Santa Clarita: Settling in: The Feather 3/?
Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing
It was a practice like none other.
“What the hell do you mean you think we’re going to run five miles,” Lacey snorted. “I’m not running five miles!”
Duo grimaced, hands on his hips, lips pursed. “Why not?”
It just happened to be a practice when their coach wasn’t there. The substitute told them to practice some routines. Duo offered to lead them in some training exercises. The substitute thought that was a great idea.
Lacy blew air into her cheeks and did her best to glare Duo down. He glared back.
“Okay look! That’ll make us all sweaty and it’ll take HOURS! I just want to practice a bit and then work on my essay from last night.”
“For one thing,” Duo said, a hand on his hip. “This isn’t fucking English Composition! This is cheer squad practice. Do we want to go to nationals this year or do we just want to get laid after Homecoming?” He lifted his chin, challenging them.
Alex stared at him through spread fingers. “Can’t we do both?”
Pollie, a girl who was likely of some kind of Asian lineage, though Duo really couldn’t tell the difference between Chinese, Japanese, or Korean the way Heero and Wu could, she bounced on the balls of her feet, black ponytails swaying. “I hear that really good tummy muscles give you really strong orgasms.”
“Running five miles isn’t going to give you strong anything,” Lacy pouted.
“Yeah,” Duo smirked. “Yeah, it is, and come on, I can do five miles in thirty minutes. that’ll give us an hour and a half before first period. Come on! The Nationals are in New York this year. I want to go New York. Anyone else want to go New York?”
Cleo, a girl with dark skin and beautifully carved lips, sighed. “We’ll never raise the money, even if we qualify. The team gets all the money.”
“If we qualify, we’ll raise the money,” Duo promised with such deep belief that the others started to believe too. “Let’s run. I got too much energy this morning. Got to burn some off. Come on!”
Inside the office, the substitute stood and watched one skinny assed male cheerleader race around the track with the girls all doing their best to keep up. She didn’t want to be here. She’d heard that one of the Gundam Pilots was on this campus and if she hadn’t really needed the hours to pay her rent, she wouldn’t have been there at all. The cheer squad certainly did seem to have some serious dedication though, which was strange. They’d never had a team that placed at all.
As Duo slipped inside the hanger, he was seriously conflicted. If it was anyone other than Heero, he’d have just told Allen like Zip suggested, but Heero was in trouble. He just knew it, deep in his very being and he was going to New York.
Silent as fog, he was on the small little electric plane, popped the security and was in it doing pre-flight checks when a guy with mostly silver hair and crazy eyes was on him.
Duo swallowed, smiled, his best and sweetest smile, as if he were totally meant to be sitting a plane what was clearly designed for a person twice his size.
“Are you stealin ma plane?” The man growled, metal grinding against metal.
“No,” Duo protested, drawing the word out, hands up, “Not at all! I was just going to borrow it for a little bit!”
The man held up his left arm which ended in a multi-function military issue prosthetic hand that looked more like a metal fish tail than a hand. “Like you borrowed my hand?”
“No, no, no,” Duo said, mind racing about how he was going to get to New York and back without getting caught and how not to hurt this guy and maybe maybe... fuck fuck fuck, “I didn’t do nothin to yer hand! I swear and like I can you know.. pay for the time in the plane and I’ll have it back by end of day and I’ll work off the rental, but like please don’t tell no one okay? Please? I’m real good with mechanical things. I can fix all kinda shit and I can do lots of work, you know and I can fly, though I’m like not supposed to be and I don’t mean no one no harm and I just, you know, I gotta borrow the plane! I promise! I’ll bring it back and I’m not gonna hurt no one and please, just for a few hours!? it’s an emergency you see, but I can’t tell no one and like please?” Duo finally had to catch breath, violet eyes big and pleading, “Please?”
The guy’s hand flexed, like fingers, or a fish tail furling in water. “Yer Duo Maxwell, right?”
“Yeah,” Duo said, voice small.
“You took my hand in the war,” he said.
“I’m very sorry?”
“Well,” Duo said, searching his feelings. In the war, he would mostly have been sorry about having left a survivor in his enemies, but now, after the war, after being on the ranch and the cheer squad and just... well.. now.. now he didn’t know.
“You and me, we’re the only survivors of that battle. Why’d you leave me alive?”
“Uh,” Duo said, feeling a trickle of sweat run down his spine. “I, uh, uh,” he hedged, thinking and wishing that lying were easier and man, he really wanted the plane and he wasn’t going to hurt the guy either way, but Heero. “Heero’s never done nothing to you and he’s in trouble. He’s in New York. If you let me borrow the plane, I’ll come back and you can take off my left hand if it’ll make you feel better. Will that be okay?”
The guy stared at him. “Are you serious?’
“Yeah,” Duo said, thinking about how he was going to explain not being able to be on cheer squad for a while. He didn’t know how he was going to afford a prosthetic until he got access to his money. That was going to be a pain in the ass. “Fair’s fair, right? I just... I gotta help Heero first.”
“My name’s Eric, by the way. Can you fly this plane?”
“Yeah,” Duo said.
“You gonna file a flight plan?”
“Nope.” Duo said.
“Okay, how’s this? See, I can’t fly no more. I grew up here, but since the war, I just don’t got the nerve to get back in a plane. I design them though. You fly them for me, and we’ll call it even. After all, you left me alive. That’s worth something, right?”
“I like being alive,” Duo side stepped, “I’ll fly anything I don’t think will kill me. When I get back, I’ll have to check in with Sandy and Allen and Martha, but I think they want me to get a job anyway and yeah, I love planes.”
“You’re going to make an illegal flight to New York, but when you get back, you’ll ask their permission to get a legal part time job?”
“Is complicated. You gonna take my hand?”
“Of course not,” Eric snapped. “How old are you? I always imagined you older.”
“I’m an adult,” Duo said, wrinkling his nose. “You don’t tell nobody about today, right?”
“Okay, boy,” Eric said, backing up. “Let’s see you fly.”
Duo finally took a deep breath, heart full of joy. “Yeah!”
In minutes, he was in the air in a small, probably not legal, experimental little mini jet, which he rolled neatly by way of showing off, before disappearing towards New York.
It was well past lunch when Joel finally felt like getting up. It was another hour until he checked his phone and found that Duo had been in New York for three hours, while his actual tracking anklet hadn’t left campus.
He found Allen in the educational center where most of the younger children were homeschooled. He wrapped his arms around him, rested his chin on his shoulder, snuggled close for a moment.
“Do I need to declare recess,” Allen asked lovingly.
“You know I love you, teacher boy, right?” Joel said, rubbing his cheek against Allen’s ear.
“Of course,” he said, pressing the button that would open the door to the enclosed court yard. “Free play, kids.”
Laughter and play erupted as Allen turned and wrapped much larger arms around his smaller blond husband. “What’s wrong?”
“I just need you to know that I love you, that’s all.”
“Did you get called away again?”
“I have a mission, but maybe it won’t be long.”
“Okay,” Allen said, kissing blond curls. “Come home soon and safe.”
Joel didn’t usually have problems with his missions. For the most part he really liked what he did. “You change me, you know. One of these days, I’m going to have to find a new job.”
“I’d be down with that outcome,” Allen said, rubbing Joel’s back. “I love your art. You don’t need to have an income right away anyway. We’re all stable here and I know we’d all be happy to have you home all the time.”
“Oh you say that now,” Joel said, pushing back a bit so he could run fingers over Allen’s full lips, up to brush over his temple. “I wish I was the man you see when you look at me.”
“Who says you’re not,” Allen asked, smiling with love and trust. “You underestimate how good you really are.”
Joel smiled sadly, wondering if he could even come home after he’d killed Duo Maxwell. “I love the way you see the world, baby. I really do.”