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Fic: Santa Clarita - Value of Us - Arrivals

Santa Clarita - Value of Us - Arrivals
by Max - Pinkwhirlwind

disclaimer: I still don’t own Gundam Wing.

Note: These stories are happening all out of order for me.  This is the story of how Duo got to Wyoming.. the first time he met Sandy and his foster parents.  I’m sorry if there are continuity errors.. I hope my original stuff is better, but these are just me processing the world.


The trial, televised around the world, ended less than a week before. The pilots had not seen each other officially since the guilty verdict had been handed down. For Duo, all he could hear, playing on repeat in his head, was that Heero would not run away with him. There had been a window where they could have easily escaped. Quatre had already promised to help them. Complying with the stupid authorities was just a matter of convenience.

Strapped into a chair on a military transport shuttle, wrists cuffed together, jeans torn at the knee from where he’d been tackled in his second escape attempt, eye black, the tranquilizers only slowly wearing off - Duo didn’t really feel like this complying with the authorities was being very convenient.

The trip had taken way too long, by anyone’s standards, but the flight path had taken them out around the dark side of the moon and then back into Earth’s space. Duo didn’t even know where they were going. His outbursts during the trial had not endeared him to anyone and there had been threats against his life, so all precautions were taken to make sure the prisoner was safe. There was also angry a sizable amount of anger over the perceived lightness of the sentences. There were even some groups that talked about forming new resistances to the new government by forming up under the leadership of one of the pilots, but mostly likely Duo who was angry and loud.

“Do you want something to drink,” Agent Drews asked, professional and almost kind. “Those tranquilizers are going to leave you with a headache if you don’t stay hydrated.”
Duo smiled, tight lips, the one missing tooth just making his top row look sharper. Violet eyes narrowed and he tilted his head just a bit, knowing he’d catch the light a bit, shade his face with his bangs. “I’m going to kill you.”

Drews’ nodded. “And my children, my dog, and then you’re going to disappear like death itself. Yes, I know. You mentioned. I still think you should have something to drink, Mr. Maxwell. We’ll be landing in a couple of hours.”

Duo glared for another couple of minutes, got no response, and then shook it off, glaring out the window, wrists chaffing and wiggling in the most secure cuffs he wore. “Good. Then I can can hurry up and kill you!”

“So,” Drews started, shifting so he could watch Duo more closely. “The documents say you’re 15, but you’re kind of skinny. I think you look more like you’re 12. What do you think?”

Duo’s head snapped back to glare at the man, eyes wide as saucers. His mouth dropped open and slowly twisted into a sneer. “I AM not TWELVE!” And at that very moment his voice broke, squeaking with the shiny process of puberty. “I’m the man that’s going to kill you!”

“About that. The wars are over, Maxwell. As near as I can tell, you’ve never killed anyone outside of combat. I was also pretty sure that you didn’t like to lie. I’m not your enemy. I’m just here to protect you.”

“Right. Fine. Fuck you! I might not kill you, but you’ll wish I had! You can’t keep me prisoner!”

Drews rolled his eyes. “You’re going to love Wyoming.”

“What the hell is a wyoming? Is that  prison? I thought I was being taken to someplace on Earth.” Duo jerked trying to get his wrists apart with all his will. “Where are you taking me?!” He wanted Heero so badly in that moment. What if he never saw Heero again? His eyes moistened, cuffed feet kicked out just because he wanted to kick something so badly. “I am going to kill you! I’m not going to Wyoming! Bastards!”

“Twelve,” Drews said, “I’m totally seeing twelve.”


Allen, Mary, M(2), Joel, Martha, and Marin woke in a ripple, rolling towards each other on the great round bed.

“We have to get up,” Allen complained.

“Remind me why we’re taking this sociopath in,” Marin grumbled, her arms around M(2). “Don’t give me that flack about how he’s just a kid.”

M(2) caressed her lover’s arm, soothingly. “It’s going to be okay. He’s not a sociopath. He’s just... traumatized. This is the best place for him. My brother asked us to.”

“Sandy’s crazy,” Joel decided, “but helping this kid is what we opened the ranch for.”

“Bullshit,” Mary said as she threw a leg over Joel’s waist. “I bought into this idea to work on my research. That you all want to make with the lovely foster home, but I’m here for research. That boy is a risk, educated in war and violence more than anything else.”

“We discussed this. We all came to consensus. We all agreed and we are committed to taking him in. He’s survived a lot. I’m sure he’ll adapt just fine,” Allen said calmly. “We’ve prepared for this. We’re the best chance he has.”

Mary snuggled into her partner, hiding her face against his shoulder. “Yes, but... I’m just afraid we’ve bitten off more than we can chew.  I’ve been watching him during transport. He’s violent and frightened. That’s a very bad combination.”

Allen rolled shifting around until he was right behind Mary, snuggled up to her, reaching over lace his fingers through Joel’s. “Okay. You’ve got second thoughts. We can still change our minds. This is a big endeavor. If we’re not all agreed to do it, then we won’t do it.”

“The outcome is more likely positive if he stays with us,” M(2) said, voice still sleepy.  “We have helped difficult children before. Allen is modded to be able to help him. We have discussed this. He is more of a hero than a criminal and in time the world will see that.”

“I agree,” Mary said, “I’m just worried. We’ve never taken in a child this dangerous.”

To that there was agreement, but the day was calling.

Sandy Wuthering had dreams. Those dreams involved mostly retirement and long lunches discussing science and gardening with his wife. They didn’t involve becoming the parole officer of what was arguably the most dangerous human in the Earth Sphere.  

There were six parole officers for all of Laramie County. All six of them had been called into the Cheyenne office to see who got the ‘privilege’ of being Duo Maxwell’s parole officer.

Sandy’s mind went back to that day as he waited for the two hour overdue flight that had probably been hijacked by the wily young terrorist.  

They’d ordered pizza, billed it to the state as meeting expense, and Sandy knew nothing good was coming when the state paid for lunch.

“If I’m his PO, the first thing I’m doing is sending his ass for a 72 hour hold. He’s a crazy little fucker and the sooner we get him properly medicated, the easier this will be for everyone.”

“You know what will make this easier? Give me a month and I’ll have him on a violation. Put him in a decent prison. That’ll keep him out of trouble.”

“He’s such a hot head,” Jack boasted, “I’ll violate him in a week.”

Sandy wanted his retirement. He wanted no craziness, nothing difficult, no heart attacks, but there was this big picture of Duo’s mug shot, with one black eye to go with it.  He’d had a son once. He and his wife didn’t talk about that loss, but it never fully went away. “I’ll do it. I’ll get my sister-in-law to foster him. They’re thirty miles out of town. It’ll be a good environment. ”

Standing at the shuttleport, he still couldn’t believe those words came out of his mouth. He was going to be very stern with this boy! He was going to give him the kind of direction he hadn’t been able to give his own son. The boy seemed feral and Sandy understood the twisting of pain in a mind, but he was determined to give this boy some solid ground, someone to trust and respect. Then there would be retirement with honor.

The whole area of the shuttleport had been cleared out so there would be no crowd, no reporters, no innocent bystanders when Duo was brought in. He’d gotten himself calmed down, convinced that a single, unharmed boy, no matter how the media made him out to be a huge danger to civilization. Then the shuttle carrying Duo landed and the empty port didn’t sound so empty.

A wail of rage and pain reverberated down the boarding tube, only to be followed by a string of curse words in a language that Sandy wasn’t even about to guess at. Shots were fired.

Then this little skinny guy burst forth into the shuttle port. Blood covered one shoulder, made a nice splatter pattern over his face. He vaulted a row of chairs, and took off towards the central part of the port that had to be at least a four minute mile. It was the braid that really triggered it for Sandy... that was his new parolee.

Just as Duo sprinted past Sandy, three Earth Sphere marshals burst forth into the port, weapons drawn, murderous looks on their faces.

While he didn’t say anything... his life suddenly boarded a carousel of horror that went round and round between ‘fuck me, fuck me, fuck me,’ and ‘But my retirement!’. He threw his coffee and gave chase.  He was fifty-three. He was religious about walking ten miles a week.  Duo Maxwell could run twenty if pushed, without stopping, and blow shit up at the end.

Fortunately, Sandy was also very good at strategy and he knew he couldn’t outrun his new parolee, so he’d arranged for the end of the hall to be completely sealed off until he requested it be opened.  So it happened that it wasn’t a very long chase.

Frantic, Duo searched for a way to open the mobile walls, to break a window, and there was Sandy, panting, hands on his knees. “Hi! I’m Sandy. I’m your parole officer! Welcome to Wyoming!” He said, as cheerfully as he could, between pants.

Duo, eyes wide, cuffs still on, but separated, pressed as much as he could into a corner, and made for the fight of his life. “Fuck you! You can’t keep me here!”

“So? You’d rather go with your other friends?”

“You fucking shit,” Thomas growled, pointing his gun at Duo, who only glared back...thoughts of suicide by cop evident in his eyes. “You will undo it! Then we are taking you to prison! Prison!”

“He has violated his parole already,” Drews said, “He used a computer while on board the plane.”

“Did not!” Duo growled, palms against the wall.

“You sent a coded message!” Drews accused.

Sandy turned back to Duo, arched an eyebrow.

“Okay, so I mighta sent a message through the entertainment system.”

“He ripped the wires out.”

“Minor damage,” Duo said, sticking his tongue out.

“He sent... He distributed classified information.”

“Did NOT!”

“Um, why did he have access to classified information? What information?”

Sandy’s phone ran. The unexpected sound startled them all. “Hello,” he answered, not recognizing the number.

“Hello! I’m so glad you took my call. This is Quatre Raberba Winner! I’d very much like you to deliver a message for me, if you don’t mind very much.”

“Where are you calling me ... from?”

“That’s completely unimportant. Will you please let the marshals know that if they don’t put their weapons down and deliver a glowing report about my friend Duo Maxwell’s cheerful compliance, I am likely that little video of theirs gets to every media outlet, and I do mean every, instead of just to their significant others. Also, please, if it’s not too much trouble, let Duo know that the next time he asks for distraction, he should be more specific. I do hope he enjoys Wyoming!”

“Thank you, Mr. Winner,” Sandy said, just not really sure what else to say about that.

“Marshals, Mr. Winner says that if you’d like to keep that video of yours from being sent to every media outlet, you will please turn in a very positive report about your experience with Mr. Maxwell.  Do you think you can do that?”

“Fuck my life,” Thomas growled.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Sandy said as he turned back to Duo, “Maybe I can offer you some food, medical treatment, and rest before you try to escape again?”

“Why?” Duo gasped, his voice squeaking again, emotion, “Why help me?” And then dehydration, lack of sleep, and stress made it a mute point as Duo slid down the wall into unconsciousness.


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