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Fic: Santa Clarita: Wartime: Death in a Pinch 4

Santa Clarita: Wartime: Death in a Pinch 4 (3 is a comic... have it done tomorrow.)

by Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing.

Warning: Duo was really interesting in this piece.  War is ugly. This is a war story.

So, in towns about to be gassed and stomped to shit by totalitarian asshole regimes... where do you find the food?  Well, the Ozzie assholes tended to clean out the restaurants and any of the nicer homes. Duo suspected they were also interested the wait staff or any pretty people not smart enough to have run like hell already. If you wanted food under those circumstances, you wanted a grocery store.

Now most of the easy shit would be gone. The canned shit would be gone, but for some reason people left most of the salad and potatoes. There was usually barbecue sauce too and eggs.  Eggs were the strangest things Duo had ever seen.  The made them in chocolate versions, which were really good, and frankly, chocolate anything was pretty good, unless it was dark chocolate, then it was mostly only good for giving to Trowa or Relena. He found a jar of them pickled once and that was kind of okay, but mostly they came in little cartons in very thin calcium skins with the fluid inside. For the life of him, he couldn’t figure out how they got the fluid inside and closed it all up without a seam, not even a little bitty seam.  When he’d asked Quatre, the blond had actually gotten almost angry at him, like the question was somehow sacred or something and fuck everyone knew and not to make fun of him!

On the whole, he really liked eggs, but Heero made him swear not to eat them raw and to always wash them before he cooked them.  So he did. Wufei suggested he look up something called salmonella, but he hadn’t had a chance to yet.  He’d tried salmon.  Sometimes Earth food had WORMS... like... the kind of worms that lived inside you, not the kind that made farm soil better. Heero shoulda told him to cook that stuff first. Earth folk ate all kind of weird things and normal food packets were hard as hell to come by.

The other thing that grocery stories had was lots of useful stuff. When people ran for the hills, they never took blenders and pans. Now getting a power source dragged into the abandoned grocery store stocking area  hadn’t been the easiest thing Duo had done, but he’d really needed a solid power supply for the hot tub he’d nicked from the house next door. Moving that bitch had been a real bit of work, even with the forklift, but he needed a bath and there was always some bit of difficulty sleeping after a battle.  

Sounds replayed. Metal ripping metal, screams, even though he was telling himself very firmly that he wasn’t hearing no screaming. He knew from experience he couldn’t that he couldn’t sleep yet and he was going to need to sleep.

Sleep was a good thing.  Heero told him he was supposed to sleep. He’d promised to sleep.

He just wanted to dance though. He’d stripped his clothes off and shoved them into the washing machine in the back, which he’d had to divert the store’s battery power meant for running the freezers to run, but he was going to need clean clothes for whatever seemed like a good idea the next day!

He had a recording of Heero’s voice, but he wasn’t ready to play it yet. The microwave beeped and he pulled out the bowl of boiled eggs, wishing he’d found more hotpads as he transferred them to the counter. As he danced, wearing just his black boxers, he tried really hard to focus in on Heero’s voice in his head.  It was Heero’s voice, touch, interaction with him that had given hatred some competition.  He knew that Heero was going to win that contest, but then that was part of the problem, really, because even if he didn’t hate the Oz and the tyranny of Earth, the was feeling this terrible love for just strangers random folk, even if he thought they were so different from him.

He knew Q and likely Heero were going to be pissed at him for attacking twenty hours earlier than their planned mop up. It was perfectly obvious that this whole thing was a set up.  The strategy with the highest likelihood of success was to wait until the bad guys thought no one was coming.  The plan had been to hit them when they were packing up.

Duo nodded and smiled when they’d made plans. That the Ozzies were likely going to kill several hundred people was a side effect of war. It wasn’t something that they were doing or responsible for.  Q’s argument that the best way to protect the most lives was to end the government that didn’t respect human life.  

That was a very solid argument and Duo respected it.  

The school bus flashed through his head, and he couldn’t say that his trying to help had actually helped or if he’d just gotten folk killed. And fuck, he wasn’t sure what was right or best, or if he was even fit to be in Heero’s presence again.  

As he crashed emotionally, he desperately grabbed up his music player and scrolled to Heero21. He played it, fingers shaking as he put his earbud in. “You’re just hungry. Eat. Everything will be okay.”  He set that on replay and it was like, all the angry noise trying to to compete for his attention went away.   This made it possible to go back to fixing up food.

He fished boiled eggs out of the bowl and tossed them straight into the blender.

“What the hell are you doing,” a girl ask.

Duo jumped, threw an egg up towards the ceiling, a hand clutching at his chest.

The girl laughed, pointing.  Duo’s hand snapped out, caught his egg, and violet eyes narrowed into threatening slits. “What do you want?”

“I saw the light and I thought.. I’d come see what you were doing. I’m Kitcha. What’cha doing with those eggs?”

“I’m gonna eat them,” Duo said, tossing the  egg into the blender, which already had some mayonnaise, mustard, microwaved potato and carrots, and a couple apples in it. “Ya want some? There’s enough.”

She arched an eyebrow at him. “You’re supposed to peel the shell off, idiot.”

“Why? It’s full of calcium. If they didn’t want ya eatin it, why’d they put it on there, uh?”

“No one put it on there! It’s how they come. What do you have in there? That looks vile.”

Duo tossed in four more eggs, put the lid on and pressed blend.  “Not my fault no one makes a decent food pack around here.”

“Are you from.. the colonies or something?”

“Yeah, maybe, look, why are you here?”

“Why are you here?  Why you got my gran’s hot tub in the stock room of the grocery store?”

“Seemed more circumspect than putting it through the front, and the forklifts were back here.”

“No.. I mean.. why did you steal Gran’s hot tub?”

Duo took a bite out of one of the remaining eggs, chewing it all crunchy and everything.

“Oh man! Don’t do that! Where’s the salt? That’s not how you eat those!”

“Seems fine to me, just gotta make sure to grind it down before you like, really taste it,” Duo said, glaring at her really good. “You and your gran should get the hell outta this town, by the way. Ozzie shit heads are gonna gas and level this place tomorrow.”

“They say the same about you. You’re with the gundam fighters, aren’t you? Are you an advanced scout?”

Duo’s cheeks filled with are for a moment, violet eyes narrow as he watched. “I’m a bit earlier than the plan. You should really get your gran and get out. Shit is gonna rain down from the skies here tomorrow.”

“How come you’re not leaving then?”

Duo winked, took another bite of get and said, “I’m the biggest shit that’s gonna rain down from the sky. Trust me.”

“Yeah, you don’t even know how to eat an egg. Stay here.” She said and ran into the main part of the store.

A few minutes later she came back with a couple bottles of vitamins and a a large canister of salt. “Here. Can I have one?”

Duo held out an egg.

“Like this!” She said gleefully as she peeled away the shell, letting the white bits fall, “with a bit of salt!” She spilled a little in her palm and touched the licked egg tip into into the salt before taking a bit. “That’s how you eat a boiled egg.”

Duo eyed the scattered shell. “That’s really wasteful. It’s good calcium”

“Look,” she said, pushing the bottle of vitamins across the work counter at him.  “Here, there’s your calcium.”

“That’s really wasteful,” Duo decided, but he was peeling the shell from his egg too. It did kinda of hurt his mouth if he wasn’t careful. “Why would they make it like this only to throw it away?”

“No one ... makes eggs. Eggs come from chickens.”

“Chicken? Like chicken flavored nutripacks? There’s no eggs in those... how would they get there?”

“No. Idiot. From chickens.. they’re animals. birds. You know what a bird is, right?”

“Sure,” Duo said, brow furrowing, trying to imagine a factory of like... sparrows and parrots using robotic tools to somehow put protein packs into calcium skins. “Yeah, but I still don’t understand why there’s no seams.  I’m gonna take a bath now. I hope your gran doesn’t mind me using the big tub. It’s gonna get destroyed tomorrow anyway.”

“Not if the stupid gundams don’t come,” Kitcha said.

“Yeah, well, I think one of us doesn’t understand the world.” He shed his boxers. 

Her eyes went wide “Naked!”

Duo rolled his eyes as he sank down into the stolen hot tub. “Yeah, not getting my shorts wet.  Don’t like it, don’t look.”

“My gran says if I came over here, you’d rape me.”

Duo wrinkled his nose, slipped under the water to wash his face, while keeping his braid out of the water. He’d have loved to have washed it, but there wasn’t time to get it dry and it was a bitch to fight with it wet.  Violet eyes stared at her over the top of the water, a chocolate eyebrow arched.  She stared back, demanding an answer. He lifted a hand up above the water to flip her off.

“Oh? So? You still a virgin?”

He scrubbed his face and popped back up. “I got a boyfriend. You shouldn’t use rape like that as a word. That’s bad shit. Bad people. Now.. go away. I want to rest.”

“So what’s your boyfriend like?

Duo sighed. “He’s kind and strong, smart, an incredible shot and he doesn’t waste.”

“Do you really think there’s gonna be a battle?”


“Do you know the people who are gonna fight?”


“Are you scared?”

“A bit.”

“So why don’t you run then instead of sitting here buck naked in a stolen hot tub?”

Duo ran his hand down his belly, wished real hard he could be alone and think hard about Heero. He wanted to write a letter. He wanted to listen to Heero’s voice recordings. He wanted to be in a hotel somewhere with his hair undone, fucking Heero until he came.  “Well, truth be told, there’s a lot of places I’d rather be, but I got a job to do and it’s important to me. Please go away?”

“So this is about money for you? You getting paid a lot. You don’t look old enough to like.. have a job. How old are you?”

“If I give you money, will you go away?”

“How much money?

“How much money you want?’

“Hundred bux.”

Duo reached behind him and picked up his phone, “Okay, what’s your account number?”

“Dumb ass. I’m 14. I don’t have a bank account.”

“What’s your grandmother’s account number?”

“How would I know? Can I kiss your dick? I saw pictures of that on the internet.”

“NO!” Duo squealed,, suddenly feeling actually naked as he scrambled out of the water and hid behind one of the towels he’d found. “You’re crazy!” He pulled his boxers on, while hiding behind the towel, his checks blushing bright red.

“OHHH,” she said, snickering. “Is that only for your boyfriend? Two little lovebirds sitting in a tree.. K I S S I N G!”

The sound of a vehicle caught Duo’s hypervigilant senses and he grabbed up his pack, ran for the washer to get his clothes and disappeared into the empty aisles. He almost went back for her, wanting her to hid too, but he was still feeling naked and suddenly tired, and afraid she’d think he wanted or was open to... and he wasn’t. Just the thought freaked him out, really.  Wet clothes under one hand, he scrambled up into the ceiling, to an area by power router. He curled up by it, knowing it would block any scanner he expected the Ozzies to have. He snuggled around his pack and played Heero74, “Go to sleep. I’ll be here.”

Sleep swallowed him whole, which was good because movement would have given away his hiding place.


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