Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Alternative Santa Clarita: And the Pig Said 1/?

Alternative Santa Clarita: And the Pig Said

By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing.

Note: So this isn’t part of the main Santa Clarita timeline. In the original Santa Clarita, Heero was able to join Duo on the ranch in Wyoming pretty soon after the first year. In my original time through, Duo thought something was going on with Heero’s foster home in New York, stole a plane and went to investigate, with Joel along to keep him from getting in trouble... The older boy who was harassing and molesting Heero was found out and Joel and Martha dealt with issue. In this timeline, Duo got a head injury and spent a year in a coma. Heero eventually got fed up and dealt with the senator’s son on his own, landing him in prison for five years.  In this story, Heero actually makes it to Wyoming.

He stood there, face passive.

The courtroom behind him had been threatened into silence. None of it mattered. Nothing that mattered still existed. At twenty-one he was lean, muscular, his hair buzz cut by the prison barber before he’d been transferred for this trial. There was a roughly shaped 1 burned onto his cheek and he was missing the little finger on his left hand. Looked completely out of place in the grey business suit that had been provided to him. The sleeves too long and the shoulders too tight.

The judge, a middled aged black woman with dark eyes disconcertingly protective look on her face smiled at him, or tried, as his return stare stayed just as dead and her smile lasted less than a couple seconds. “Mr. Yuy, you are aware of why you are here, rather than being directly released?”

“Yes,” he said, his voice deep, flat, the edge of hatred making his teeth itch.

“So you have a statement prepared for the court then?”  She tried smiling again, but cringed back from the coldness.

“I don’t not,” he said, voice cracking as if he’d just not used it enough in the previous years. “I was hoping you would tell me what you wanted. I was afraid I’d make the wrong one and it wouldn’t be good enough.”

“Yes, I see,” she said, swallowing. “The court needs a statement from you that you will never take up arms again. Can you reassure us that you will only fight at the request of Preventers or another legitimate authority?”

“I will defend myself, if I need to. Self defense is a human right, but I promise,” he said, voice cracking, rough and grating, “to never defend you people, no matter what happens, I swear on the only person I care about.”

“Well, that’s rather bitter, Mr. Yuy.” She said, checking off things on her tablet. “Do you feel you were unjustly punished?”


“I am not here to relitigate old cases,” she said sadly, “You had several bank accounts in your name at the time of your arrest. Those have been released back to you. There is an additional account to which supporters of yours have donated over the years. That has also been released to you. You are free to go, Mr. Yuy. I hope you will find contentment and  joy in your life.”

“I understand that I am allowed contact with my fellow pilots, if we both so choose, is that correct,” Heero asked, chin lifting defiantly, blue eyes narrowed.

“Yes, of course, Mr. Yuy, so long as you don’t start an armed insurrection, you may go where you please, do as you please. It is my understanding that Dr. Duo Maxwell is here to pick you up.”

“Doctor,” Heero whispered, but the silence in the courtroom broke when the door opened with a creak.  Cameras flashed and clicked. Heero’s chin dropped towards his chest. The tie around his neck felt tight, his breath felt thin.

Then the cameras turned away from him and he looked up to the door.

For a moment, Duo was almost exactly like he had been, like he’d just stepped into the world from that day in Rio when they’d been arrested.  He wore a blue hoodie, his hair a framing his face like some elemental force, long strands of darkness clinging to his cheerful face. Duo was the endless mystery, the darkness and the light.  Then there was that grin, wide and huge and unstoppable.

Heero had only seen it a couple of times, in the few moments when Duo had been completely safe and free and seeing it now rattled the edges of Heero’s safety, the rules he’d had to follow in the prison system, the anger that kept him sane.

Duo pushed into the room and the door slammed behind him. Heero flinched, shoulders tightening.

Duo held up both hands flicking his hands to make the reporters and other observers backup. To Heero’s surprise, they did, backing away with some kind of respect. Duo winked, posed for a moment, let them take a couple of photos, then strode towards Heero.

Heero’s heart raced, feeling he was dirty he was less than he was broken, he was ashamed to be seen like this and he actually looked around to see if he could go in the other direction, but then Duo had his hands. His hands were encompassed in Duo’s warm strong hands and then he was pulled closer, those strong arms going around him and hold him close as if Duo had waited for nothing more than this, as if this were his whole purpose in being.

“Heero! I tried so many things! I’m sorry I couldn’t get you free sooner. Come home with me?”

And it was enough, in that moment. Heero’s fist closed around Duo’s hoodie, holding him tight. “Home?”

“Yes, home,” Duo said, pulling back just enough to look in Heero’s eyes. “You want to come home with me?”

He wanted to warn Duo that he wasn’t the same... that a lot had happened since they were arrested.  Duo wrapped an arm around his waist and motioned for the door. “Come on, ‘Ro. Everything is going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay.”

Heero didn’t really think so... But if he was going to be in trouble, there was no one better to be in trouble with.

When they got in the elevator, Duo pushed the up button, taking them to the roof. Heero, who was still holding Duo’s hand, even though he felt self conscious about it, “You’re.. You’re a doctor?”

“Yeah,” Duo said, “It’s a long story. I’ll tell you all about it, but let’s get home first.”

On the roof, there was an advanced  helicopter, and a blond man leaning against it, smoking, smirking. Heero tried to pull his hand back, to look away. “Is he.. He your boyfriend?”

Duo turned to walk backwards, drawing Heero’s fingers to his lips, “No! He’s my adopted dad. Joel, this is Heero Yuy, Heero, Joel.”

Joel tucked his cigarette between his lips, held out his hand to shake, “Good to meet you, Heero. I have heard so much about you.”

“The letters... you sent me letters,” Heero said, stepping into the helicopter.

“Yeah, Heero,” Duo said, getting in and closing the door behind him. “I wrote you letters. Don’t tell anyone.”

As the helicopter lifted off, Heero felt... different... free.. And maybe like he’d never been as alone as he’d thought.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Fic: December

By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing

Notes: This is a Heero/Duo story, as if I write anything else :)

It’s the same every December.  As near as I can tell, all of the large events of his childhood happened in months other than December.  We live on L2.Seattle, but the colony is in good shape now and the seasons all have enough light. I even asked him to be tested for vitamin D deficiency, just in case, even though I knew that wasn’t the answer. He’s always better on January 1st.  

It’s like he runs out of energy at the end of the year though. Starting the week before Thanksgiving, which I still think is a ridiculous holiday, continuing to midnight on December 31st,  my husband’s mood sputters like a starving campfire in the wind.

It’s been a decade since either of us did field work, but we both still work for Preventers, but mostly in the support center three days a week, doing trainings and providing support to less experienced agents in the field. I keep trying to get him to go back to school, to find some other passion. Maybe it’s the kind of cases we get in December that sets him off.

I really don’t understand.  Two years ago, I tried to get him to agree to adopting.  I thought maybe if we were a real family. Maybe I picked a bad day to bring it up, but he looked at me with eyes like mud and said that if I wanted kids, I should have married Relena. When he says things like that, I just let it go. This is proof that wisdom is gained through experience.

So there we were, end of the first week in December and he gets a call from Yama, about a bomb  in a mall in Chicago. He’s got the visual up on his data display, limp fingers turning it around, looking at the thing from all angles. His chin resting on his other hand and I can tell without looking that his eyes look like mud.

Bombs are not my thing. They never have been. When he was fifteen, he could convert a base or a bridge to so much rubble with stuff he found at a grocery store.  He was probably crazy then, by some definition. His mind seems to work like exploding confetti, thoughts here, there, swirling through the air, twenty things going on at once, and he still lands a bullseye and runs off cackling. I wasn’t paying enough attention that first  year that I knew him, or the second, or even the third. It, honestly, wasn’t until we’d moved in together that I noticed what December does to him.

Most of the time, he’s got so much energy, he’s sitting up straight or his desk lifted to where he stands, pacing, doodling, reading a book while taking care of whatever it is he’s doing for Preventers, and still chattering at me like I don’t have anything to be doing. That used to annoy me, before I understood that he was getting his work done and just expected me to be able to do three things at once as well. If Duo Maxwell were ambitious, he’d rule the Earthsphere or kill us both trying.

He doesn’t like money though. We actually live on this smaller colony that doesn’t use money.

“Yes. I am fuckin sure. Cut the red wire,” he snapped, head tilted, back hunched over, arm hanging in the air over his data display, caressing the red wire like his arm was held up by a string and he were no more than a puppet. “Do you wanna have Heero’s opinion? Yeah, I’m tellin’ ya, it’s the red wire.”

He toggled the call onto speaker phone and Yama, who was a good agent, if a little by the book, hissed, “But Maxwell, it’s old. This thing has got to be from the wars. It’s been tucked in this mall for... I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s got cannibalized mobile doll parts in it!”

“I have,” Duo said.  “I know you’ll be okay if you cut the red wire.”

Yama’s face filled up the camera, her dark eyes staring at Duo, demanding some kind of reassurance.  “This bomb doesn’t follow any rules! It’s tied into the mall’s systems so we can’t just get it out or contain it! There are seven hundred people in this mall! What if you’re wrong?”

“I’m not wrong, Yama,” Duo said finding some well of patience. “It’s not actually a bomb.”

“Well it fucking looks like a bomb,” Yama snarled, turning the camera back towards the device.

“Yeah. I know what it looks like. Look, the blue wire goes into what looks like the motion sensor, right? So that would be the textbook wire to cut, right?”

She nodded, upper lip between her teeth. “I don’t mean to, you know, insult you. I know you’re the expert on this! I just found it by accident.. I was out shopping and a signature popped up on my data display. I tracked it down. I haven’t even called it in to the local authorities. It’s so old, I thought you’d know what to do, for sure.”

“I do know,” Duo said, sitting up a little straighter. “If you want to disarm it cut the red. If you want to see something spectacular, cut the blue.”

“You mean like death and carnage? If I cut the red one, it’s going to detonate! Is Yuy there?”

“Ya yup,” Duo said, moving out of the way so that Yama could see Heero standing behind him.

Heero tipped his head in greeting. “Yama.”

“Look,” Yama said, turning green from stress, “My mom and my little sister are out there looking for presents and we’re supposed to have lunch. I have to take care of this. Yuy, which wire do I cut?”

And there’s my husband, a quirk of a smile lifting the corner of his mouth, a tiny bit of fireworks starting in those purple eyes, and oh my god, I love him so much that I can’t even breath properly. I love him like the universe doesn’t make sense and it folds back around on itself, and I’m just a small little bird sitting in the palm of his hand. I love him so much that nothing else matters.

And looking at that smile, I know how he knows. That device is something he build. “Cut the blue,” I say, because what he said was something spectacular would happen if she cut the blue and Duo would never risk hurting people. I really want to see something spectacular. I really want to see him smile.

“But Maxwell said cut the red to disarm it,” Yama said, sweating bullets.

“It’s not a bomb,” Heero said, making Duo roll eyes and smirk, “Cut the blue. It’ll be okay. Your family will be okay.”

“What is it then?”

Duo sighed. “If you want to disarm it, cut the red. If you want to see what it is, cut the blue. If Heero had found it, he would have cut the blue. “

“This is true,” Heero agreed.

She covered her face for a moment, breath ragged. “If I die, I am going to haunt you both. Maxwell, how do you know so much about this thing?”

One hand over her eyes, she cut the blue wire.

For several seconds, enough time for her to stop holding her breath, nothing happened.

Duo shrugged. “It’s really old.”

And then the Christmas music sputtered to a stop and the Beatles... Here Comes the Sun started, roaring till it was louder than the Christmas music had been.  Duo leaned towards the camera, grinning brightly now. “Hurry, go take the camera out into the main hall!”

There was an uproar of people in the mall anyway so she was already running out into the main hall.

There were fifteen holographic fifteen year old Duo Maxwell’s dancing around places that had been prominent in the mall years before. The main escalators had moved, so one of them was dancing up and down in mid air.  Then gift cards started raining from the class ceiling, dropped from drones dressed up as Santa and his sleigh.  The crowd realized what they were and then there was a real roar, laughter and people singing along with the Beatles. Then holographic fireworks lit up the mall, tracing an imperfectly drawn red heart and the words “I luv Heero!”

“Oh. My. God.” Heero’s eyes were wide. “Oh. My. God.”

Duo leaned back, smiling like it was January. “Are you mad?”

“No,” Heero said, leaning close enough to kiss him. “That time you asked me to go to the mall, and I stood you up....”
“Yeah,” Duo said, still smiling. “Would it have worked?”

“When I was 15 and still trying to win a war? No.” Their lips brushed against each other again, until Duo nipped Heero’s lip, the light in his eyes definitely more January than December. “Today though, it works very well. I love you too.”

Duo pressed his hand to Heero’s tight abdomen, slid down and hooked fingers under his belt, then turned back to the camera. “Yama, you good now?”

“Duo! These gift cards are worth a lot! There are hundreds of them! How did you?”

“I don’t what yer talkin about,” Duo said, wiggling his eyebrows. “I was just trying to ask Heero out, that’s all. “Those cards are likely the gift of the Romefeller Foundation.”

“That’s like... there’s like a million dollars in gift cards!”

“Wow,” Duo said, smirking, hand still holding not Heero’s belt. “That sounds real impressive. Must be a great tax write off. Ah gotta go now. Try to get one of the blue ones. The blue ones might be worth more. Merry Christmas!” Duo closed the connection and stood up, arms going around Heero’s neck. “And you.. Can we just pretend it’s January?”

Heero kissed him, kissed his jaw, then up to his ear. “Absolutely! I love January.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fic: Ascension 1/1

By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything in the Final Fantasy franchise. Final Fantasy has been important to me for many years though, about the same time I found myself in Duo Maxwell, I found my voice in Seifer. Final Fantasy XV is fantastic. I love it a lot. So I’m gonna write about it, but I still don’t own it.

WARNING! This story has spoilers!!!
Also ... this is a m/m story :)

“Wait!” Prompto screamed. On the steps above him, his voice reached after Noctis. He reached out for him, dodged Gladio’s big hand and ran up the stairs towards the palace. He’d never belonged. He was nothing, empty, except when Noctis... He slipped, his knee hitting the stone, slowed, he scrambled up the stairs. “Noctis! Wait!”

On his hands and knees, staring up at the slender dark haired haired prince, dressed formally, dark metal and scuffed black clothes, scorched from battle.  Noctis squatted, emotion tight on his now thin face. Still unshaven, so much older and more distant than he had been when the crystal stole him. Prompto grabbed a handful of soft black slack, holding till his knuckles were white. “No, Just no. I know what they say... but we can do something together. We’ll kick his ass!”

Noctis’ fingertips passed through Prompto’s breath as he spoke, his words rushed and pleading, then moved up to smear warm tears over his battle dried face. “The night must end,” Noctis said, voice hoarse. It had been so long since he’d spoken and fighting through the flames had taken it from him. “There must be dawn, Prompto. That must be paid for in blood.”

“Take mine,” Prompto begged. “Let me take your place. I’ll do it!”

“Even if I could do that,” Noctis said, smiling softly, his hand pushing blond hair back from his lover’s face, “I wouldn’t, Prompto. I give myself. You have given me more than you can know. YOu once told me that I didn’t understand, but I think you are the one that did not understand. To everyone I was a role, a tool. My father loved me, but he knew, he always knew. You saw me as a man and it is because of the man you saw, the man you knew that I can walk in there and do what I must. I will give you the dawn, Prompto. I will give you the good light for many beautiful photos.”
“But you won’t be in them,” Promto said, fresh heat slipping free from his eyes. “Take me with you then!”

“I wish we’d spoken sooner,” Noctis said, leaning closer, his lips brushing Prompto’s. All soreness, the stone under his battered knee, all of it was nothing as he pressed forward, his tongue reaching for Noctis’, his arms going around his neck, holding his prince, his warmth, his light, the only light that he needed. Still kissing, tongues still touching, he felt Noctis’ warm lips against his ear. “I love you. Take beautiful photos.”

Then the kiss was cold, brittle and he looked up to see his lover twenty steps above him, back straight, royal shadow. The hologram in front of him, translucent and shimmering rainbow, and his eyes blurred. “NOCT!!”

Gladio had a fist full of his coat then, but Promto pulled, trying to slip free. “Noct!!!”

Shadows don’t listen, don’t turn around. The palace had always been more shadow than light, a place he couldn’t move freely nor with welcome and it swallowed Noctis up. “We need to be with him,” he begged his friends, pleading, “We can’t let him die alone! It’s not right!”

Now standing next to them, Ignis spoke solemnly, “We have done what we can for him. He, alone, is king.”

Light flared from the palace, searing, radiant, and Prompto found himself rolling back down the stairs. Falling, his mind grabbed at images, rare smiles, the first time he’d reached out for Noct’s hand, Noct’s voice saying he was one of them.. Get over it.

At the bottom of the stairs, flat on his face, amid the dirt and debris of a fallen capital, he lay there knowing neither his tears or blood could pay for what he wanted, they would never be enough.

The three of them sat there, and slowly Prompto sat up, watching the sunrise, the warm light, and it was though the sun itself was Noct, as if he’d become the source of life for everyone, not just one ruined little throwaway. And he knelt there as the light began to fill the city, his scraped and battered hands resting on his knees, tears spreading across his shirt. He wanted it to mean something. He wanted this to be victory, life, success, but without Noct, it was just a different form of darkness.

Gladio grunted something, but Prompto didn’t think he cared to understand language anymore. He had been made to be without feelings, without independence, but he’d stolen what he had, everything he had from his name to the kiss of the prince.... But what you steal, you often can’t keep.

Ignis touched his shoulder, spoke kindly. “Gentiana is talking to you, Prompto. It might be wise to reply to her.”

“What,” he sad, voice raw, throat swollen, and he looked up at the pale faced goddess. “He’s gone,” he told her, as if that explained everything.

“The King has ascended,” she agreed, her hand gesturing elegantly to the rising sun. “You are his loyal companions. Would you like to continue to be?”

Trembling, stomach flipping, Prompto stared at her. “Can we save him?”

She tipped her head, dark eyes studying him. “You can go with him, if you wish,” she said, her hand motioning as if she were summoning and a portal appeared. Beyond the portal Noctis lay napping on the hood of the Regalia, a sunny beach just beyond. “If you pass through, you can never return.”

Prompto barely heard her, already on his feet, running through the portal. “Noct!”

Noctis sat up as Prompto called his name, smiling he slipped from the hood, held open his arms. Prompto grabbed him, lifted him from the ground, spinning them around a couple times. Laughing, Noctis ran his fingers through that blond hair. Leaning he kissed him again, but now there was no end, no limits.

“Alright you two,” Gladio complained, a hand clapped to Noctis’ shoulder. “Is this what we’ve got to look forward to?”

Ignis, sight restored, he laid a hand on both Prompto’s and Noctis’ shoulders. “This is the most beautiful beach. Perhaps a photo would be in order?”

“Yeah,” Prompto said, slipping free of his jacket, barely keeping from jump up and down. “I can do that! This is the perfect light!”

“Sure,” Noctis said, content, striking a post. “Then let’s get something to eat! I’m starving.”

“And yet,” Ignis said, “We are all still remarkably alive, for a given amount of alive.”  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

fic: Air 1/?

By Max

Disclaimer: This is fan fic of a game my friends play.  The website is: http://thelionage.com/

Note:  Good heavens, I’m nervous about this.  So I think I’ll just write as I write and let it be bad and improve it later.


Darkness does not care who passes nor does it give pity to the desires of a soul. Paving stones care nothing for what is spilled upon them.  Lucian Fennic did not much like the dark, nor the uneven hardness of cobblestones. Cloak pulled around him, he stayed close to the skinny little servant boy and the watery circle of light the oil lamp gave them.  Houses were dark, shutters pulled against the chill of early winter.  The servant boy turned to see if he were keeping up. He had dark little eyes, features made sharper by shadows and the splash of  flickering light. His nose wrinkled, eyebrows drawing down, then a shudder went over him, and he spun back around, hurrying down the street.  Fennic kept up his pace, soft soled leather boots just as silent as they’d been before.   

As they rounded another corner, onto another street of shuttered houses, a man stepped from the shadows into the boy’s path, bringing him up short, the oil lamp swaying, splashing light over the man, his pale face, the glint of a dagger held by his side. The boy fairly squeaked, but gave no resistance as Fennic grabbed by the collar and tugged him back. He pushed his own hood back, letting some of that wavering light cast an aura on blood red hair. “Speak your peace,” he snapped at the man, standing tall, his green eyes demanding and critical.

“Have charity, fine sir,” the man said his chin tipped to his chest, brows drawn down, thin pale lips sneering.

Fennic pushed his hood back, letting the swaying light over fire red hair. “I am Fennic. I have no money.”

“You’re the healer,” he man asked, his eyes slightly wide, leaning just a little back.

Fennic glared at him, unwavering. “And you are?”

The man pulled his hood back up, hiding his face and disappeared back into the shadows.

As soon as Fennic released the boy’s neck, as small hand grabbed hold of his, holding tight like the redhead could fend off the night itself.  Tugging on him, the boy hurried him down the narrowing road, down a more narrow ally to the small cottage build against a wall of the stable.  

The door was wooden, thick. Terra cotta tiles hung over the edge of the low roof, made even lower by slender little icicles.  The larger house left both the stable and the cottage in stronger shadow, but the hint of light leaked around the shutters. The boy rapped the side of his fist against the door. Almost immediately it cracked open and a dark eyed woman peeked out.  Overwhelming the scent of the stable, from the crack of the open door there was blood and piss and sweat, the stink of fear and exhaustion.  

“I brought Fennic,” the boy said, as if that were the answer to everything.

The woman pulled the door open enough to let them in.  A sharp featured woman with white at her temples and smudges under her eyes, she eyed him up and down. “You’re a man.”

“That I am,” he said. There were two rooms to place. A curtain of irregular colors and shapes hung between them.

“We got no money,” the woman accused.

“I didn’t ask for any,” he said back, giving her a twitch of a smile. He was a wiry man as well, taller than she was, but shorter than the man he’d met on his way. His red hair was done into a dozen braids, lashes golden enough to be almost invisible in some lights. His face rounder, softer than was the norm, with a curved nose and speckle of dots across his cheeks. He motioned towards the other room, asking her to lead the way.

The woman had the same shudder as the boy, her shoulders shaking for a moment as she looked at him. “It’s a woman giving birth,” she said, challenging him.

He unfastened his cloak,  handing it to the boy. A sack hung by cord from one shoulder and he hooked a finger under it, lifting it just a bit from his shoulder. “I think it’s not going well. She’s been at it too long. Do you want my help or not?”

“Please, mother,” the boy said, taking her hand. “He saved Baba’s leg and the fine lady talks of him.”
“I don’t know. The priest is on his way already,” she said, her face twisting as she swallowed tears, her hand making the sign of Benalus. “The Lord’s will be done.”

“Then it’s no harm if I have a look, is it,” he said. He gestured again and she sort of slumped but lead the way into the next room.
The girl lay pale as a ghost on a mattress of hay on the floor. A blanket covered her, though her legs had kicked free.  She stared at him, barely seeing. “Give me water,” he commanded, “Clean water.”

He set his tool bag down and knelt on the mattress. Feeling for a pulse in her wrist, he asked, “What is your name?”

“Laura,” she said, voice slurred. “Are you the priest?”

“No,” he said, tugging a jar of of honey come from his bag. “You’re not ready for the priest yet.”

“I don’t want to die without last rites,” she whispered.

He broke off a bit of the honeycomb, holding it to her lips. “Then let’s try not to die tonight. Eat the honey. It’ll give you strength.”

“It hurts,” she whispered, licking at the honey, weakly at first, then with more energy.

“It’ll hurt less when it’s done, Laura.” He gave her a little more honey, then a little of the water the boy had brought. The honey was soaked in poppy juice. It was going to hurt a bit less soon. “Do you think you’ll have a boy or a girl?”

“Who's going to take care of my baby,” she said, starting to cry as another contraction bit into her.

“You are,” he promised, pulling out his set of tools, unwrapping them from the thick soft cloth that held them safe and silent in his sack. “You’ll be a fine mother.”

Some light came back into her eyes then and she stared at him, lower lip trembling. “Help me.”

“I’m going to help you,” he promised. “By morning, you’ll be here with your baby.”

And she believed him.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

comic: Santa Clarita: Miracle

I hand colored it... I need to do it again, color it digitally, maybe ink it digitally too. The thing looks really cool in person, but I have trouble translating that to the computer... the colors are just too pale.