Saturday, August 1, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Santa Clarita: Santa Muerte 2/2
Disclaimer: I still don’t own Gundam Wing and I think I get a little older every day, but my hair is still blue :)
Warning: There is a lot of world building on this and I guess, Santa Clarita has always been AU.. but it’s getting pretty far afield from GW as I start to explore the adult’s lives.
Joel’s strongest connection to another human being was to Allen, but his connection to M2 was a whole different kind of connection, maybe it would even be a deeper connection, but in all honesty, even ten years after opening his eyes from what he had thought was certain death to staring into hers, he wasn’t sure he’d even really fully started exploring how he felt about her. If his rebirth had been baptism, Allen had lured him into the water and put him under, but M2 was the one that pulled him up and into the air again. Allen made him want to be a better man, but M2 made it actually happen.
As they glided silently into the quaint 1800’s looking Wyoming town, she let the AI drive the bike as she set their camouflage and mind links. “Respond,” she prompted in his thoughts.
“Hey babe,” he responded in her thoughts.
Their distinctive and separate neural patterns brushed against each other over the Murphy private network, bleeding into each other like day and night dancing through twilight.
He could feel her presence in his mind as if she were a welcome and normal part of his very identity. It was like a kiss as she ruffled through his thoughts and feelings.
“You’re very excited over watching the boys tonight.” She pressed a little closer. “Why,” she asked lovingly, acceptingly. She’d known his neural patterns when he’d been little more dangerous predator in the flow of human experience, where his primary pleasures were killing and deceiving and accepted him as such. He felt a sense of acceptance and even warm pleasure at her questioning.
His kiss back into her mind was darker though, where her main values had always been and would always be curiosity and a love of truth - his gravitated more towards hunger and domination, even if that didn’t show much in his home life, anymore. “He’s just like me,” he said, “Just like I was,” Joel amended.
For a moment they shared a memory of Joel’s youth, of being a true sociopath, blond and pretty and deeply enjoying a small moment of cruelty, and then the memory snapped to his clan branding him with a small dark symbol, making his a wraith before they expelled him from the clan. Memories fell like pebbles in their shared mind, of things he’d done on Earth, the darkness he’d brought into the world.
She countered with memories of him saving lives and burning pancakes and taking care of Allen after he’d lost his eyes, before Martha had gotten him home and gotten them regrown, more recent memories of Joel playing with the children and being a normal human being. “You’re healed from your youth. The past is gone. We can only mind the present, J-kun.”
“Yeah, well,” Joel said in her mind, as both of them slipped invisibly into the tent where the boys were laying out the bones. “I’m just trying to help him. I guess he’s not as bad as I was.”
Invisible, M2 slipped her fingers through Joel’s fingers and touched her shoulder to his. “He was never branded a wraith and the clan that built his gundam followed that practice.”
“He wasn’t born Sweeper. Just adopted,” Joel shared, convening a deeply ingrained touch of tribal exclusion that meant on some level, in his deepest thoughts Duo was not really Sweeper and never would be.
M2’s sunlight colored thoughts pressed into Joel, wrapping him in love like an Arctic summer, light that would never end, “He’s Clan Allen now and so are you.”
Physically, Joel forgot to breath during her embrace, even though neither of their bodies had moved a millimeter from where the’d positioned themselves. There was always the chance that one or more of the precocious brats would have sensing technology that could pick them up, despite having the best in stealth tech. Joel didn’t really have the words or thoughts to describe what that level of love and acceptance felt like, but in such a short kiss, he couldn’t find the connection to feeling like Duo wasn’t part of the clan or even that he, himself, didn’t deserve to be. For the very shortest moment of time, he doubted plan he’d put in place days before, right after Duo had pulled the scam with the cow.
Then Heero triggered the device he’d built from Duo’s plans and time bent around, spreading consciousness out like silken kites in the winds of a hurricane... Joel and M2 clung together as if they were one being. Needing the concept of bodies, Joel focused on that, on her body pressed to his, his arm around her smaller form, the storm at his back, one hand in her hair, and he loved her with a huge measureless love that covered her and Allen and her original form Martha, and Mary, even though she was the last in the bouquet. If that had been his last moment, holding M2 in a quantum time storm, he could allow that... and his mind went to the moment he’d nearly died, the first moment he’d met her... his consciousness caught into that moment and he felt himself slipping away like sand through fingers, until she was holding him, catching the grains of his being as if each were beyond precious to her. He found his being again with her warm lips against his ear, whispering in a dark honey voice, “I love you.”
He had a moment there, feet on the ground, shaking arms holding her up off the ground, until the most blood curdling scream he’d ever heard cut through the night with more chaos than a localized quantum time storm could, evidently.
He spun, instinctively pushing M2 behind him, and there was the holographic AI he’d planned on scaring the crap out of Duo with... she was great looking, like some dark lady misty ghost with long waving black hair boney fingers. Right across from her though was a woman. Joel’s and M2’s sensors all swore she was real, biologic human, coffee skin and dark hair, battle make up on, a glorious headdress of feathers almost as long as Duo’s braid. She also had a long stone blade in either hand and a look of sheer terror in her eyes that even Joel had to admit that Duo couldn’t have manufactured.
“Aztec,” M2 hissed, verbally, as they both dropped their stealth.
The Aztec woman screamed and it was a scream that set time on edge, giving Joel time to think that if a Rebel yell had sounded like that he was fucking glad it was gone. Her scream was like fire on his nerves and made him think he was an innocent five year old like he’d never ever been. It also made him want to puke.
The Duo screamed and it was more like a real five year old, some level of innocence and fear like Joel had never personally known and in that moment he fully realized that he and Duo weren’t as similar as he thought.
Thought processes played out in Father Johnson’s revival tent like micro tornadoes vying for control of the growing hyper funnel. Dots connected on the Aztec woman’s face, and both M2 and Joel’s still connected thought processes understood that the woman yanked across time thought the hologram was an actual deity. Without knowing her history, they both understood that when she looked at Duo, she was seeing an offering she needed to make.
He saw it too and spun, even as he was still screaming, braid sticking out of his black ops suit just enough to make a handle. Heero reached for a pistol he didn’t have. Wufei’s eyes were wide and filled with terror and wonder and disbelief. M2’s thoughts pulled from Joel’s as she threw herself into finding and downloading Aztec language skills.
For Joel, as much as he’d loved murder and sorrow in other’s before, the idea of one of those stone blades going into Duo’s body was more than he could accept. The violet eyed monster was a cub to all that was a lion in Joel and he was across the sanctuary in less than a heartbeat, arm ready to palm strike the Aztec woman, but her history had to have included some combat skills as well because she was on him as fast as he could move. Her knee hit his chest, then her forearm, which had come through time with large stone beads along a leather bracer, was hitting the side of his face, knocking a tooth free as she rode him to the dirt floor.
Duo had completed a 360 spin and kicked her little finesse, but great willingness, knocking her right shoulder back, but she still managed to complete a downward strike, driving her blade down into Joel’s chest, just deep enough to knick his heart. She snarled, staring at how shallow her blade had sunk, then, on one knee still, Joel’s blood spraying over the gold beaded white linen shirt she wore, she looked up at what she surely expected to be her goddess.
Instead she found herself staring at a really pissed M2. There was no creativity to M2, not the way Duo would have had flames in his hair if he were as much of avatar as M2 was, but instead she was matte paint, deadpan, and in that moment embodying all the darkness she’d ever soaked in from Joel, sociopath and loving it.
Duo was on his knees, hands shaking around the wide stone blade, wanting to pull it out, but not sure that was the right thing. With a shaking hand, he touched the communication device in his ear. “Call Martha. Urgent.”
A moment later, Martha answered. “What have you done?”
“Uh,” Duo said, swallowing, trying to stare M2 down for a moment and being super keenly, gonna puke now aware of the real strange fucking lady with the OTHER GODDAMN stone blade in her hand being right behind him, “So like... uh.. M2 needs a tranquilizer and and uh... I’m real sorry, but I think Joel’s dead.”
“You’re going to go to prison.”
“Okay, but uh.. right now, can you come help, please?”
“Yes, fine,” M2 said out loud, using Martha’s pitch and vocal patterns. “Maxwell, what the fuck have you done,” she snapped, then in some language that Duo had never heard she looked right at Santa Muerte and said something that made the other stone blade drop to the ground.
As soon as the blade dropped, Duo grabbed Joel’s wrist to feel for a pulse. He caught a glimpse of Heero and Wufei and they were both absent from the space. That made him feel better. He needed them to be safe.
Father Johnson stamped in then, wiry and angry like contained lightening. “What do you vermin think you’re doing? I’m going to call the police!”
Martha, wearing M2’s body, turned and glared at him such that he paled and stepped back, eyes big and about as confident as any teenage boy.
Martha pointed at the Aztec woman and said, “There is your Santa Muerte. Ask her for what you will.”
His mouth fell open and he stared at the nobel Aztec warrior woman with no more ability to form sentences than a two year old.
“Well, then,” Martha said, “Please come by the Murphy Ranch sometime later in the day to collect your property that you have been so kind as to loan me. That is correct, right?”
The old man nodded vigorously.
“Good,” Martha said firmly. “We will also be discussing new career options.”
She turned her attention to Duo who was still kneeling by Joel, trying to figure out what to do. He looked up at her with a tear streaked face.
“Do you know what you did wrong,” she asked sternly, one hand opening up the pill shaped hovering medical evac tube.
“No, not really,” Duo admitted. Maybe moving the bones to a different location, with more security. “I didn’t know Joel was here.”
An automated medical transport arrived then and Duo started crying even more. “He doesn’t have a pulse anymore.”
“That’s probably because the fucker had a heart attack because someone put a stone blade into his heart. Do you want to fix him?”
“Yes!” Duo said, nodding, violet eyes wide and suddenly full of hope.
“Good. Help me get him into the transport. It’s time you learned some useful skills. You have too much time on your hands.”
“Okay,” Duo said, voice wavery. “He’s gonna be okay?”
“Yes.” she said, “I keep a spare heart from him in the lab. He seems to need one almost every year.”
“Are you Martha or M2?” Duo asked as the settled Joel’s limp body into the medical cocoon.
“Yes,” she said. “This is Zuma. You are responsible for her. Say hello.”
Duo turned, eyes huge, his head about to explode. His smile was spasmic, twitching as he tried real hard to smile. “Hi.”
She glared at him.
He felt like he was white as a sheet. “I thought being alive would be a good thing, ya know?”
She clearly didn’t understand him, but arched an eyebrow, elegant nose twitching.
Martha said something else in the strange alien language as she sealed the medical transport and sent it speeding home.
The tension dropped out of Zuma’s shoulders and suddenly she was laughing, hands over her face.
Duo’s face went red, eyes twitching, “What’d you tell’er?”
Martha almost smiled, but with a mostly straight face, she admitted, “I told her you were a wizard apprentice, a bad one.”
“Hey!” Duo squealed, pointing at Martha, “What did worked! My maths were right!”
Zuma just laughed more, smirking and acting kindred with Martha like there was some cross cultural agreement between powerful women. Father Johnson and Duo stared at each other. The old man shrugged and held up his hands.
“Get the motorcycle you came on.”
Duo nodded, looking around as subtly as he could for Heero and Wufei.
“They can run home,” Martha said firmly, “You can ride. You’re going to be working the rest of the night, wizard boy.”
The AI in Joel’s bike brought it around and Duo climbed on. Martha climbed on M2’s bike, spoke in that old weird language and then Zuma got on behind her. Silent as the fey, they headed home.
Martha kept the speed low as Zuma seemed to freak out a bit more at the higher speeds.
As they shot by the deputy’s speed trap, a flash of light caught Zuma’s attention and she turned to face him. He got a really good look at her face, battle makeup, dark hair tangling on the wind, and then she smiled at him, white teeth in the darkness. Their eyes locked for a moment and he decided it was time for a bit of Irish in his coffee. Yes. Yes, it was.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Santa Clarita: Santa Murete: Chapter One
disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing
Warning: I’ve wandered pretty far afield from Gundam Wing. My Santa Clarita stories are wide and vast and primarily serve to entertain me. I hope others wil be able to enjoy them, but if I could write solid commercial fiction anymore, I’d probably have a nicer something.
Notes: This follows Alive... it might be interesting to note that there is another story in this series that I haven’t finished ... right after Alive, Wu was miffed that Duo did something he hadn’t done, so he cooked up a dinosaur.. which proceeded to chase them around... I really should finish that one. I’m pretty sure Duo would be fine with dino steak after they killed it in fair combat. Then there was a story that came from pure depression about how Joel, Martha, and Allen got together. Sometimes the darkness scares me. So here we are, another new job and the stories are a little less dark... given that Duo, Heero, and Wu are about to attempt to raise Santa Murete from the dead....
Santa Murete: Chapter One
Their rooms shared a wall. Heero sat in the window, the blanket draped over one knee, his foot on Duo’s back. Duo lay on his belly without pajamas because he couldn’t see the point. He knocked quietly on the wall, to see if Wufei would knock back. The walls were still perfectly well soundproofed, but they’d figured out a small invisible membrane that they could put on both sides of the wall so that when they tapped, the other side could hear it.
In his room, the Chinese Imperial Emperor lay snuggled under a green crocheted blanket that Allen’s mother had made, dark bangs brushing over dark eyes, and a mission committed adventurous smile on his lips. He’d been waiting for Duo’s knock. His heart sped up a bit and he knocked back, morse code, “Ready.”
“Yes,” was tapped back and Wufei jumped up, silent and ninja like, already dressed in black cotton pants and a black Chinese top. He slipped his shoes on, made his bed carefully diverted the security around his window so he could get out without letting the house computer know he was doing so.
At that point, all of them still misunderstood what kind of intelligence embodied the house’s computer systems.
Martha rolled over, tugged at Joel’s hair, lovingly and teasingly. “They’re both out their windows, Blondy.”
Joel, who was quite happy to sleep with his head on Allen’s shoulder and Mary and M2’s heads on his thigh, really didn’t want to walk up and chase rotten little teenagers that just didn’t find enough value in a good racing game. “Let’em. They can’t hurt much. They’re not that irresponsible.”
Mary kissed his thigh. “You don’t have to work tomorrow. The rest of us do.”
“Fuck,” Joel groaned. “Can’t we just set up security that they can’t get out of?”
Martha ran her fingers through his curly hair, soothing and encouraging. “You really think that’s a good idea?”
“No,” Joel groaned.
“Besides, M2 said, biting his thigh just a little. “I thought you had... a plan.”
Joel sat up, one eye narrowed, a crooked grin on his face. “Oh yes! M, you want to come?”
“Yeah,” she said, “I think I do.”
Allen woke enough to run his hand down Joel’s back. “You promised me a run in the morning,” he said.
“No problem,” Joel agreed. He snuggled up against the former football player for a moment, kissing his shoulder. “Run we shall! But right now! I am going to make sure that Death rises at Death’s command,” he said ominously.
“Don’t have too much fun,” Allen said playfully.
Duo, Heero, and Wufei ran in single file to the garage, all in black, only the whites of their eyes showing. Duo’s deft fingers worked over the security on the transportation garage while Wufei and Heero stood guard. A couple moments later, the three of them emerged on an all black motorcycle. Duo drove, Heero right behind him, and Wufei on the very back, no helmets and not a sound as they flew down the ranch driveway and a very ticketable speed.
As they sped down the highway, they passed the new deputy. He stared at his radar gun, blinked, looked down the road, looked at his radar gun again, frowned, and decided he needed another drink of coffee. Those fuckers down at the station told him weird things happened out by the Murphy Ranch, but he was sure they were just playing some cow tipping bullshit on him. There was no way that an electric motorbike with three riders was going to be going 320 mph at one in the morning. There was no fucking way he was going back to the station and reporting any such fucking stupidity. He could just hear Raker asking if he’d given chase. Like really?
In the garage, with the security still disabled, Joel snickered. “They took your bike, M-chan,” he teased.
She threw her leg over the bike in his spot. “Yeah? I thought they were going to take yours, so I switched our bikes before dinner.” She smiled with innocent charm at him, then pressed her thumb on the secure trigger. The bike hummed to life.
“Fuck me,” Joel grumbled.
“I can do that,” she offered, still maintaining a sweet innocent smile.
He grabbed a collar for both of them, and fastened hers around her neck then his before throwing his leg over and taking the backseat. In the event of a crash, their collars would expand into very effective protective devices. An arm over her shoulder, he pointed the way and she shot them forward, silent and illegal fast.
The deputy saw them go by, looked at his radar gun, took out a smoke. The Murphys were clearly into some freaky shit, but there was no fucking way. He hadn’t seen nothing. Not a damn thing.
La Madera wasn’t a big town. The high school was in the next town over, but it was the closest town to the ranch and it looked, probably a lot like it had when it was founded in the 1800’s. When Quatre saw photos of it, he thought it was a ‘tourist trap’, but Duo didn’t really understand that idea. His first thought was that the folk were eating tourists like they at other mammals. He so had seen movies like that! It made perfect sense, but Martha swore to him that all the townies wanted was money and the occasional opportunity for sexual interaction. Mary said if he couldn’t see the difference between eating a cow or eating a person, he might be brain damaged. He said she was a lawyer who was sleeping with both Joel and Martha, so she might brain damaged too. Martha almost smiled. She didn’t, however, rule out brain damage in either case.
Be that as it may, the three zipped silently into town, around Mr. Wu’s cow that never stayed at home and down to the field where the traveling preacher had set up his revival. The tent was blue and white with a glorious painting of Santa Muerte down over the flap that would open to be come the door. They stashed their stolen bike behind what seemed like ticket booth. As they made their way around the camp, setting their own small drones as perimeter guards, they closed silently on the preacher’s trailer. It was a metal affair, small and round, and looking like something that had been kicked by mobile doll and hammered back out at some point. Duo went right for the rear window, the only sizeable window, violet eyes peering through as if he were one of Santa’s favorite helpers, just doing his job, right where he was supposed to be, innocent and full of only the very best of intentions.
There was Father Johnson, who by all accounts had been a dependable, if transient member of the community for about twice Duo’s claimed age, but there he was, thin white hair waving in the air, cheeks flushed, eyes clenched shut as he did what appeared to be a blow up doll with long blonde curls doggy style. Just as Duo tried with all his will to turn away, the man’s hips thrust hard forward and the doll lifted her head, rosy lips parting as she moaned and begged, “Do it again Father Johnson!”
Duo’s face went pale, he spun and sank down to a crouch.
“What did you see,” Wufei hissed.
Heero stared at him expectantly, blue eyes wanting a report.
Duo’s cheeks ballooned for a moment. “He’s busy. Come on,” he said, surging forward, refocusing on the mission.
A moment later they were under the edge of the tent and into the sanctuary.
“But what was he doing,” Wufei insisted. “He wasn’t sleeping, was he?”
“Nope, not sleeping,” Duo said, hands resting on the glass case that served as an alter. “He was... er .. kinda praying.”
Wufei crossed his arms, dark eyes narrowing suspiciously. “Why would he be praying?”
“How should I know? He’s a religious folk doing what religious folk do. He was on his knees.” Duo said firmly, violet eyes glaring at Wufei.
“Oh my god,” Wufei said, face going long, mouth falling open for a moment. “He was having SEX... that old man was having sex! Who was he with?”
“I don’t see how that’s relevant,” Heero said as he uncapped the glass cutter. “This isn’t enough bones to make a whole human skeleton.”
Duo shrugged. “Yeah, well, there should be enough. Wu, you gonna set up the power supply or stand there thinkin about that old dude’s Johnson?”
Wufei pointed at him indignantly. “I wasn’t! You brought it up! You put it in my mind! Oh my god! Oh no... what if he’s... with some of the bones! Some people.. you know.. and that could be problematic....”
“He wasn’t usin bones,” Duo said, bouncing his eyebrows as laid out the grid that they’d be connecting to the power supply Wufei had carried.
“Well, it’s still disrespectful! Human bones should be treated respect and honor! People in Wyoming have no honor!”
Duo was in the process of moving a metacarpal when he paused, lips puckering for a moment, violet eyes a slit, until he put the bone between his teeth.
“You shouldn’t do that,” Heero said calmly, carrying out their plan with great efficiency. “We don’t know what her cause of death was. It might have been disease.”
Wufei’s expression was a supernova of disapproval, mouth wide, boney finger pointing shakily, chin lifted. “You lack even the residue of human culture! Put that ... ... put it down!”
Duo rolled his eyes. “Calm Wu-dude! She’s gonna be back on her feet with all’er bones in a moment. She’ll be the girlfriend you’ve been waiting for!”
“Wait!” Wufei said, tongue worrying at his tongue in a Duo-esque expression. “I have a wife. We could raise Meiran too!”
“One chick at a time,” Duo said, bouncing the bone in the palm of his hand before putting it into place with the rest that Heero had already laid out. “As fer cause o’death,” Duo said, bouncing her skull, before turning the back towards the others, revealing a very solid V shaped hole. “I’m pretty sure this’ad somethin ta do with it.”
“Oh cool,” Wufei said, drawing close to study the skull. He pulled a pair of spectacles from his pocket, pressed the power button and gasped. “OH man... a real murder, but she’s old. These bones are like over a thousand years old!”
“Cool!” Duo said, positioning the skull. “Maybe she really is Santa Muerte. Father Johnson is gonna be so jazzed to meet her in the flesh!”
I have stood vigil
at her grave
the turned dirt
dark and wet
In the snow and when the bluebells grew
There I stand
there can be no road forward
The man dancing in the tunnel
blue headphones and red backpack
he’s a ghost.
it wasn’t when grandfather hurt me
that I died.
that memory came back sooner
than she did
pain is like a scream vibrating over nerves
It leaves an echo scaring the soul
and in that scar the fare across Styx is paid
Her pain was not mine
Her pain paid no fare
for the river was not crossed
Today I ride the train
but part of me
stands at her grave
unfound and lost