Cracked Heart 2/?
Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing
Warning: This came out with some religious feel to it... no disrespect was meant to anyone.
Note: The whole Santa Clarita story series has been so formative for me. I expect it’s pretty disjointed to anyone who isn’t me, but in many ways, it’s me growing up... somehow. On my birthday, which is what today is, I want to revisit what I think is the best in me and the best in the world.
The world was still rebuilding after the wars. Torn buildings, torn communities, torn hearts - none of them made for a comfortable peace.
Relena had become president of the Earthsphere in the same month that Heero became her husband. The terms were fair. Each hoped for things and each knew the other hoped for something else. She had funded his search for Duo. She had searched for Heero’s heart. Both were treasures that could be found. While Heero found Duo and rescued him from the virtual reality prison he’d been in, Relena had also found Heero’s heart and it beat in Duo’s chest.
Somewhere along the way, she’d also found her own heart too though and a sense of peace she’d never imagined along the way. Duo had been back a month and living in his own rooms in the presidential palace when she entered her rooms to find Heero laying on her bed, his arm over his eyes.
“Heero,” she asked, stopping at the foot of the bed to peel out of her suit jacket.
“Right. What are you doing here?”
“Laying on your bed.”
“I see. Where’s Duo?”
“I don’t know.”
She arched an eyebrow, pulled her phone from her slacks pockets, tapped on the custom app her staff had made and it brought up a map of the palace. Duo was in his rooms. “He’s in his rooms.”
She was glad his arm was over his eyes because she was rolling hers. “Why aren’t you there?”
He sat half way up, both hands on the bed behind him. “Do you want me to go? Are you unhappy with me because he’s back?”
“Of course not,” she said, sitting down on the foot of her bed and reaching out to lay a hand on his sock covered foot. “I just thought you two might be getting along better since he joined Preventers.”
“He joined Preventers as a Colonel and a medical doctor. He’s a surgeon like no one has ever seen. He KNOWS stuff that no one else knows. I’m 17. He’s ... not.”
“You’re hardly a normal 17 year old, Heero Yuy. He loves you, you know that. Right?”
“What is love? Is that like feeling happy when you look at a picture of someone else’s cat? Some uncontrolled rush of endorphins because we received visual stimulus that triggers a primitive instinct? Is that what he feels when he looks for me?”
“Heero Yuy,” Relena said giving his foot a squeeze, “No one in the Earthsphere thinks of kittens when they see you. Nothing has really changed. He knows more stuff. His head is full of ideas and impossible things. He is the sun, but you are gravity. You keep him in one piece. You give him being when he’d just fly apart without you. What brought this on?”
“He kept up with me when we ran this morning. His body is... different.”
“I’m going to guess. He does say he’s 600 years old. I’ve never known him to lie, Heero. Why does it matter that he can run as fast as you can now?”
Heero drew his knees up, arms wrapping around them, blue eyes staring at her like she was his best friend and he was only seventeen. “We had balance. He had the wild ideas to go do stuff and I had the strength to protect him and make things work. I had purpose. That’s why I could never stop looking for him, trying to free him. He needed me.”
“Heero, you have inspired a lot of thoughts about love in me,” she said, her hand withdrawing from his foot when he glared at her. “I am not pursuing you romantically, Heero, I’m just saying that I have thought a lot about love. It’s not about need. It’s something else. He’s still your Duo and maybe you don’t love him, but maybe you do. You should spend more time with him and see. I also, can promise you, that his love for you could not have been because you were physically strong. You don’t have to be the best at things to be valuable.”
“So says the princess of the world,” Heero said, unconvinced. “He’s so busy he doesn't have time to look at me, let alone look at me like I’m his hero. Maybe he just thinks of me as a child. Maybe he wants the Heero of the dream world.”
“Maybe he does,” Relena allowed. “You’re the Heero He loved first. He loved you so much that the computer couldn’t retain him unless it added you. This isn’t a problem you can just blow up.”
There was a sharp knock on her door. She sighed. “Yes.”
The door opened and neatly dressed assistant stepped in. “Madam, the ‘protest’ on the north side has turned violent. The Chief of Staff has requested you to take shelter in the secure work center as there is a very small chance that they may be able to break through perimeter defenses.”
Relena leapt from the bed, hands thrown over her head. “God! I don’t know what these beggars want!”
Heero’s face went pale. He’d gone from a moment of relative safety with a friend to an impending combat situation. Killing simmered just under the color of his blood, like a bad dream that never could be fully woken up from. There were two people he acknowledged that he loved and both of them were in a structure about be buffeted by an armed riot. Of the three of them, he wasn’t the strongest anymore. The feeling squeezed his insides, made it hard to breath. His chest felt fragile as glass, like one more drop of water and he’d shatter into uncountable numbers of shards.
“Heero! Are you listening to me! You have to get up and come with me. This is no time to have a panic attack!”
“What?” He blinked at her.
“You’re having a panic attack.” Now that he was looking at her, she reached out to lay a hand on his hand. “We need to go to a secure location. Everything will be okay.”
“The staff is looking for him. Come with me. Everything is going to be okay.”
Heero nodded, finding comfort in obedience. “Duo... I need to know he’s safe. I should go find him.”
“Let the staff find him, Heero, and I should also like to point out that Duo Maxwell is perfect able to take care of himself.”
Relena’s assistant’s mouth dropped open as her hand pressed her earpiece deeper into her ear. “Please repeat.”
Relena grabbed her favorite pillow and a bag from her closet to throw a change of clothing into. Heero held his breath.
The assistant’s eyebrows drew down, then one shot up, her lips lemoning and Heero, in his slightly on edge state thought he might have heard a snake’s warning rattle. “MaDAME. Mr. Maxwell has, apparently, exited via the north to provide medical aide to the hooligans.”
“What?” Relena snapped, her own face twisting up.
Heero burst out laughing, slightly insane and more than a little on edge. As soon as the first burst was gone, he took off at a run, dodging the assistant who had the nerve to reach for him. He wore tight and practical shorts and a loose gray sweatshirt that he’d casually stolen from Duo because it smelled like him. He took the servant’s corridors and down the stairs four at a time.
The north was the main entrance and had a huge hall filled with antiques and other status items. A couple dozen defense troops had laid in defensive barriers and were looking like they were ready to hold their ground.
They saw him coming though, running at a power sprint in bare legs and yellow sneakers just like the ones he’d worn in the war. He jumped, one foot just touching on the first barrier as he flew over. The commander of the group, who had been by the door, looked utterly terrified and pulled open the door so there was nothing between Heero and his exit. (They’d just barely recovered from when Duo went through them by force. He’d somehow inflicted uncontrollable laughter on them all.) Heero ran out the door and jumped to be on the outer barrier.
A crowd of nearly two thousand protesters seemed like an endless ocean from where Heero balanced. Duo nearly glowed with a golden light. His braid was hastily done, bits of brown going in all directions. He wore a pale blue tee-shirt and rattie jeans that showed off a bit of his right leg. His boots were only partially laced and Heero could see where the leather curled and hung open. A white strap went over his shoulder and down to a big white box with red crosses on it.
The people around him had stopped fighting. In all skin shades, different clothes, no unified culture, just a hodgepodge of people that looked more like refugees to Heero than combatants, but they were all focused on Duo as he chatted them up, grinning and handing out patches that he pulled form something that looked like a big square tape dispenser on his shoulder. In the distance though, there were gunshots and screaming, the sudden flare of some car set on fire.
There was a confidence and a strength in his Duo that his fragile little brown hawk had never had. He’d just walked into a riot and was calming it by just talking to people and handing out stickers. Heero’s heart felt like it would break in two. His identity was strongly bound to Duo and while Duo had been missing and presumed dead, that identity had easily tied itself to the search. He’d really expected to find a mentally unstable, emotionally volatile fifteen year old. Instead he found Jesus Fucking Christ in a braid with blow jobs skills like the buddha had taught him the keys to Nirvanah, and Heero stood there at the top of the stairs, no body armor on, hands in wild brown hair, and wondered if this was what a mental breakdown and the start of psychosis felt like.
There was a squeak beside him and he about jumped out of his skin, only to find a cute little kitty styled robot offering him a bottle of water. “Hello, Sen! You’re dehydrated and low on electrolytes. Please accept this custom made water which will help you feel much better. Please don’t commit acts of violence, but respect the light in all beings.”
“Hn,” he said accepting the water, knowing the little kitty robot was something Duo had obviously made. Only then did he realize that like a hundred of them were running into the crowd. They were like ice cubes flowing into boiling soup, he thought, cooling the tempers and soon this ripple effect of laughter and peace. Soon the little kitty robots were handing out lunches and waters and playing music.
Another little kitty, this one with a calico paint job stopped with him a moment, handed him another water, and when it smiled, Heero really considered that he might really be experiencing a bit of psychosis. After all, who brings a hundred snack giving kitty robots to an armed riot? He sat down on the stairs, opened the water and drank while watching Duo bounce from one person to another.
About half way through the water bottle, Heero felt calmer, more grounded, more self worth, a nearly complete lack of what now seemed like completely irrational fear and self doubt. He lifted the seemingly innocent bottle up, eyeing the stuff that looked and tasted just like filtered water. That’s when the laughter hit, bright and shiney, bubbling up in him like he was reborn. He took another long drink of the water. One hand on the steps behind him, he leaned back a little and just watched the change ripple through what had been a murderous mob. Dr. Duo Maxwell was drugging an armed mob into a hippy rave.
All righty then.
Flowers were showing up in people’s hair. The music was louder now. People had started dancing and Duo danced with them, still passing out those little patches. A group pushed through the crowd and people actually seemed to move and let them like the water inspired civil behavior in people. They carried a woman between them, blood splattering the ground like a busted fuel line.
Heero busted open the other bottle of water, leaned forward, blue eyes narrowing as Duo motioned for them to set her down on the ground. She was frantic and sobbing. A chill went through the crowd around Duo and Heero’s heart seized up a bit. If they turned on him, Duo was too far away for Heero to reach him in time to do much good. Only then did he remember he didn’t have a gun or any other weapon and the idea of going back inside and asking if he could please have a machine gun seemed like a poor choice.
Duo knelt by her opened his case and Heero wasn’t sure if Duo was a doctor or a mother fucking wizard. Either way he became focused, his brows drawing down, tongue between his teeth, and there was just a bit of the broken little hawk that Heero longed for. Several of the little kitty robots came around him, forming both a defensive line and a surgical support team. Heero covered his mouth with a hand, lips pursing up, face lengthening. If he could go back in time and tell his Duo, say the last day they were in Rio together, what he was going to be doing in two years, desperate trauma surgery on the ground in front of the presidential palace, surrounded by kitty robots that gave out flowers and drugged water... medicinal water... yeah, that wouldn’t have gone over good.
Somewhere deeper in his mind he had a conversation with himself... about what he thought was possible for himself and about how he was clearly wrong. It was impossible to know what his own limitations were because he’d been too busy being afraid of everything, everything from Duo not wanting him, people’s expectations of him and failing them, and he realized he’d been - for as long as he could remember - been afraid of the failed mission. Any mission failure... and he just wasn’t afraid anymore, not in that moment.
Leaving his half done bottle of water on the stairs, he ran down towards where the crowd surrounded Duo. It had been minutes; it couldn’t have been more than minutes. Duo was helping the woman to her feet, hugging her warmly.
Heero was close enough to hear Duo’s words then, the still squeaky voice of a body that had had its puberty delayed with cryo preservation. To see how actually small his brilliant brown hawk still was, and yet to see a glow of love in him that Heero didn’t even know how to understand. When Duo let her go, hands on her shoulders, a brilliant grin on his face, Heero could see where she’d taken a bullet to her abdomen, the blood that ruined her clothes. There was an angelic glow on her face now.
For a moment there was a silence that seemed to fall over the whole crowd. The sounds of gunfire had stopped. The dawn was coming up at the horizon, and Heero realized it must have been more time than he’d thought. A cheer went through the crowd, rippling like some organic thing.
Duo turned and saw him then and his grin was beyond bright. Heero’s mouth dropped open as Duo ran towards him. Duo jumped and Heero managed to catch him out of some instinct that still linked them. Duo wrapped his legs around Heero’s waist, arms around his neck, grinning like an incarnation of the sun. “Baby! You’re here! I love you so much!”
Duo kissed him then and Heero’s entire being turned to melted frosting butterflies. He held onto his force of nature, kissed him back, letting Duo’s tongue own his mouth, because frankly, Duo had enough energy for two and Heero just was happy to be along for the ride. He wrapped his arms around Duo holding him close like hadn’t done since he’d pulled him out of the computer system, since he’d gotten him back. For the first time since Rio, since maybe ever, they were both okay and there was nothing other than love and acceptance between them.
Wet lips against Duo’s, Heero said, “I’m sorry I’ve been so afraid. I love you and there’s nothing we can’t make right.”
“Damn straight,” Duo said, slipping down from where he’d been clinging to Heero. “I got a bit of work to do though. “Hang out with me for a while.”
“Yeah,” Heero agreed.
Inside the presidential palace, the commander and chief of staff, both fully armored, peered over the top of their interior barricade. They looked at each other, back at the dancing crowd. It was a different world.