Santa Clarita - Cows to Cats
Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing
By the time Duo got to the secure to his foster mom’s secure lab door, he was sobbing, head light, panic fighting with the rage, heart racing, and he wanted to beat Wufei’s head with a rock more than he’d ever wanted anything else in his life, at least in that moment, it felt that way. “MARTHA!!!!!!! NOWWWW!”
Didi bounced into the main living space and straight for Duo, her braids flopping. “Duo! Duo!”
When something grabbed and tugged on his sleeve, his fist doubled up and he was in a whore house on L2, looking up at some guy in the doorway, just as much confusion in his mind then as in the present and the urge to kill a flame of self preservation. That moment in the past was the first time he killed another human being, spilled blood and brain out and loved it.
There was just enough sense in him that instead of recreating that series of punches, he froze. In the very short frozen moment, his mind recognized the shape of Didi’s face, braids, and then her voice seeped into his mind. Crying now, she was pulling on his hand. She was saying something about hiding behind the couch. Slowly, he went to one knee and forced a deep breath into too thin lungs.
She was so beautiful with big brown eyes and he loved her. Very gently, he reached out and touched a rounded cheek. With a shaking thumb, he bopped her nose. “It’s okay, Didi. Everything’s okay. I’m okay.” While that didn’t seem true at all, he knew it would be. Heero was here. He had family. Didi was the best little sister ever. “I just... got really upset and... bad memories, you know.”
“I knewed you wasn’t gonna hit me.”
“I don’t never ever want to hit you, but if you see me lookin that fucked up again, don’t come too close, okay? I’d never forgive myself if I hurt you. I love you.” He said, forcing a smile, even though his eyes were still leaking.
Didi jumped on him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “DD!!!!!! Let’s work on my doll’s ship!”
One fist doubled up until the knuckles were white, but the other hand patted her back. “Now might not be a good time for that. Maybe in a little bit, okay?”
At that point, Martha opened the door, took in all the details. “Duo?”
He looked up, blinked, more tears running down his cheeks. “Cun I have a lorazepam, please?”
“What’s happened? Is Wufei okay?”
“I think so,” Duo said, not meeting her gaze for a moment. “Pretty sure he’s okay. He told me we’re cannibals.”
“Didi, go play,” Martha said gently. “Duo, come talk to me.”
He sniffed and wiped his nose on his shoulder. “Yeah, ‘kay.”
Wufei came in before Duo could stand up, “OH my god. Are you still crying? For heaven’s sake!”
Duo lunged, hands out for his neck, but Martha caught him by his braid and yanked hard, dropping him to his ass.
“Chang. Go to your room. Stay there until an adult comes for you.”
“And if I don’t,” he asked, arms folded across his chest, chin lifted proudly.
“Then I’ll call the tribal police and have your happy ass escorted all the way back to Cheyenne, taking only what you came with. You will speak to no one until an adult comes to talk to you. For Duo’s sake, don’t disobey me.”
“I didn’t hurt him,” Wufei said, brows furrowing, trying to figure out why Duo was so impossibly upset. “It is not my fault his education is faulty.”
“No. It’s your fault that you have the empathy of a jade lion. Last time. Room or Cheyenne.”
Wufei was seriously tempted to just leave. He’d made it fine during the war, but there had been means of support and help and he’d had starting supplies, and he could ‘forage’. Quatre had already expressed an unwillingness to help and frankly, if he couldn’t make things good with a family that could up with Duo, he shouldn’t have any reason to hold his head up. He sighed and stomped off to his room. Maxwell was clearly psychotic. Wufei didn’t see what Heero saw in him.
Martha lifted Duo up to his feet when Wufei was gone and half carried him down to her lab. She set him down on the couch. It was a couch he’d spent a lot of time on. Allen was his primary comfort and encouragement. Martha was the rule of law and order in the world.
She sat down and spun her work chair around to face him. “Talk.”
“Do we... eat... animals?”
“We have not eaten meat that originated in meat since Heero joined us and we understood what that would mean to you. We have installed printers. We will not eat meat that originates from an animal again.”
He went super pale, violet eyes wide and horrified. “Then I’ve eaten ... living creatures.. before Heero got here?”
“I’m gonna puke.”
She pointed to the garbage can by the couch and gave him a chance to finish before offering him a bottle of water. “Sandy? My pig? What happened to her... brother?”
“We sold him to someone who was looking for breeding stock.”
“But... her.. nieces and nephews?”
“Is that happens to human bodies? When they go to the morgue... are they .. cut up and sold? Does the family get the money?”
“Very few cultures eat humans.”
“Why? They’d be meat too, right?” He asked, hugging the garbage can on his lap. “Why one and not the other?”
“Humans are an old species, Duo. Once we did eat each other. We evolved with domestic animals. Thier genes are propagated by humans. The cost is that we eat them. We are a predatorial species, Duo, but we can choose where we go from here. That was what you and the other pilots fought for, in large part, was for our right to determine our own future.”
“I won’t let anyone eat Sandy or my cows. I love my cows.”
“No one will eat your friends. You can work towards getting printers around the world. People are already doing that.”
“Wufei thinks I’m a fucking idiot. I’m tryin ta be his friend, but I don’t like him right now.”
“I understand. He’s more like you were when you first got here. Give him a little bit more time.”
“If he hurts my friends, I might kill him.”
“I trust you not do anything that would bring trouble to this family, or to your parole officer.”
“Yeah. Be careful. Will. I feel really sick.”
“Heero is upstairs. I can let him in. He can take you up to your room. I will give you a light sedative, if you want.”
“Yeah, please. Sorry about the trouble.”
“I am more proud of you than you are likely to appreciate.”
Duo half grinned, bangs stuck to his tear streaked face. “Thank you for giving me the cows.”
“No one loved them more than you.”
The door clicked open and Heero was down the stairs three at a time.
Duo looked up, grinned, then hastily wiped his mouth on his shoulder. “Hey, ‘Ro! Howa ya?”
Heero was immediately on his knees in front of Duo, fingers brushing bangs back. “I am fine. You?”
“Better. Heero... meat comes from animals....”
Heero felt infinitely bad about some squirrels he fed Duo during the war. “How did you find out?”
“Why did you keep it from me,” Duo said, violet eyes narrowing with renewed anger.
“Because the right time to tell you had not come. Trust that I had your best interest as a top priority.”
“You keepin any other shit from me? Now’s the right time.”
“I got a letter from myself once. It was strange. I’ll show it to you when you feel better. That’s it. I have no other secrets from you.”
“Yeah, like from a future me.”
“Oh fuck,” Duo said, eyes wide. “Time travel is gonna be possible.”
“May I please carry you up to our room?”
“Yeah,” Duo said, setting the garbage can down.
Martha held out a small envelope with the sedative. “I want to hear about this letter too,”
“Maybe,” Heero said, wanting Duo’s opinion first. “I want to limit exposure to it.”
“I agree,” Martha said. “Go. Rest. Stay away from Wufei.”
“It was him,” Heero hissed. “Mission accepted.”
Duo snuggled up against Heero, hiding his face. “Let Martha have him.”
“Yes,” Martha said, “Let me have him.”