Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fic: Thank you for Calling 2/?

Thank You for Calling 2/?
By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing, nor do I own the Marvel Universe, or Supernatural...

Note: This chapter is for Laura’s Birthday! :) And likely the next after...


“Thank you for calling Acme Supernatural Supplies and Supplements. My name is Steve. How may I help you?” He sat there on his chair, alert and cheerful.

“I just have some questions,”  a younger girl asked.

“Of course, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. I feel I should advise you thought you must be 18 years old to purchase products from Acme Supernatural Supplies and Supplements. May I have your name please?”

“I’m Karissa. I’m fifteen, but I’m going to be sixteen in two weeks. On the page about spells, it says that, well,” she said, pausing and making odd little sounds like she was chewing her lip. “Well, I just want to know if they work. Do love spells work?”

“Um,” Steve said, as if he were giving her question due consideration, when what he was really doing was trying to think how to answer her question honestly without getting himself fired. “They can have some benefits, but you don’t want someone falling in love with you if it’s not truly in their nature to love you. Love is a very powerful experience and sometimes the best part of that experience is to give love. I believe if you look in our book section, you’ll find a seminal work by Starhawk called Spiral Dance. She gives directions for a very powerful love spell that can not do anyone any harm.”

The earthquake shook the building only slightly, but as his chair shivered, he suddenly reassessed the sturdiness of the building his job was in. The girl talked away in his ear about why needed a love spell, some girl named Belinda who was, apparently, the most beautiful girl in school. While she talked, Steve reminded himself that his purpose was to protect the world, protect freedom, and do that he needed to maintain his freedom, not endanger his team. They needed to lay low, pay rent, buy food, stay hidden. “I do believe love is one of the most powerful forces in the world. I believe we may have just had an earthquake. It may be necessary for me to call you back.”

“But what about lust,” the girl asked urgently. “If I get the number 69 candle and I write her name on it, do you think she’ll lust for me?”

Steve rubbed between his eyes. “That might be something best discussed with your mother.”

The girl groaned. “I don’t think you know anything about magic.”

“Magic is powerful. It’s not something to be trifled with.”

“Whatever. I want to order to #69 candles and five blessed ribbons, and some juju fix beans.”

“Do you have a parent I can speak with so that we can complete the purchase, Karissa?”

“No. The card’s in my name. I have a job.”

“I’m sorry. I can not sell certain products to customers who are under 18.”

“Can I talk to your supervisor, please?”

“Of course, would you like to hold?”

“Sure.”

And then there was hold music. He was going to lose this job. This was a good job though. It paid enough to cover their expenses and they didn’t have to see anyone face-to-face. It was the last place the government was going to come looking for them at.

His email blinked and he clicked into it.

The new email was from Tony@imanasshole.com  On the off chance that it was an apology, Steve clicked it open.

“I need you and Bucky to take out a weapon for me.”

Hold music continued to play. Assholes at his fingertips, assholes in his ears, profanity in his thoughts... it called for a new job, it did.Steve replied, “You can’t email me here.”

Tony’s reply hit his inbox milliseconds before he even hit send. “Yes, I can. Obviously. I’ve just emailed you. You’re going to have a hard time staying hidden if this weapon levels Seattle. Think of all the innocent dead. You don’t want dead civilians, do you Cap?”

“Send the information to my private email.”

“Don’t worry! :) :)” Tony replied. “I won’t let you get fired. It’s the least I can do. Oh and I sent you a package.”

“Are you intoxicated? Is that where this is coming from? You’re never going to win Pepper’s trust like this,” Steve typed.

“Cap, let’s just stay with saving innocent lives, shall we,”  Tony replied.

Just after he’d managed to transfer the underage girl to a supervisor who, hopefully, wasn’t going to let her buy anything either, another supervisor showed up at his desk dragging a rather large box.

Steve smiled, a twitchy nervous smile. “Hi Tanya. How are you this afternoon?”

“Put yourself in coaching,” she said, smiling like nothing was wrong.

Bucky had suggested they work as private investigators. That might not be such a poor idea. “Of course, how can I help?”

“You are aware that you’re not allowed to use the business address for packages or mail, right?”

“I did not request any packages or mail,” Steve defended himself.

“Yeah? Explain this,” she said pushing the large narrow box closer to him. “Go on,  open it up. I’d love to see what was so important that you had to risk your job to get it. And really? What could you possibly order from  imanasshole.com anyway?”

“Um,” Steve said, not really having a good answer for that, but Tony’s apologies were about as poor as one could get. Inside the box though, now that was a decent apology. He pulled his shield up and found a great smile. That apology might be better than it had seemed at first inspection.

“Great,” Tanya snapped. “Fan junk. You know he’s not a hero, right?”

“Yes, Ma’am. It won’t happen again.”

“See that it doesn’t.”

Steve pushed the box under his desk, a genuine smile on his face. There was hope for the world.  “Thank you for calling Acme Supernatural Supplies and Supplements. My name is Steve. How may I help you?”

<><>

Duo Maxwell sat on the steps behind the homeless shelter. War hadn’t touched Seattle much. That alone would have made it an interesting city. There was a plaque in the subway about Microsoft and how he or she had brought computers to the world. Elbow on his knee, a cigarette hanging from his fingers,  Duo wondered what Microsoft would think of the world now. It would suck shit to see this pretty city fall down. The Emerald City. Trowa’s green eyes.

Duo took a long drag on his cigarette and tried not to think about color and fucking eyes made him hard.

The door opened behind him and a gruff old voice invited him back in, “Son, we’re about to have prayers before dinner. Come in?”

“Yeah,” Duo said, carefully snuffing out his cigarette and hiding the remaining stub in his rolled up sleeve. “Coming.”

Yeah, so god, fucking forgive me for being a faggot, a murderer, and a faggot, a thief, but mostly a murder. Probably.

Duo stood, feeling the soreness in his left knee. A police baton’ll do that to ya.

His pocket vibrated and he pulled out his phone. It was nice, late model played all the games and God, the music was proof of divinity. The text on its lovely big screen was from Heero though. “Location?”

Duo smirked, wished his cigarette was still lit, wished he could tell Heero how fucking gorgeous his eyes were. Howard said that if he just waited it out, wanting to fuck everything would fade with time. It was just a phase. He thought if he didn’t want to fuck Heero when he thought about it him, that, well, that then life wouldn’t be fucking worth living. He knew full well that Heero was asking for his location, but replied, “Location of what?”

He turned on his find friends though and went in for prayers.

<>

Heero stared at the response. Life had been so much easier before he’d met Duo. It had been so much shorter. There had been a putrefying  rage that he hadn’t even had words for. He’d been sitting with Duo, a drunk Duo with a scratched up face and somehow more poetry on the tip of his tongue than Heero had known existed. That was the night his secret and covert mission of ending himself had shifted from wanting to end to just not wanting to be someone else’s weapon.

Duo wasn’t always easy to deal with though. He was like color and song and explosions and he never ramped down. Even when he was sleeping, sprawled out on whatever bed they’d found, his braid trailing off into space that wasn’t his, he was still vivid for Heero, still drawing his attention, still a siren into unknown lands.

Three days before, Heero had told him to shut up. Duo hadn’t even been talking, not paused to draw breath, just dancing at the edge of a roof, thirty stories up, the wind whipping that braid around, a can of sugar and herbal amphetamine in one hand, headphones on, hips swaying like he was the dawn and the dusk, the cycle of life, so some beat that Heero could not hear, no matter how hard he tried. There had been this spike of resentment, rage, and he’d snapped.

Duo hadn’t said a fucking word. He just disappeared. He wasn’t answering his calls.

His phone was still on though and with a bit of work, Heero tracked him to a homeless shelter in Seattle. That was the easy part. Now he had to find a way to apologize. So he walked in, looking like a homeless boy, scruffy and defensive, and they let him in... Duo was there... somewhere.

Fic: A Wrench to the Heart 26/?

A Wrench to the Heart 26/?
By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing nor Marvel





The colony shook. Duo had never felt an earthquake before and it wasn’t like there were tectonic plates to move, but he thought that had to be what one would feel like.

‘Duo,’ Galen whispered in his mind, ‘The Black Pearl is creating a new docking portal at our location. We are also receiving as much energy as the system can handle.’ Duo nodded, but wanted to touch Heero, hold his hand, and then realized how far he’d gotten from him.

‘Where’s Heero,’ Duo thought to Galen.  

‘He is on the Black Pearl, controlling the docking construction,’ Galen said.

“OH my god! Heero! What have you done?” Duo screamed, expecting Galen to relay his question.


Kurt leaned closer to Jacob.  “He says that a lot.”

Jacob shrugged.

Saphron laced her fingers behind her head, elbows pulling close to her temples. “Wull, we might kinda a been a little bit of trouble the last couple of days.”

“I see,” Kurt said, then smiled down at Roy who had just shown up with a plate of food for him. “Thank you, little brother.”

Roy grinned ear-to-ear.

Angry Duo was sending a ripple of tension through the gathered community. A pretty wide berth grew around Duo. The muttering settled to a hushed whisper.

Galen’s energy like midnight lightening danced over Duo’s braid, over his shoulders, violet eyes glaring. “Heero YUY!”

The docking completed and a portal opened a few feet in front of Duo. A simple door that looked just like the door to Duo’s house. The porch and steps formed, windows, as if the front of the house were partially drawing itself, using machines the size of atoms to rebuild while connecting the ship to the colony.

The cloud around Duo built at the same time, little lightening storms of black lightning and violet clouds. “HEERO!”

The space around Duo was much wider down. There are upsides and downsides to people with great power.

Then the door opened and Heero stepped through. His hair was longer and pulled into a ponytail and he wore the same simple clothes that Duo seemed to prefer, jeans and a tee-shirt.

Duo saw the door open and close, but no Heero. Panic ate him inside then like a sinkhole. His hands shook and it felt like his brain was going to slip down his spine like sand through an hourglass. He couldn’t understand a world where he had brain damage that prevented him from seeing Heero. One hand reached back to grab his hair, fingers pressed to his scalp, lips parted and chill. A sudden burst of anger drove off the panic and his eyes sought out Mercy. He pointed at her and growled, “This is your fault!”

Which he immediately felt like shit for because she looked like she’d given birth to the fucking anti-christ or the minotaur. There are consequences for acting out of selfishness.

But then Heero’s hands cupped his head and that lovely voice, raspy and familiar, home and rightness, “Calm the fuck down, Duo Maxwell.”

The electric storm released, floating away as a soft blue mist. Duo’s hands dropped to his sides. “What have you done?”

“When your mother was murdered, your personality split in two. Half of you went to the past to kill your mother’s murderers. We need his mindfile to repair your mind so you can see me. The time it took to get back gave us time to get a lot of energy to save Camelot and provide stronger defenses. This split between the two of you is dangerous and it needs to be repaired.” Heero reached to take Duo’s hand and pressed the yellowed teeth into his palm. “I need you to go talk to him. He’s afraid you’ll reject him.”

Duo stared at his palm, at the teeth. A shudder went through him and he wasn’t sure his other self, that he didn’t really believe in wasn’t right. “What are these?”

“They are teeth from the bounty hunters that killed Mercy,” Heero said matter-of-factly.

“Great,” Duo said, like ‘Thanks for the bubonic plague, just what I wanted!’ He grabbed Heero’s shirt and felt his way back to Heero’s hand and shoved the teeth back. “Thanks.”

It’s like that, when death actually hits you, he expected. That you’re running your race, doing what you do, and then bam, and if you’re lucky you have a moment of freefall before you before the never-ever-after swallows you. In the battle, in all the battles, he’d never really thought he was going to die, no matter what he said. Telling himself that he was ready to die, willing to die, not afraid to die... that was all just a way to not face the fear of death.

He pushed Heero gently out of the way and walked towards that door. His hand felt connected to Heero’s shoulder where his palm had touched even as he walked up the familiar steps that were going to take him about as far from his own as he could even conceptualize. That warmth on his palm was like a promise that he could turn around at any moment, change his mind, pretend he didn’t know what he knew.

All the jokes and laughter and light, none of it existed when his hand touched the doorknob. “I run and hide, but I never tell a lie,” he whispered. He was not going to lie to himself. He pushed the door and a crack of dusty dark crushed his breath. There were floorboards, no carpet. The light came from an emergency lantern, slightly green and flickery. The door open enough, he saw a slender man crouching, slender pale fingers gently clawing at the water damaged floorboards.

“Hello,” Duo said.

“Hello,” Shinigami snarled.

Lightheaded, memories of blood and hunger, of rage, endless rage, and Duo was awash in a sea of memories that were his, but not his. When he stopped spinning, he stood on a small platform in the middle of a hurricane, facing himself.. Not like Julia who was wearing his body, but not him in any way, but this was him, with dark violet eyes, hair darker than his, slightly longer canines, and a dark smile like he stood on the other side of death and feared life not death.

“I thought I wanted to come back and be the hero... to save everyone, to have you love me, to have her love me, but I can’t,” Shinigami snarled, rage and hate turning his blood dark as ink. “I can’t be Dayton. I’m not Dayton! I am Death.”

And Duo saw himself... his melodrama and his fears. “I love everything you did to keep us alive,” Duo said, smiling softly, feeling his fear turn to shadows, and then not even that as he turned up the lights in his mind. “You are my strength and I love you.”

Shinigami tilted his head, one eye twitching. “I don’t think you understand.”

“But I do,” Duo promised. “I’m going to make things right, Shini. For you, for Dayton, and for me.”

Shinigami tried to back away, but Duo had his arms around him, pulling me close, hugging him gently. “Tell me everything, give me everything,” he urged. “I want it all, everything you’ve thought and done. Give me everything you have, my sweet god of death.”

<><>

Outside, Quatre finally got through the crowd to Heero, who was standing in that great openness that scary Duo had created, watching the door, holding those teeth in one hand, tears silently sliding down his cheeks.  “Is he going to be okay,” Quatre asked.

“I don’t know,” Heero said.

“I was doing a fine job of protecting him,” Quatre accused, “And then you had to find your way back to him.”

Heero arched an eyebrow, looking at Quatre. “He’s not a house plant.”

“I will be angry with you if he is harmed any further,” Quatre said pleasantly, smiling charmingly. “There are worse things than being Alexander.”

Blue eyes narrowed.

“Hello,” Mercy said, hands on her hips, braid laying on her shoulder, violet eyes smoldering. “Which of you cockshits is going to tell me what the hell is going on?”

Quatre’s jaw clenched.  Heero sighed. “It’s complicated, Dr. Reigh. I understand you’ve had a difficult day and technology must be very disorientating.”

The door started to dissipate then, little bits of it breaking off and floating away like fireflies.

Heero pressed both hands to his face, dropped to one knee.

Little fireflies filled the campground, completing the lovely summer night.

Mercy reached out cautiously to touch Heero’s shoulder, to offer comfort.

“There was too much brain damage,” Quatre whispered, seeking some way to understand, to reorder the world. “It started on The Rage.”

“It started before that,” Mercy said softly. “But look what he did with his life.”

Heero groaned, emotion swelling in him.

“Heero,” Quatre said, shoving at his shoulder, “look!”

Just as the last of the fireflies came into being, Duo stepped back into the colony, a small child on his hip. The boy had wild brown hair, violet eyes. Duo’s strode towards them, a shit eating grin on his face.  

Heero bolted to his feet, running forward.

“I love what ya done with yer hair, ‘Ro,” Duo teased, winking. One eye was Duo violet, the other Shinigami purple. “Ya gonna wear it like that to our wedding?”

Heero threw his arms around Duo and the boy, lifting them off the ground, spinning them around.

People pressed in closer, chattering asking questions.  Duo reached for Mercy though, drawing her close and pushing the boy into her arms. He gurgled in two-year-old eloquence.  Mercy dropped to the grass, holding the boy up, looking him over, turning him around, running her hands over him, hugging him close.

Heero hadn’t let go of Duo. Duo reached out and pulled Quatre close, an arm over his shoulder. “Come on! We’re having a barbeque! No more drama today! Food! Who wants a hot dog eating contest?”

And that was good enough for the moment....




<>

OUTTAKES... Shinigami/Dayton’s thoughts prior to seeing Duo


Judgement day isn’t real.

Not like some god will decide, will pound out a decree.

Camelot.L2 lay dark in space, shielded against detection. The



Camelot is a small colony. It’s not the smallest, but it lays in the darkness like an undiscovered dream. Most colonies have a heat signature that glows a warm summer peach against nice green leaves, just begging folk to come have a bit. They also have standing armies and or agreements for protection from the Earthsphere.

It really should be the heliosphere, not the Earthsphere, but, I guess, Earthsphere with a capital E is about the sphere of human influence not like the range of any given object’s gravity. Camelot lies in the heliosphere, outside of Earth’s reach, but still held by the beautiful yellow sun. When we designed her, we build in safe levels of stealth, practical levels of heat retention, energy recycling.

If we hadn’t gone fucking crazy printing super expensive bodies, we’d have been fine for a millenia. Sometimes I have a drug problem, sometimes I have a spending problem, and I’m gonna go with that’s proof of humanity.

My thoughts are so mundane. I wanted this fantastic entrance back into Camelot.L2. I wanted to be the glorious hero, but....

So it’s like this...  Duo was always part of me too. We were born in the same moment. When we broke... he got some shit and I got some shit and just like a damaged brain can like learn to repurpose area and use it for something else... we’re both almost whole. Duo’s the creative one. He’s the one with the grand gestures and rapid fire ideas that all come together like fucking fireworks. I do other things.

So like I can almost do what he does. I can imagine little androids to fetch my mother... to have her dressed like fucking Maid Marion and I’ll come swashbuckling in in black, with a pirate hat and a great long black feather... I imagine kneeling and offering her these old yellowed teeth. God. That day was so long ago now.  I can’t really plan that party... There are just dots missing between the endpoints.




I don’t love children.

Not the way he does.

I don’t really love, not the way he does. I think Heero understands that and doesn’t expect it of me.  Duo loves him plenty.

I need Heero, but that’s a different thing.



Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fic: Thank You for Calling 1/?

Thank You for Calling
By Max

#stucky #Captain America #Supernatural


Disclaimer: I do not own characters from the Marvel Universe or from Supernatural

“Thank you for calling Acme Supernatural Supplies and Supplements. My name is Steve. How may I help you?” Steve Rogers sat on a chair that wouldn’t pass OSHA standards, but thanks to a little duct tape, was doing fine enough for the day.  He had one wedge of a six sided desk, which he shared with five other people, all tethered to the same pod of demi-cubicles. There were thirty other little pods, and then some larger desks for the supervisors. He wore a faded yellow polo shirt and khakis, running shoes, and a well used headset that also had a little duct tape. “Hello? Can you hear me?”


The voice in his headset  spoke in clipped, high pitched, “Yes. I can. Hear. you.  You sent me three boxes of wolfsbane, and no astragalus. This is the second time my order has been done incorrectly.”


“I’m very sorry,” Steve said genuinely. “May I please have your phone number or your last name so that I can pull up your account?”


“OH. My. God. Are you an idiot? Everyone else I call just has my account come up for them!”


“I want to get your account pulled up right away, Ma’am. May I please have your phone number?”


“You sound like Captain America. Do you think you’re Captain America because your name is Steve? What’s your last name?”


“Were not allowed to share our last names, Ma’am. I’d like to help you with your account. May I please have your phone number?”


“I bet your name isn’t even Steve. What is it really? I bet its Mohammed or Quan or something. Where are you located? You speak English too good to be an American.”


Steve’s right eye twitched. “My name is Steve. It’s a very common name. It’s un-American to judge people by their names, Ma’am. May I please have your phone number so that I can look up your account and help you with your order?”


“Did you just call me un-American, you stupid idiot? I want to talk to your supervisor!”


“Of course, Ma’am,” Steve said, relieved until he saw Bucky leaning against his short non-privacy providing more cubby than cubical wall.  The man triggered more instinct in him than thought sometimes and that was also a bit un-American. He wore a thin black tee-shirt, jeans that rode his hips just a little low, his dark hair bleached blond at the tips, and god save the president, he was smiling, “May I place you on a brief hold, Ma’am?”


“You idiot. You’re an idiot. You can’t get me to your supervisor unless you put me on hold. Put me on hold!”


“Yes, Ma’am. It’ll be just a moment,” Steve said pleasantly, but the moment he pushed the hold button his relief tipped like the tilt-a-whirl into something else entirely. “Bucky. I thought break wasn’t until 11:30.”


Bucky winked. Steve smiled nervously. Those dark eyes were like kittens and moonlight and what Steve imagined whiskey must be like... exciting and wicked and bad for one’s control. Bucky set a cup of coffee down on Steve’s desk. “I thought you needed some coffee.”


And see? Innocent. Just friends. That’s all. Steve’s cheeks colored slightly. “Thanks. I have an escalation I have to take care of.”  Steve took the coffee though, sipped it through the thin plastic lid. It was perfect coffee, just the way he liked it and that only gave him more un-American thoughts about his very best friend.


Bucky winked again. A tingle danced over Steve’s neck, swirling up some kind of mutant fire in his belly. “See you at lunch.”


“Yes, of course,” Steve said, glad they were there, that they were safe. Then the supervisor line picked up, “Hi! Yes, Toshi, I have an escalation for you. No, no I didn’t get her name. I’m sorry. Of course, It will be just a moment.”


Steve sighed as the call transferred. He cleared his throat, “Thank you for calling Acme Supernatural Supplies and Supplements. My name is Steve. How may I help you?”


<><>


Sam sighed, a bit of chocolate hair in his face, eyebrow arched. “What do you mean they didn’t hire you? They’ll hire anyone.”


Dean shrugged, looking his brother right in the face like he had no idea how that happened. “I think I failed the typing test.”


“Twenty people have gone missing in the last year and they all worked for this company. Are you saying you can’t type?”


Defensive, Dean’s shoulders rose, one eye squinted. “Well, you know, I’ve never actually typed a monster to death! It’s a little outside my skillset.”


“Fine,” Sam grumbled. “I start tomorrow, but think I’ve got a lead. Did you see the really pretty one, good posture, honey brown hair, blue eyes?”


“Do you want to fuck him or stake his vampire ass?” Dean snarked back. “There’s another one. Walks like he’s in heat with a metal arm. It’s just not fucking natural.”


“I didn’t see him, but there is something not right here.”


“Yeah. Food. Let’s get food.”


“I saw a diner.”


“Pie.”


“Yeah.”

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Fic: A Wrench to the Heart 25/?

A Wrench to the Heart 25/?

By Max

Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing.

Note: Continuity... Mercy’s last name is Reigh.


I'd like to think I'm powerful. You know, kick the doors down, save everyone I love and happy ever after.

I make mistakes.

So, fuck ton long ago, like right after the wars when Preventers was hot to have what help they could get, they had me seeing this therapist... She was like.., the truth will set you free. If I could just find all the trauma and face it, release it, then I'd find...okay...whatever the hell okay is.

That was some bad bullshit. But now... I just killed the shit out of my first trauma and ripped out teeth before the dude was dead and ... Nothing. I fucking wasted almost three hundred years when what I should have been doing was thinking about Heero and loving the kids, building cars, doing good things.... All this focus on the past was digging my own fucking grave.

Being okay is laying here with Heero Yuy’s arms around me, even if I don't really know if he’s real or not. “Still real?”

“Ee,” Heero agreed. “How are you feeling?”

“Ashamed,” Shini said, “Stupid, hung over, did I mention stupid? My leg feels ..odd.”

“It's in a cast,” Heero explained. “Broken femur. You've been out for a week, mostly.  We're safe. Don't worry. Everything is going to be okay.”

Shini cuddled back against Heero. “How the hell do we get home?”

“One day at a time,” Heero said. “We can’t die and respawn because your mind file is unique. Also there isn’t enough energy to respawn anyway. We need to show up with massive reserves. We have a lot of work to do.”

“Two hundred and fifty years? Fuck, ‘Ro... We’re both like two. I’m out there starving and there isn’t shit I can do about it.”

Heero kissed his ear, nuzzled him. “You don’t starve. We are not going to disturb time more than we already have, however,” Heero said, hinting at some surprise that would make things better.

Shini tried to roll over, found his leg heavy and awkward, so Heero moved over to the other side. He ran fingers through clean and dry bangs. “How would you like to be richer than Quatre? Make a Camelot University so anyone can come and study the world you built and learn and take it home to their worlds?”

Dark violet eyes narrowed. One opened wider, an eyebrow rising. “Richer than Quatre, you say? Rich enough that I could pay him back for building Camelot?”

“I’m not sure that he’d like that, but that is something we could see about. We need to get a ship, get far enough away from all the colonies that we can do some mining and energy production.”

“I... I want to build a great ship.. Something magnificent to show back up with. Something legendary. And,” Shini said, voice lowering as he rubbed his face against Heero’s chest, “I don’t want to kill anymore. I’ve just lost the taste for it.”

“I know that feeling. I think you’ve always leaned that way. That’s why you went to medical school. You’re a very good doctor, when you want to be.”

“I’m not. Duo’s a good doctor. Medical school just made me a better killer.” Shinigami took a long slow breath, eyes searching Heero’s. “Do you think Duo can forgive me? What if he hates me? What if he wants me to die?” He closed his eyes then, not wanting to see whatever expression Heero might have.

“Look at me,” Heero gently commanded.

“Mah eyes burn.”

“Because you’re crying. Open your eyes,” Heero urged him, “Shini.”

He sniffed, then wiped at tears. “I’m selfish and he doesn't... he’s going to be disgusted by me and don’t tell me that you know me better than me... I know what’s in Duo’s head better than you do.”

“That’s true,” Heero agreed. “So Duo really doesn’t know about you? He doesn’t suspect? How does he account for the lost time?”

“Uh, well, in the war, he just thought he was insane, which I guess, we kinda are. After the war, I wasn’t very active when he was a Preventer doctor. When he’s happy, I just kind of ... sleep, but after The Rage, we started taking Novo and we both lost time.  He’s been so sick the last few decades - I think he just thinks it’s the hole in his head.”

“I can see how he’d see it that way,” Heero agreed. “I know that I have always talked to you as if you’re a different person than Duo. It seemed like you wanted it that way. I know I don’t know you as well as you know Duo. I haven’t lived inside your head, but I have known you both for a very long time. I have known you both when you’re manic and sick, depressed, murderous, horny as hell, with the flu, gunshot wounds, when you haven’t slept for 48 hours. I knew you as a skinny 15 year old who knew you were going to die. I knew you as a great pilot. I knew you as a shy man who couldn’t tell me you were gay for half a decade, even though we’d already had sex in the war. I know you, both of you, and you are the same person. You’re not going to be fully functional without him and he isn’t going to be without you. If it works for you not to tell him your history, then just rejoin and don’t tell him. When the time is right, you will talk to each other. But no matter how that goes, we have time and we need to get energy to save the colony and we need to figure out what happened on The Rage.”

“God, Heero. That was a lot of words,” Shini teased. “Maybe you are becoming like me.”

Heero touched a fingertip to Shini’s nose. “I learned from the best. It’s going to be six weeks before we can do much more than plan though. So I got us some video games.”

“Really?”

“Really. I have nothing whatsoever against digital blood.”

<><>

Earlier on the day Heero went back in time...


Duo Maxwell stared at his mother, feet hanging over the edge of the bed, violet eyes on fire. “What. Did. You. Do?”

“Don’t speak to me that way,” she hissed back, her own violet eyes narrow and sharp. “I am your mother.”

“I just fucking met you. I don’t know you,” Duo snarled back. “As your fucking patient, I want to know what you did? God... I can feel it. You played in my head.”

“As your doctor, I repaired a wound you had in brain. I’m sorry the computer system was down, but I was afraid that with its location your body functions might begin to fail.”

“You had no right,” Duo said, shoulders slumping. “You don’t know what you’ve done!” Duo covered his face. “You can’t just mess with another person’s data. You have to have permission and be impartial! That’s why Galen or another AI does it. Galen, show me a scan of my brain.”

Galen held up his palm and a small 3D simulation of Duo’s neural patterning appeared. It didn’t look like a physical brain, but more like a rainbow dandelion puff layered on other puffs of rainbow dandelion. Duo touched it and slowly turned it. “You completely obliterated it.”

“You mean the brain tumor that was killing you? Yes, I did. You’re welcome,” she snapped angrily.

“My god! You are a cocky sonofabitch!”

Teeth on edge, she leaned forward. Her nose wrinkled, violet eyes dancing with anger. “Well, you’d know, wouldn’t you? You have children, Dayton Reigh! You’re about to get married. Do you think you homosexual boyfriend is going to take care of all these children if you fall over dead?”

Duo straightened up, his hair standing on end. “What the hell does that mean? Homosexual? And my name is DUO MAXWELL. Don’t make me tell ya again! Galen! Where’s Heero?”

“He is standing next to you, one meter to the left.” Galen frowned. “Don’t you hear him?”

Terror clawed over denial, sending ache slowly up the back of Duo’s head, a black hole into his belly. The hair stood up on his head as he turned to look at where Galen said Heero was. “Heero?”

“He says that without you adding more energy into the system, we would have started having life support malfunctions. Whatever else Dr. Reigh may have done, she saved lives by waking you.”

“Heero’s always been way more practical than I am,” Duo said. “I can’t see him or hear him. My data is more corrupt than ever.”

Heero’s hand brushed over his face, brushing his bangs back and then Heero’s lips touched his. When he closed his eyes, it was normal, a sweet safe kiss and all that was right with the world.

Duo kept his eyes closed as he walked out of the tent Mercy was using for a hospital. He kept his hold on Heero’s hand. Camelot’s internal sun felt warm on his face and the shadows from the pines around his camp ground gave contrast. The hole in his soul spread to the edge of his being, made the warmth of the sun cold and what warmth in him that remained slipped down his face. Sound bubbled up, instinctive and beyond control, sobbing like a wounded creature, he felt Heero’s arms wrap around him. The embrace felt so distant and removed, but constant. Other touches joined. Slowly he identified the hands on him, Julia, Jacob, Saphron, Roy, Charlotte....

The raging empty filled in, a little like dawn creeping up over the edge of darkness and he reached out to them, touching, hugging, crying, wiping tears away and he didn’t know what people were saying in that moment, but someone said something and whatever it was, it was funny as hell. Heero’s arm lay on his shoulder and he knew he was there. It was a little like all the years when he’d thought Heero was alive and everyone else thought he was dead, except now everyone else could see him.

Once they got to the camp fire, he realized how many other people where there. Most of the town had come up to the campsite, calm, but expectant.

Duo ran a hand through his hair, bunching up his bangs, and that hole in his soul was so gone, filled to overflowing with responsibility and caring for his people. A disembodied Galen started whispering energy and colony status stats in his ear and he gave himself over to planning for the colony’s survival. Under normal circumstances, he would have just had Galen build him a platform to speak from, but he couldn’t waste the energy. “Heero, can I stand on your shoulders for a moment or two?”

“Ee,” Heero agreed, boosting Duo up to his shoulders.

“Hey! Everyone!” He yelled and it took a moment to start getting everyone’s attention. “Galen, broadcast me, whole colony.”

“Interlevels as well?” Galen whispered in his ear.

‘We’re gonna have ta talk about that. That’s real? Shit. Shit,’ Duo thought, knowing Galen would hear him. ‘Yeah, them too.’

“People of Camelot! The colony is stable. Life support is restored to minimal comfort in all regions. We were attacked and suffered massive energy depletion. We are safe. We suffered no loss of life.  Please keep energy usage to a bare minimum. Oh yeah, and I’m gettin married. If anyone suffered any injuries in the attack or the brief low energy period, we have a medical tent set up. Dr. Mercy Reigh will be happy to assist. You’all got any questions?”

Megs raised her hand.

Duo pointed to her.

“Are we expecting aide to arrive? Also, if the Earthsphere isn’t going to give aide, are you afraid they’ll make this an opportunity to force us to register?” She clenched her jaw, pupils narrow little slits.

“I don’t know if we’re going to get aide, but we’ll be okay. We’ll figure something out. Earth ain’t showing up here to force us to do shit. We got three gundam pilots on this colony. They remember what that oppression shit got them last time.”

Angela raised her hand, tentative.

Duo pointed at her.

“Perhaps L4 can render aide? As the energy levels are stable, we should get the kids back in school,” Angela said. “Keeping life normal will help us recover.”

“Agreed. The school building is safe. Tomorrow, school resumes.”

“Me me!” Julia said, jumping up and down in her body that looked just like Duo’s. “I get to go to school now! Saphron said!”

“Saphron doesn't make those choices,” Duo said, “Go speak nicely to Ms. Andie. She’ll decide if you can go to school.”

“Okay!” Julia said.

Duo was duly disturbed by his own face smiling back at him, framed in pink pigtails. It made the hair on the back of his neck do a funny little dance. He mentally shot Andie an email letting her know that Juju was about six mentally and unlikely to get much older, but that due to current physical circumstances homeschooling might not longer be a good option.  And on that though, he felt reckless and hungry. “Okay! Let’s have a barbeque! I declare it to be summer! We’re going to have a fantastic summer! Hot dogs and burgers for everyone!”

Heero responded to his movements and let him down. Oddly serious, Heero pulled him close, holding him tight. “I love you so much, Duo Maxwell. Nothing will ever change that. I love every part, every facet of you.”

Duo wanted to pull back, remembered he couldn’t see Heero, so he closed his eyes and ran a hand over Heero’s face, ‘seeing’ him in his mind. “I love you too. I’ll get this mental shit figured out. There isn’t anything we can’t do. We just have to keep trying.”

“I know,” Heero agreed.

Mr. Anderson tapped Duo’s shoulder and he turned to get a salute from a young and sharp looking Mr. Anderson. “I’m sorry I got to your house too late to be of much help, Sir.”

Duo let go of Heero, gave a salute back, then grasped his friend’s shoulder. “You were there on time! There’s so much to take care of now. We’ll work together.”

The current of people wanting to talk carried Duo away, into heartbeat of his people. Galen’s food processing was already laying out food, filling the camp ground with the scent of summer, rising the temperature just a little, setting the sky to a darker summer blue.

“Duo,” Galen whispered in his ear, “We are being hailed by two ships, the larger is the Corvi de Circo, owner Trowa Barton. The other is the Black Pearl, owner Dayton Reigh. Both are requesting to render assistance.”

“Hot damn!” Duo yelled, jumping as he clapped. “Assistance is here, Folk! And the circus!”