedition says that the carving promises wrath on he who breaks the seal, it's time to go back to the camp.

[Quatre Winner wrote] You never got me that Indiana Jones hat you promised me, Duo. Time to pay up.

52. When the medical examiner announces that the victim was bitten or eaten by "something weird that I've never seen before, probably some kind of animal", avoid the area where the biting/eating took place. If the victim is still alive, avoid the victim except under broad daylight.

[Quatre Winner wrote] You and Heero come out of your ‘reunions’ with some pretty interesting marks on you. The high collar doesn’t cover them all, Duo.

53. If it glows, avoid it.

[Quatre Winner wrote] Especially if you’re an Oz soldier and it’s a Gundam. *snicker*

54. When the alien ship arrives, do not join the welcoming committee.

[Quatre Winner wrote] We were *on* the alien ships. As far as I can tell, Miss Relena was the only person foolish enough to welcome one of us. Shame she can’t see what’s in front of her face, though. She really is a nice person, but we truly will have to kill her if she comes by looking for Heero anymore.


Quatre chuckled and hit ‘send’. “That was too much fun. I wonder what other lists like that one they have floating around out there?”

He ran a search, bookmarking various sites for future viewing, and to point at Duo, then his eyes narrowed and a frighteningly evil smirk appeared on his face. “Definitely. Must send this. Duo will be so proud of me…” He snickered, started the email and attached the list. “How many times have I told people I’m NOT the innocent angel they take me for?”



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