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fic: Santa Clarita: Settling In: Math, Faith, and Nuts 1/1

Santa Clarita: Settling In: Math, Faith, and Nuts

by Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing

Warning: Religion and gender are discussed.  I have a feminist pov. While I’m atheist, I think I’ve given a broad range of religious pov, leading to a positive presentation of Christianity, but that is always going to be subjective.

The boy’s locker room held onto a quiet moment like it maybe had never seen.  Duo, still in his cheer squad outfit, short blue and silver shorts and a half top that left his waist visible, lean and muscular. He wore once white shoes that had just as many grass stains as the half of the team that had stayed for Gavin’s math lesson.  He had a silver heart painted on his cheek and there was blue paint in his braid, but violet eyes were narrowed, lips tightened, and any of the other pilots would have understood that now would be a good time to make nice before shit when bang. Duo pointed the dry erase marker at them, felt a flash of headache, and then a twinge of nausea. “Why don’t you understand? Look, you gotta understand the rules of algebra before you can do calculus. The order of operations don’t fucking change.”

Jimmy, a linebacker who likely more than doubled Duo’s mass sat on the bleacher, elbows on his knees, chin in his palms. “but.... why didn’t no one ever tell us this?”

The hand holding his marker rested on his hand and his other hand reached behind his head to pet his braid. “Uh.. Yeah.. I gotta say that all the shit we’re supposed to know don’t seem to come in the right order. That’s such a pain in the ass, but I’m tellin ya... this is how math goes. If ya don’t do it in the right order, shit blows up when ya don’t want it to. I knew some guy that got the o2 mix wrong once and there was salvage for a month.”

“What do those things have to do with each other,” Randy said. “The o2 mix wrong? What’s that mean?”

“So like each space has it’s own oxygen processors and you’ve got to make sure the mix coming out has the right amount of oxygen coming out of the mixer. Oxygen’s a catalyst - makes shit go bang.”

Roy rolled his eyes, snapped his fingers. “Oxygen doesn’t make things explode. All this math shit is just... like alchemy. It’s all just some weird science religion. My Gran says it’s evil, but I gotta pass if I want that scholarship to state. I’ll give you $150 bux, if you do all my homework. Teacher gives me take home tests too, so them and the homework and I’ll give you $200 and a signed football.”

Roger nodded, “Me too man. I ain’t never going to use this shit in real life. If I pass my classes, I’m going to play for Whipple. Gavin said you were great at this shit and I buy it. I’ll give you $200 and I’ll get Amy to suck your dick on Saturdays.”

Duo’s face went pale, an eyebrow arching. “Uhhhhh.”

Gavin came back in carrying a couple of pizza boxes. “Are you fuckers bugging my tutor? I told you to be nice to him.”

“Hey,” Roger said, “I just offered him my bitch’s nice warm mouth.” Roger smirked, made a motion like he was grabbing her tits, squeezing them just so. “Gotta make sure that cow gets milked, baby.”

“That cow’s been milked,” Gavin said, giving Duo a look like he won’t want to drive that car. “‘Sides, Maxwell’s got ass to fuck already.”

“Yeah, but how long’s that gonna be,” Roger said. “I don’t think I could do some Asian chick. I hear their pussies are... small.”

Duo tilted his head, air feeling way too thin to do him any good. The edge of his vision threatened to turn into a headache or go red or a little of both. His first instinct was to say that there was nothing small about Heero, but then it was just like... something was wrong.. and he didn’t understand what he was even upset about.

“Maxwell’s got a boyfriend,” Gavin said, folding one slice of pizza over onto another and taking it like a pizza sandwich.  “So what’d I miss?”

“Oh my god,” Roger groaned, “He’s a faggot?” The fullback growled, face twisting up in instinctive disgust. “Oh man... fucking some tight chink ass... maybe.. I don’t know.. that could be good.. I guess. Does he squeal all cute like when you fuck him? Laura makes these little whimpering sounds when I fuck her ass.”

Duo was in the air before he realized, one hand reaching for Roger’s jersey, the other pulled back in a jaw breaking punch. The only thing that saved Roger’s face was that he went over backwards off the bleecher and into Cade.who was just as surprised as he was.

It took Gavin, Roy, and Jimmy to pull Duo off the bigger guy. “Stop,” Gavin growled, his voice filling the locker room. “We’re men! We don’t fight over bitches!”

Duo ripped himself free from the others grabbed a football up, gripped it so hard he popped it and then threw it at Roger. “You Ever! I mean EVER say anything that suggest that Heero is anything less than human and I will rip your dick and nuts off, shove them so far up you, you’ll bleed once a month for the rest of your fucking life! What the hell is wrong with some people here? Why in the hell would Laura have sex with you if all she does is whimper?”

“They’re women,” Roy said, reaching for pizza. “That’s how god made’em. They’re meant to serve and put out. The Bible says so.”

“Fuck does not!” Duo said, arms folded across his chest, feeling really threatened and fearful. “Father Maxwell ni Sister Helen nev said none that shite!”

Jimmy reached down and pulled his backpack up to where he was. “No, it’s true. God created women to serve men. 1 Corinthians 11:9 .. neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. Are you saved, Duo?”

Duo wasn’t sure what book that was or ... well.. .there just had to something wrong with that. “Saved from what?”

“Hell,” Jimmy said, seriously. “You have to accept Jesus Christ as your savior or you’ll go to Hell.”

Duo rolled his shoulders then reached down to offer Roger a hand up. “Wullllll... uh, Father Maxwell said God loves everyone.”

“Sure,” Jimmy said, “We he... Catholic?”

“Was he your real dad,” Roy asked.

 Duo scratched his head. This was a great deal harder than math. Math was super easy. You got it right - you lived. You got it wrong - you probably blew shit up.  Either way, math was what it was. What they were asking him, while he understood all the words, he really wished Zoe was there to help him understand. “So.. Father Maxwell ran the orphanage. He took me in when I got stealin shit. I guess he was Catholic... Christian, Catholic... close enough. God loves everyone.”

Jimmy held his big black book between his palms. “This here is my Bible. I got it when I turned 16. See, I’m Baptist. The Catholics aren’t really Christian. They kinda worship Mary and stuff. It’s like pagan shit. You gotta get right with God then he can heal everything. He can even make you like girls.”

“I like girls just fine,” Duo said. “I ain’t the one who compared a girl to a cow. You all talk like you think girls are different than you, but they’re just the same.”

“Oh no they ain’t,” Roger said. “Eve was made from Adam’s rib. Women were made to be wives and mother. God has a plan for everyone. God does love everyone. If it wasn’t the best way, He won’t have made it that way.”

“Oh,” Duo said, brows drawing down. He wished they’d never stopped talking about math. Math was safe. “Yeah,” Duo hedged, just completely overwhelmed and freaked out. “I gotta go!”

“Duo! Wait! We should  pray!”

“What about my homework!”

“Email me,” Duo said, grabbing his backpack and racing for the door. “Really gotta go!”

“Maxwell! Wait!”

He wasn’t waiting though. He hadn’t thought about God since the Battle of Chico. Those prayers had seen him looking up to having Relena standing over him, arms out, like some fucking angel. The panic attack was like the ground dropped out from under him. His chest hurt, heart raced. He could hear people screaming, explosions, feel the dislocated shoulder he’d had, the blood running down his side, his fingers broken from when the guy had slammed them in the door and he didn’t realize he was standing in the road, one arm hanging at his side, the other holding onto his backpack.

The oncoming car didn’t see him until he hit the windshield.  The driver screamed, swerved, sending Duo flying back off the hood.

Gavin, who had followed Duo out from the locker room, was scrambling to get his phone out of his pocket. “Hi! Help! We need help! We’re at the high school! A car hit my friend!”


There’s a kind of place where you don’t feel any pain, but it’s not because you’re not in pain, and you know it, because you don’t feel anything at all. There had been a dream, that he was living in a house with a lot of other people and it was like family and there was more than enough food and he had his own room and he was going to school and mostly people liked him. It was a complicated and detailed dream, almost as real as the fighting in Chico had been. The same people were in both though - the big black guy and the little girl. Dream. The fighting was real.

He wished with all his heart though that the house had been real. It could never be real. Places like that just weren’t real. His eyes wouldn’t open and he couldn’t hear Heero. There was no typeity-typeity.  Heero had gotten him away from the battle - he did remember that - being in Heero’s arms.

He couldn’t remember having woken up after that, not till this moment, not counting the crazy ass dream. There couldn’t be any little girl who thought he was her big brother or strange people that walk around on four legs. He could remember a blond guy so vividly talking about there being eggs inside of some people. It had been a crazy, surreal dream.

Heero had the most beautiful eyes. A blue like that shouldn’t be natural. He didn’t really think there was anything after death. If there was, the ghosts would have killed him already.  He’d been really lucky though, having had a chance to kiss Heero. It wasn’t so bad. They knew that they were going to die doing something in the war. Maybe his injuries after that battle had just been too much and Heero OD’ed him. How long did it really take for the brain to shut completely down.

“Get out of my way, before I have him hurt you,” Martha growled in a voice that would one day cow five Gundam Pilots with one breath.

She’d been so obnoxious in the dream, but hearing her voice fade away, Duo thought he really wished she’d been real.

“Dr. Murphy! He’s not your patient.”

“Well, he fucking is now. Joel.”

There was a squeak and Duo knew in the very core of his being that people were what they made of themselves, that no one was made to serve anyone else, and that it was all about what one chose to do. It made him so sad, because he so wanted to choose to do so many things.  He could make the house real, kinda, maybe. Maybe Heero would help him build a house like that and they could take in kids.

“You can’t use that experimental mumbo jumbo in my hospital!” A man growled and Duo just floated, enjoying the bitch slap that his Martha muse was going to give that crazy bastard.  Ain’t no one try to talk to Martha like that. He wished so hard that it hurt that she was his real mom and that babies really did grow inside people, that she’d wanted him so much she let something the size of a small cantaloupe be pushed out.  He imagined being very small, held in her arms, as she and the big black guy, the blond, and the twins smiled at him. Parents.

Then a buster rifle blast hit his chest and he was pretty sure that anything that might have counted as a soul was vomited out against his teeth. He still couldn’t open his eyes, but he could see... see like he’d never seen. There were colors he had no names for made swirling and glittering patterns. Heero smiled at him, a feather hanging from his hair.

Then he was standing  over his passed out body at the battle, Relena shouting gibberish at the  enemy commander, and there he was with Father Maxwell, and he knew without any shadow of a doubt that he was dead, right there on that battle field, but Heero was running towards him and time moved so slow. He turned to Father Maxwell, who wasn’t nearly as tall as Duo remembered him. “So there is an afterlife?”

“Maybe,” Father Maxwell said, pulling Duo into a hug, “But if there is, it’s like a new life in each breath.”

Duo hugged back, but he was staring at the small pale boy laying on what had been a parking lot at some point. There was a lot of blood, most of it not even his.  “I was trying to save them,” Duo said. “I was trying to do good.”

Father Maxwell caressed his hair. “Most people are trying, which is why there are still people. We do more good than bad. I’ve always had faith in you. I’ll always have faith in you. I’m so proud of you.”

Duo pulled back a little, tears in his eyes, “I wanted to marry Heero.”

“And you fucking will,” Martha said, voice tender now as she rocked him, fingers brushing sweaty hair from his face, “Well, you might anyway, but I don’t see why not, at least if you can please stop getting turned into mince.”

“Martha? You’re real? I wanna live in a house with many people. I told Sandy I’d read to her tonight.”

“The pig?” Martha said still rocking him gently. “I’m sure she’ll understand. Why the hell were you standing in the middle of the street?”

“I was... in the battle ... in my head.”

“It’s over now. You’re home and you’re safe. We’re not going to let anything happen to you.”

“We live in a big house?” Duo asked, finally getting his eyes open, though he was pretty sure they weren’t fully open. Either Mary, or M2, as it was really hard to tell the difference, was kissing the white haired doctor who’d been yelling. “Heero’s okay?”

“Heero is fine in Seattle and yes, we live in a big house. Can you please move your feet for me?”

“Uh,” Duo said wiggling both feet and feeling them move under the blankets. “Sure... “  

He wanted to know why she was holding onto him all tenderly, but he really kind of liked it, so he didn’t say anything.

“Hands now please?”

He moved his hands, memories coming back like settling glitter. “So like is okay if I do the football team’s math homework?”

“No,” Martha said, cross. “Of course that’s not okay!”

“Where did people come from?”

“I will explain natural selection to you at another time,” Martha said.

“At least that’s not me this time,” Joel said, holding the guardian nurse as one of the twins deep throated her with a kiss.

“I don’t think she should kiss her if she doesn’t want to. That’s never okay, right? Women weren’t made to be used, right?”

If Martha had been holding something, she would have dropped it. “She’s not really kissing her. She’s using a special talent. Don’t tell anyone, at all, ever that we were here tonight. We’re not going to show up on the security recordings either. I will explain everything to you when you get home.”

“Okay,” Duo said, feeling very small and fragile as she laid him back down on the bed. “Are you my mom?”

“I am now, aren’t I? Rest. You’re going to be sore for a couple of days, but you should be fine.”

Joel gently grabbed his foot, shaking it to get his attention. “Glad you’re okay, brat.”

Duo smiled softly, happy to be in such a good dream. “Thanks. I’m hungry. What time is it? I want to go home.”

“Okay, well, in the interests of the least questions asked, you need to spend the night here. Tomorrow, they’ll check you out. No nasty malpractice for the hospital, no nasty accusations of experimental medicine, see,” Martha coaxed.

One of the twins pulled a couple of sandwiches from her basket like purse, and then an apple, and a bottle of pop. “I just knew you’d be hungry.”

“Thanks!” Duo said, sitting up to reach for the sandwiches. “Is my backpack here? I got homework!”

“Only your own, right,” Martha said, holding his backpack up, but out of his reach.

“Yeah, but they’re gonna be pissy about it. What’s a faggot?”
“Where’d you hear that,” Joel asked, green eyes cold.

Duo took a big bite of sandwich and was thus unable to answer, but he still felt like he’d unleashed the hounds on something.


Heero smoothed over the tablet that he wasn’t supposed to have watching Duo’s vitals like he was watching a train wreck that he was powerless to stop. Duo was dying. Duo was in the hospital for over forty minutes before any serious intervention was applied. When his heart rate stabilized it was sudden and after a huge spike. Something very unusual had happened. They system monitoring Duo’s pain levels had dropped steeply as well.  For a moment, Duo was dying, and then he wasn’t.

Something was very unusual in Wyoming.


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