by PinkWhirlWind (Max :) )
Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing and am never likely to.
Notes: Mention of tragic child death, set years after the war, Heero and Duo are a couple,
For a moment, there were they were both there, just standing there in Hansel’s laboratory. Duo’s eyes narrowed slowly. Violet took on a particular shade of violet that said their was going to be hell to pay. For those that knew it, it was a lot like the shake of a rattler’s tail. Hansel swallowed.
The golden light of his experiment flickered and clashed, growing as Hansel pushed the energy feed a little further open.
It was all about the maths, really. Neither one of them was exactly risk adverse and neither one of them was going to back down. Duo was technically the supervisor in charge, but only by default because Heero would have been running this division of Yuy Astronautics. Duo had come in under Heero’s umbrella later and was really more interested in bio-tech, but Heero had had to go to a summit and Duo really hadn’t wanted to go. There was only so much bullshit Duo could put up with, even for Heero, so they’d agreed that he’d stay and manage all three of divisions of Heero’s company. It really shouldn’t have been any kind of issue. Heero was only going to be gone two weeks. All major testing was put on haitus. Vacation for all. Shoulda been a good thing.
All Duo should have been doing was sitting in his own lab, working with his puppy dogs.
Hansel had sent the request through as a minor testing request. Duo had looked over the request and decided that 17 exajoules of current running for two hours was not what he would consider minor and denied the request. Then he sent a request to know just where a theoretical physicist thought he was getting 17 exajoules of juice.
The response had been taken as a sign of interest and the core design of the Tangled Wood project had been sent over. Duo looked through it, wondered how old the author was, made some corrections to the math and sent it back.
A request for Duo’s credentials had followed.
Reasonable enough, but Duo’s credentials looked more like bubble gum wrappers if you didn’t know him and what he could do personally. So Duo grabbed a couple of sandwiches and popped over. He explained that the math he’d corrected had been learned while evading missiles and a bit while he’d been sling shotting around the sun after the war. He knew bloody well that you couldn’t run that kind of current through the existing infrastructure in the lab and not wind up with something burned off or being turned into kibble.
Hansel explained, patiently, that he had four degrees out of MIT - on Earth and if he said the lines would hold, they would. He hadn’t been working with second hand junk re-purposed with faulty tools.
The sandwiches neither cared nor did they get eaten.
Duo said he didn’t care how many degrees Hansel had or where he’d gotten them from. The math was the math.
“Did you even run a sim with my math?”
“I’m not adding your name to my project. What with you coming in at the last moment and adding your girly pansy math into my equations,” Hansel snapped. Being a little shorter than Duo and rail thin, he was hardly a paragon of alpha male beauty, but he made up for physical atributes with a sharp nattering of scathing self-righteousnes. “You are only in charge because you are Dr. Yuy’s muffin?” The last word was said with insinuation that suggested the physisist meant something entirely different from cake.
There has to be a moment when the tail stops rattling and long hard retribution sinks in.
“If you run the lines with your equations, you’ll blast the facility and a couple city blocks in all directions straight to hell. Touch that dial, and I’ll break your fucking hand.” Duo said it with a smile that was entirely different than friendly.
“I’d like to see you try,” Hansel hissed, reaching for the power control that would start his experiment.
Duo hadn’t regretted not carrying a gun since well before the war ended. Thinking about weapons made him miss Deathscythe though. He had a vivid flash of what it would feel like to squash Sir MIT under his great big gundanium foot. “I am happy being Heero’s ‘muffin’ most of the time, but I’m a murderous little fuck in my own right and I WILL hurt you before I let you blow up a city block.”
“No listen,” Handsel said soothingly. “I had a daughter once. She was the entire world to me.”
Duo’s lips tightened, but neither of them moved any closer to the control. “Fucking with time ain’t gonna get her back, Handsel. We all lost people.”
“Yes,” Handsel agreed soothingly. “Grief can bring out the darkest nature of a man.”
“I get that,” Duo said, inching ever so slightly towards the bigger man. “I ain’t sayin you can’t do this experiment and if you’an save your daughter, you’re gonna get the fucking Nobel Prize for something, but we don’t gotta do it today.”
“Now, there you are definitely wrong, Dr. Maxwell. There is a limit to how far forward or back we can go. As it is, it will take the very upper limits of power and every minute we delay the risks grow higher, so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not real keen on letting Ashley stay dead.”
In his defense, Duo had spent the last ten years working with dogs and data, finding ways to expand the neocortex. Handsel’s hand on the power control hadn’t moved at all. It was his other hand. The bullet hit Duo’s shoulder, spinning him, splattering blood in a fine red arc.
The power boiled on, zapping and zipping into a raging portal... a quiet city park on the other side.
“You dumb ass mother fucker! Shut it off,” Duo screamed, holding his shoulder. “Saving one life isn’t worth all the lives in this city block! You’re makin orphans, asshole!”
“Shut up,” Handsel motioned with the gun as he pulled the control knob, and a shaft long enough to be a key of some kind free of the terminal. “You don’t know anything about real guilt! My daughter was taken from the streets! Raped and murdered! For all the people that didn’t help her! YOU! You’re going through and you’re going to find her and save her!”
Duo rolled his eyes. His shoulder had already gone past the ‘Oh god what just happened’ phase and into the throbing death phase of being shot. He lowered his head and rammed him. Miraculously he didn’t get another bullet hold for his collection and took the older man back a few feet before landing a solid punch to his gut, followed by a knee to the groin, hard enough to break eggs. “Fucking asshole! Give me that control!”
“Never!” With the last of his strength the grieving father threw the control key through the portal “Her name is Ashley Rivers Gieble. Save her.”
Pushing up from the ground, where they’d both falling, Duo snarled. “I’m going to turn you into kibble, but you’re not good enough to feed to my dogs!”
“Go through. Find her. Save her, please. You could do that.” The battered man begged.
Holding his arm to his chest, blood dark over his lab coat and tee-shirt, Duo stared at the control... just... inches inside the portal. “If you wanted help, you should have asked before you shot me, fucker,” Duo hissed. He’d read the math. He had maybe another five minutes before kabang and not like the good guy winning in a comic book. Duo grabbed the gun, angrily stamped on Handsel’s hand, though not hard enough to do more than bruise. “All life is important... not just one.”
“You’d save Heero, if you could.”
“Not if the price was something Heero couldn’t live with,” Duo hissed, feeling light headed. He swayed slightly as he walked around the console and closer to the portal. He could smell the sunny day on the other side. All he had to do was reach his hand through, grab hold of it, and save the world again. How fucking hard could it be? Heero did it fairly frequently. Duo ground his teeth, hissed in pain as he dropped to his knees. “Handsel, man, you’re fired, just so you know. Asshole.”
Duo’s clock gave him four and a half minutes. Heero had beautiful eyes. Probably not real Asian though. Blue. Blue was such a beautiful color and Heero could kiss like the ground gently coming up under you as you land, firm, but just the right firm.
The phone in his pocket rang. Heero was fucking spooky sometimes. Really. “Okay, baby. You left me in charge of this scrap heap and I’m doing my best.” Duo clenched his jaw, reached through and grabbed the key. Electric danced over his skin like acupuncture rain, heavy and fast tingling towards the kind of agony that there wasn’t enough air to make enough scream. With all his will, he pulled key back towards him and just like a wish bone breaking, he traded places with it.
Handsel stood, bent over and panting, bleeding from his nose and lips. It was all he could do to reach to get the key. He had sent his daughter the best help he could. Duo Maxwell, even wounded, would find her. Save her.
He made it back to the console well into the dangerous part of the window and shut the system down. Only then did it sing in that he’d successfully opened a time portal. He was going to get the Nobel Prize.
Heero stared at his phone, lips tight. “Duo is not answering the phone.”
Trowa arched an eyebrow. “You keep him on too tight of a leash, Heero. He hasn’t been suicidal in years.”
“He was never really suicidal. I call him because he asked me to. Something’s happened. I need to go home.”
Trowa took a deep breath, assessing how serious Heero was. “I’ll get clearance for the shuttle and see if Quatre wants to come.”
“I don’t want to take the shuttle I came in on. Get us a faster one.”
“You’re probably over reacting.”