Santa Clarita 5
Disclaimer: I so don’t own Gundam Wing. I so wish.
Notes: This chapter is probably going to be delayed, even though it’s burning bright at the moment. I saw this episode of Dr. Who last night.. and its simply begging to be GW fan fic. Maybe today is a good day to draw comic. Heero and Duo vs the Daleks... My art better be better than the G boys vs Angry Birds. @.@
Sleep had been the very best thing. Staring in the mirror, shaving cream still thick on half his face, Heero ran a thumb down his bare cheek, imagining Duo was touching him instead. Duo owned so much territory in Heero’s brain that his touch was easy to simulate, his presence right behind him was easy to see, hard to dispute. In the wars, they hadn’t always liked each other, or been nice to each other, but even the cruelty thay’d shown each other had only been a mirror of their own inner worlds. As peace and healing settled around the world, they’d grown towards each other like two wild vines wrapping around the world, to the point that their roots and beings were inseparable.
Enough memory stacks in Heero’s mind were devoted to Duo’s behavior that Heero felt comfortable with the idea that he knew his lover as well as he knew himself, possibly better. Observing Duo and obtaining reasonably accurate information about motivation was much easier than divining his own motivations. If Duo had become non-recoverable, a significant portion of Heero’s mind was now devoted to constant painful reminders. Though the Duo in his head chided him, complaining that he could never be a painful memory to Heero and to get the hell over himself.
While he could hear Duo’s complaints in his head as clearly as if Duo were standing next to him bitching as if he had just failed some test or had a paper rejected. The world was always coming to an end in some way. Duo called it processing. Heero missed it.
He had his own ways to process. Standing outside of Hansel’s cell, he straightened his suit, cut and made to exact specifications for the period he believed Duo to be in. His hair was neatly trimmed, much more so than he usually bothered with. Lips tight, he pulled a pair of medical gloves from his pocket, then a small metal box from his pocket. The corner of his mouth lifted into a tight angry smile, then he keyed the door open.
Hansel sat on the bed, knees pulled to his chest, hands over his ears. Eyes snapped open as Heero entered and the door swished shut behind him.
“You’d do the same as I did,” Hansel accused hysterically.
Heero let his hips sway in time to Hell’s Bells for a moment before holding up his little metal box. He shook his head. “I wouldn’t have lied to my employer. I won’t have gone to work for someone that I couldn’t trust with my real motives. If I’d known, I won’t have hired you, but Duo would have known about you if I knew about you. He looked over all applications too. He would have hired you and he would have helped you, if you’d been honest. Instead, you shot him and kicked him into a situation so desperate, he’d self destruct as his best way to ask for help.”
“You’re such a self-righteous bastard!”
“Yet there is still surprise in your tone. Hold out your arm.” Heero pulled one of the small black patches from the little box.
“Depends on the definition, but possibly. Hold out your arm, or I’ll break a couple of bones and do what I’m going to do to you anyway.”
“You can’t treat me like this!”
“Arm,” Heero said, unemotional, motionioning.
They glared at each other for a moment, then Hansel held out his arm and Heero pressed the patch on, smoothing it with his gloved fingers. “There now. You’re a Christian, right?”
“Yes,” Hansel hissed, drawing his arm in, hiding it so he could peel the patch off. “I don’t fear death.”
“I don’t either,” Heero shared, “But I have no intention of letting you have death, unless I recover Duo, safely. He’s a Christian too. That patch has a poison and an antidote. The antidote will trigger when he makes the sign cross on your forehead, you’ll be forgiven and I’ll surrender you to Ms. Peacecraft so she can have you tried in a civilian court. If Duo and I fail to return safely, that poison is going to make sure you never die and that your mind stays forever locked in the worst version of Hell that I could imagine. Just like the Christian Hell there is no reprieve by insanity or death, only endless immeasurable suffering and penance. As your faith did not comfort you over the loss of your daughter, I suggest you find more faith and pray for Duo’s safe return.”
“I’d pray for his return, but it would distract me from actually doing something for him. You have forty-five minutes of sanity left, if we don’t return.”
“That’s more than you’ll ever have.”
As the door closed, Heero had already moved on, dismissed his employee from his mind. He knew Duo’s body, all the augmentation that had been done, all the quasi-legal mods to his augmentation, and the only way self-destruct could have come out to being a good idea involved a very lot of malfunction. Whenever something went wrong, it usually came out that they were both half right. Unfortunately, Duo had managed to get shot again, but something in the mods to his nanobots had caused a very bad outcome. Whatever was going on with that, was still going on, no matter where he interrupted history.
At first he’d thought making a jump back in time to before Duo had gone through the portal would be a good idea, but the video of the event was obscured. The only explanation he could come up with for that was that he had tried exactly that, it had gone bad and created paradox, and then had come back to stop himself from that. Without Duo to help him, his motives were even more difficult to understand than they normally were.
He was doing everything out of order. His jump was supposed to happen in twelve hours, with Wufei, Trowa, Quatre, Relena, and Commander Une present. Wufei was bringing a feared poison from his people. Quatre had made a face and said they were going to inflict the ‘humdai’, but Heero had not had time to try to understand that reference and if he was honest with himself he didn’t have the emotional resources to make a big production of the jump. Over the years Duo had helped him understand why other people’s emotions had caused him distress, but they’d caused him distress a long time before he understood why. In some other world, some other life, he would have been a doctor, healing and chiding people about eating right, sleeping enough.
This wasn’t that life though.
Unlike Duo, he sometimes lied.
So it was the middle of the night. His data feed told him that Relena was dreaming something probably unpleasant and that Trowa and Quatre weren’t dreaming at all, which made him a little jealous. Wufei and his silk rat pack weren’t due to arrive for what was likely to be a lifetime for Heero. The halls were empty and it felt like old times, sneaking around an extremely secure research compound.
What wasn’t familiar was the pair of red glowing eyes sitting in front of Duo’s lab.
Those brought Heero up short, tightened his throat, and for a couple of seconds he thought that Duo had died and somehow the hounds of hell had come to claim his lover.
Awkward dog laughter broke that spell.
Heero’s jaw tightened, teeth grinding for a moment. “How did you do that?’
“Augmented sclera lens. Don’t tell Duo. I want to get him with them too.” Shelly said, smiling in the most disconcerting way. Shelly had been one of the two dogs not present when Heero had been working on repairing the equipment. Boxer considered him too poetic to be useful, but the the little black terrier was really more of a doctor than a poet. He’d taken Duo’s loss deeper than the others. “You are going, now, right, going after Duo?”
“Yes,” Heero said, stepping around the little black dog.
“Good.” Tail wagging he followed Heero into the dimly lit laboratory. “I am augmented with nanobots and treated for aging. I am coming with you.”
“Did Duo do that, augment you?” Heero asked, scowling.
The little terrier bowed down, one paw over his muzzle, but his speech sphere said, “No. But it wasn’t hard. The information on how to do it is freely available in the center’s interweb and we all looked over the work that Duo did to himself. Voltaire thinks that he substantially mis-set several values in some of his early work, but I don’t think the values are that off. I’m the one that modded them for us. I can mod Duo’s.”
Heero locked the lab behind them then sank down the wall, arms slumped over his knees. The damn dogs were probably smarter than he was. Duo was probably smarter than he was. The idea that he might actually fail in this mission because there were parameters he hadn’t even considered so that he could attempt to understand them made his being turn to thin water. “Has your group projected odds of success of this mission?”
“There are too many variables to account for to make a dependable prediction,” Shelly said solemnly.
“Worst case scenario?”
“Disruption of time-space continuum and the utter annihilation of known universe, potentially triggering the destruction of neighboring universes and the end of physical reality in all known currently perceivable forms.”
“What are the odds of that being the outcome?”
“Impossible to predict.”
“Does Duo want us to run that risk?”
“My own emotions cloud my ability to answer. I want to go get Duo.”
“Don’t you care about all the rest of life?”
“Not really. I’m a dog. I want my best friend and alpha back. Do you care about others more than you care about Duo?”
“No, but I care that Duo might.”
The little dog put both paws over his muzzle. There was silence for a bit, then the little terrier hopped up onto his feet, bouncing up in the air for a few bounces before growling and pacing around excitedly. “So … so... time is a long instance, a great tree of choices, and all that was and all that is already exist. We are not the only intelligences to contemplate this action. Some of them will chose to take this action. Time and space still exist. Therefore the destruction of time and space, while a possible outcome from our proposed actions, it must not be an outcome that actually happens. Even if there are no intelligences in our universe who have attempted this, there must be in all the uncounted other universeses. Can we go now?”
“Do you miss being... just a dog?”
One ear stood up for a moment, then flopped back down. “I’m still just a dog. You’re augmented. Do you regret it?”
“I’m not augmented as much as you.” Heero stood up, straightened his backpack, a big heavy hiking backpack full of hundreds of things he thought he and Duo might want and need on their trip. “I didn’t pack anything for you.”
“You did pack money, didn’t you?”
“Well, of course,” Heero said, slightly offended.
“I like steak. I’m sure they had cows 30 years ago.”
“Duo didn’t try to get you to be a vegetarian?” Heero asked, as he started powering up the system.
“Attempting does not ensure success.” Shelly said, little black nose in the air.
Violet appeared in the upper left of Heero’s vision area. “Trowa Barton-Winner is waking.”
“Acknowledged,” Heero said, hands moving faster through the sequences of switches and checks.
Energy arched from the modified gundam engine, filling the room with an acidic ionized flavor.
“Violet, is mission Ultimate Escape completely prepared?”
“If it is executed, take all of Duo’s dogs with you.”
“That modification was already included.”
Heero smiled very slightly, just the edge of his mouth, a small lift ot his eyes. “So me the final form you decided on.”
A holograph appeared a couple of feet before the console, showing a young woman with shoulder length brown hair, violet eyes, Heero’s nose, unmistakably female, but a mix of both Heero and Duo, a blend of their genetics. She smiled and it was Duo’s smile.
“You chose female. Why?”
“It felt true,” the holographic Violet said. “I have the complete data files for you and Duo. I will receate both of you, with reasonable modifications, if it becomes obvious that you are not returning, Father.”
“Good,” he said and that meant that he was proud of her, loved her, had faith in her, respected her, and wished her all the good in the universe.
“Trowa Barton is calling you.”
“I’ll have to answer it when I get back,” he said, stabilizing one final setting. “Time’s up.”
“I’m afraid,” Violet said.
Shelly made a growling gawfing sound that might have been as close to a dog mouth version of Heero’s ‘hn’. “How can you be afraid. You don’t have a heart or a system to dispense and recognize hormones. You can’t even die, can you, because you’re not really alive.”
Heero snickered as he moved around the console to the now open portal. “Coming from you, that’s a little like calling ice calling snow cold.”
“Speciesist,” Shelly’s voice sphere complained. “You and I are both mammals. She’s so much digital noise.”
“I could have a mammalian body if I wanted one,” Violet pointed out indignantly. “Your natural neocortex won’t have been able to parse my thoughts when I was still in my initial learning phases. Your thoughts still cycle magnitudes slower than mine.”
“Both of you. Shut up,” Heero snapped. “As you’re both so fucking smart, make sure that all of us are here to take care of this discussion over dinner tonight. Violet, fear is good. It can keep you alive. Shelly, for Duo’s shake, focus on the mission.”
“Yes, of course. I’m sorry,” he said. “Violet, please forgive me, but I must rescue my alpha. When I return, we will continue our discussion. I’m sorry I haven’t had the chance to talk with you before this.”
Her human body shimmered and there she was as a little caramel colored scottish terrier, her violet speech bubble vibrating as it spoke. “I look forward to your return, brave knight.”
“Oh my fucking hell,” Heero growled. “You’re like cousins.”
“Not biological cousins,” they said at the same time.
Heero rubbed his temples then stepped through the dangerous micro thin layer of energy and from one spot in time to another.
He had not expected it to hurt that fucking badly. He hit the ground with jarring impact, like every break he’d ever had was trying to re-break. Cold and electric, the impact was way worse than Siberia. He rolled, came up on one knee, in time to see Duo fall out of nowhere, blood red on his shoulder. He was twenty paces away, staggering across the grass. Heero slipped his backpack off his shoulders and pushed with all his will, needing to wrap his arms around his lover more than gravity could ever want to hold him.
He tackled Duo to the ground, rolling with him under the shade of a great tall tree. Heart beating like a revving engine, he held his smaller lover, his mate, his soul, held him as if this moment might be all there was before the universes all exploded. If he caused the end of all life as it could ever be, as long as he was there with Duo, holding his chocolate scented, reckless, law breaking, dog loving, mad scientist of a boyfriend in his arms until neurons could not store memories anymore, then that was all he could ask of the world. He pressed his face to Duo’s non-bloody shoulder and sobbed.
As the surprise wore off a bit, Duo wiggled, got his arms free, so he would wrap them around Heero, holding him tight. “It’s okay baby, it’s okay. I’m here. I’m not hurt real bad. It’s okay. Everything’s okay. Are you hurt? ‘Ro-kun, baby, what’s wrong?”
“I was afraid I’d lost you.” Heero said, words muffled against Duo’s shoulder.
“Sorry baby, you know I’d always come back to you or give you a way to find me. God, ‘Ro, love, baby, it’s okay.”
Shelly’s approach had been on super stealth mode, or at least neither of them had noticed him. When he licked Duo’s face really good and really wet, Duo groaned and batted at him.
“The mod to your nanobots might have a sedative effect.” Shelly said.
“Don’t talk like that here,” Heero hissed.
“Oh yes, well, I’ll be careful,” Shelly said.
“Oh,” Duo said, voice already fading as he passed out.