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Fic: Santa Clarita - Value of Us - 3

Santa Clarita - Value of Us - 3
By Pinkwhirlwind

Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing. I am reasonably certain it owns me.

Note: This is after Sandy gives into Japanese, and before Duo shows Heero his room in the comic.

Sandy didn’t have anything to say as he let himself out of the backseat, but Duo didn’t seem upset by the man’s quiet, so Heero accepted that it was just a normal behavior. Everything about this place only felt normal because Duo was accepting it as normal.

The house was a ranch style house, at least superficially. There was a tower that probably got labeled Victorian, but was really more steampunk (At least, that is the tower that Duo must have been describing when he said there was a steampunk tower.).  Other parts probably had names, but Heero had never taken a great interest in architecture.  He was impressed that one part of the house looked like it could be used as a sturdy bomb shelter. He found that comforting, until he thought about how it was probably a tornado shelter.  He needed to get Duo relocated. Overtaking planes that were in flight... that was a calculated risk. Being ripped apart by natural weather phenomenon.. that was just.. unfortunate and Heero thought they should make every attempt to avoid it.

Holding his lover's hand still,  he let Duo draw him out of the car. The whole trip they’d kept their hands to themselves, but the moment Duo turned off the car, their hands went right back together.   Neither of them wanted to let go and the intensity of touch communicated on a level that could take many hours or days for others.  They were not going to be apart again. They just weren't.

There were eighteen vehicles parked by the house. All of them looked utilitarian and well used. As they got closer to the house, Heero had to amend to nineteen. As Duo's pace increased towards the one he hadn't counted,  Heero became unsure if it was a vehicle or a party attendee.

"So, Heero," Duo started, moving to the head of a moderate sized horse. "This is Sally. She's Addy's horse, but I minded her for a couple months last summer.  She's  real nice an I told her all about you! She's been dyintameetya!"

Heero's cheeks sucked in as he tried to properly interpret those claims.  Horses were mammals. They had large brains, it seemed. It..errr, she was obviously greeting Duo in return. She must have long term memory to do so.  She didn't have human like vocal cords - unless Duo had somehow managed to modify them - which as Heero considered it - was a possibility,. His micro expressions flashed through a couple of instinctive blinks, a slight , wrinkling to his nose, a tightening of his lips, all in a second or less.

The last horse Heero had been around had been at one of Relena's estates, some beast that was probably worth more than the house Duo had been living in.  That brought back a memory of Relena lecturing on how he was supposed to be positively influencing society and that his role was very important, praising him for making Maxwell respect the law, and asking him what he'd like to bring on their picnic.

She hadn't enjoyed that his response had been Maxwell.

Up close, the horse was really more of a shaggy pony. The long pale mane blended with his memory and there was Relena telling him that if he was homosexual, he could at least find someone who was socially. Had he spoken with Milliardo since the peace?

So there was this over grown pony looking at him from a big brown eye and a moment of panic that he would never know the right thing to say hit him like a punch to the gut.

Duo burst out laughing, closed the distance between them like gravity demanded it, and wrapped himself around Heero.  "Horses just understand l2 better than most people. Come on."

"But not better than me?"

"No one understands better than you, 'Ro. Feel her nose! Ain't it great!"

Heero felt .. young, silly, unguarded as he let Duo draw his hand to the horse’s nose. Velvety and soft, then slightly wet as she snorted on him.  “Can you really talk to her?”

“Well, yeah, but then I can talk to pretty much anything that won’t walk way. Does she understand me? How much does she understand me? Fuck if I know. Horses a been around humans a long time. We evolved together. I don’t know.”

“You should study it,” Heero agreed.

Duo nodded. “Yeah. Someday.. I’ll make dogs talk, then we’ll find out all kindsa stuff.”

“Dogs can’t talk.”

“Says you.”

“Duo!” Martha called. “Bring your boy in, will you! We’re all waiting to meet him!”

Duo waved, signaling his agreement, then touched his forehead to Sally’s muzzle for a moment. “Come on. These are cool people, Heero. These are the kind of people we were fighting for in the wars.”

“Hn.” Heero said, meaning that he’d reserve judgement for himself.  “I think they are drugging you.”

“Well, let’s go ask them.”

Heero’s shoulders tensed, thin little lips tightening up like a geisha with words just waiting behind better judgement.

“Oh come on,” Duo nudged, hand locked with Heero’s shoulder. “You can ask them anything. They won’t lie. I like’em. You know, I was real pissed when you refused to run away with me, but you made the right choice. When I was pissed at you over that.. that was the loneliest time of my whole fucking life.  You were right, you know. Forgive me for being so fucked the hell up?”

Heero squeezed Duo’s hand a little, hoped that Duo might never know how fucked up Heero felt. “I have nothing to forgive you for.”

“Duo! Come on! Beth made sushi and she’s dying to get your boy to try it!”

Heero made a face that told Duo he wasn’t feeling hungry anymore.

“Okay! We’re coming! We’re gonna stow Heero’s stuff in my room and breathe for a few.”

“Gottcha,” she said.

Heero frowned. She... sounded a little like Duo, the language patterns were somewhat the same, similar enough to indicate cultural similarities. He consciously kept his face emotionless. He’d always thought that the culture on L2 was some weird mix of poverty and violent desperation, but maybe there were actual kinship groups that contributed to that violently independent, stubborn, language mangling culture.

What have I gotten myself into?

Note: Next chapter is the comic.

Here’s a new Santa Clarita comic too


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