fic: Santa Clarita: Arrivals: Duo's First Days 2/?

Santa Clarita: Arrivals: Duo's First Days 2/?
by Max


Disclaimer: I still don’t own Gundam Wing.

It had taken several hours for him to stop thinking they’d tried to poison him.  He had propped a chair under the door knob and curled up in the tub, the blankets under and around him, the toilet really close, though he hadn’t made it all the way a couple of times, and he didn’t care. Earth toilets that weren’t in the prison system used water, so much water! He curled under the blankets, knees to his chest, and wished he’d death would just close his eyes for him.  

The world was hostile and dangerous. Humans were violent and every one of them was a risk. He sniffed and wiped his nose on the edge of the blanket. He wanted to think about Heero, but everytime he thought about him, it just hurt that they were far apart and that Heero wouldn’t run away with him. Humans were nothing except betrayal. Trusting Heero had been a mistake. Surviving the war had been a mistake. So many mistakes!

The big guy had promised that Heero loved him. What would he know? Duo pulled the blanket tighter around his head and told his stomach to stop threatening him. It rolled over a couple of times, but there really wasn’t anything to throw back out anymore. His head threw in a couple of sharp throbs to just to make sure it wasn’t forgotten and fuck... he didn’t know what to do. The idea that the strange people living in this house might have tried to poison him made a come back. It was possible.

There were a lot of people who seemed to hate him. Maybe they were right.  Images of the blood and spattered body parts flashed in his mind and it felt almost comforting, as if carnage were his natural home. He wanted to give names to all those he’d killed then, as if he could talk to them and find out who they’d been in his memories, as if all that information might be secretly hiding in his mind somewhere.

Maybe some part of him had died in those battles and what went on was just a shell and that was why Heero didn’t want him anymore.  But he wanted Heero. If people hated him this much, they hated Heero too. Maybe just sleeping for a while would be good. He pulled the blanket over his head and ignored the banging on the door. They weren’t going to get in, if they didn’t break the door down and if they broke the door down, he couldn’t stop them, either way, they weren’t there in that moment. Sleep slipped around him and he could imagine Heero’s arms around him, holding him close and it wasn’t cold anymore.

“So,” a voice asked, sweet as honey, mellow, non-threatening, “Why are you sleeping in the tub, when there’s a perfectly decent bed a few steps away.”

“To protect against the blast damage,” Duo said, before he realized the voice wasn’t just in his head. One violet eye opened a bit, but there on the edge of the tub was a silver nutripacket, just sitting there all unprotected and beautiful. His hand shot out and grabbed it, pulled it back under the blankets. “What do you want?”

“Well,” Joel said sweetly, “just checking on you. You look feverish and you’ve been holed up in here for going on thirty-six hours. I thought you might be hungry.”

Another food packet appeared on the edge of the tub and Duo grabbed that one too. “Go to hell.”

“We really didn’t expect you to get sick from the food.”

“Earther bastards. I hate you!” Duo held onto the food packets though, because giving them back was going to result in blood and busted teeth if anyone tried.

“You saved Allen and Didi’s lives.”

“So?”

“I brought you a box of those packets, by the way. There’s ninty-six of them. Just in case you’re hungry.”

“What do you want for’em?”

“Haven’t you ever been around people who would help you just because?”

“No.”

“Okay then. So let’s try this differently. Hi! I’m Joel!” He held out his hand to shake. Duo stared at it, pulled the blanket close. “This is the part where you tell me your name and shake my hand so we show we don’t have any weapons... it’s like an opening where we see if we can be tribemates.”

“Go to hell. I’m not unharmed, just so you know and if you try to touch me, I’ll hurt you.”   

“Did you take supplies to build explosives?”

“No.”

“Do you know who did?”

“No.”

“Would you tell me if you did?”
“Maybe. I don’t think anyone took supplies to make explosives. Everyone here seems to feel like they belong and there isn’t a lot of anger, except at me. Did you try to poison me?”

Joel’s mouth dropped open for a moment. “Of course not! Why in hell would we poison a child in our care?”

“Because I’m dangerous. I’m a spacer. The odds are good I killed someone you may have known. You could be afraid of me, but were forced by the government to take me in. You could have been paid by someone who wanted me dead. It’s more reasonable that you would poison me than that you wouldn’t.”

“You live in a very dark world.”

Duo sat up a bit, shivering with fever. “At least I’m alive.”

“Do you feel any particular urge to hurt anyone in this house?”

“Not as long as ain’t no one tryin ta hurt me. I gotta live so I can protect Heero.”

“Okay. No one is going to hurt you here. I’m really sorry the food made you sick. Martha cooked up some medicine to help you be able to eat normal food. It should also help your body overcome whatever’s giving you fever.”

“I don’t have a fever,” Duo said, eyes narrowing accusingly.

“Yeah, you do,” Joel said. “My vision is augmented. I can see temperature.” Joel set the bottle of medicine on the edge of the tub and then a large bottle of calorie free soda next to it. “I think you’re dehydrated. If you really want to live, you should take in some fluids and food.”

“I’m never going to suck yer dic, just so you know.” Duo growled, wiping his nose on the blanket again.

“Well that’s very good to know,” Joel said, wiggling his eyebrows. “I have three wives and a husband. I love them all alot. Besides, just in case you hadn’t noticed, asshole boy, I’m not hard to look at. If I wanted my dic sucked, I’d go find a nice adult to play with. Children don’t do it for me. The people you’ve known in your life to this point really need their asses kicked, too, just saying. Mary has taken it upon herself to check on Heero, make sure he’s safe. As worried as you were, it just made us worry too, so we’re making sure he’s okay. Of all the people in this house, I’m the most like you. I’m really not a nice man, except maybe in comparison to the adults you seem to have known. I don’t tolerate child abuse.”
“Not a child,” Duo said, eyeing the soda.

Joel opened it, took a solid drink of it, set it back on the edge, though Duo was reaching out for it before it even found a place on the edge.

“You’re more of a child than you know, but that doesn’t mean I’m not taking you seriously. You’d take care of Didi, without question, giving her food, protecting her from harm?”

“Yeah,” Duo said grudgingly, drinking the soda as if he were dying of thirst. “So?”

“To me.. you’re like Didi.”

“Then yer dumb.”

“Possibly, but you can understand that, right?”

“Yeah. Really didn’t try to poison me?”

“Nope. The solitary confinement they had you in was really hard on you. You’d lost a lot of weight before you got here.  The food here is all grown and raised here. It’s got bacteria you’ve never encountered. The stress gave a bacteria or a virus ground to ravage your body. You’re just fucking sick.”

“Shitty.” Duo said, grabbing the wrapped and sterile cookie that Joel set on the edge of the tub. “Heero’s okay?”

“So far. Not sick?” Duo asked, half the cookie in his mouth.

“He’s fine. Do you like cats?”

“Sure. I saw one once! It was dying, but it seemed real nice. I wish I coudla talked to it.”

Joel arched an eyebrow, but reached down again and pulled a kitten from his bag of healing gifts. “Okay, well you can ask this one what its name is then.”

Duo’s eyes went wide and he set the soda down, the blanket falling away as he reached out for the small black cat with a heart shape of white on its nose. It miaowed, but settled into Duo’s outreached hands, starting to purr almost as soon as he brought it close. “Hi! I’m Duo! What’s your name? You’re so soft!”

The kitty purred, rubbing against his hands and chest and he started smiling and mimicking the purring sound. In a couple of minutes he was purring almost perfectly.

Joel just sat there and watched.

Duo petted the cat, nuzzleing her back, responding to her sounds and movements as if he were communicating with her so intensely that Joel ceased to even be a concern.

“I think she’d like to be on the bed. It’s softer there.” Joel said. “Is it okay if I carry you two to the bed? I’ll make sure there’s food and fluids there.”

“Safer here.” Duo said, his attention still completely on the kitten.

“There aren’t going to be any explosions, but I can put some reinforcement material all around your room. Will that be okay? She’ll get cold and unhappy if you try to sleep in the tub.”

“Uggnnn. Okay.” Duo said.

Joel picked him up, like a ball of blanket that weighed little to nothing and carried them to the bed. The kitty snuggled up to him and by the time Joel brought the soda and food back, Duo had dropped into a deep sleep. In sleep, Joel thought he seemed so small and young.

He closed the window he’d come in through and unblocked the door.  Martha and Allen were both standing there, waiting. “He’s going to be fine.”

Martha scowled, let herself into the room, very, very carefully lifted the blanket and retrieved a kitchen knife long enough to almost pass for a short sword. She pointed it at Joel accusingly. He shrugged, smirked. She strode back to the kitchen with it.  

Allen leaned close, ran his fingers over Joel’s face, kissed him tenderly. “Thank you.”



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