A Wrench to the Heart 10/?
Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing
That conversation lasted a few minutes, and then Duo passed out again. Alexander was much more okay with this sleep though because it was more like a normal sleep with his new friend rolling and kicking at the covers. He didn’t expect him to sleep too long, so he went downstairs to work on lunch. He approved of the layout of the house - with a healthy play area in the back with an obstacle course and a good track to run on, study areas on the first floor with work stations and functional laboratory for exploratory work, and even a small stage for theater and art productions. The kids said that Duo occasionally sang. The idea of Duo singing was way more erotic to him than he had any right to be thinking about as he cut up apples to feed to children that he fully expected were like his... step-children?
The hair on the back of his neck stood up and out of the corner of his eye, he saw a small boy crawling down the counter towards him. “Get off the counter,” Alexander said, without taking his eyes off the apples he was cutting up.
Of all the children in the home, Roy was the most mysterious to Alexander. All the rest of them had backstories and explanations. Most of them came from some space going culture that didn’t want to assimilate with contemporary culture or had some kind of trauma that made them difficult to treat. Alessa had an unreasonably high IQ and had been sent to Tintagel so an educational plan could be adapted to her. Roy was more of a mystery to Alexander. His records were classified and Duo wasn’t awake enough to answer questions about him.
“Get off the counter, Roy,” Alexander said again.
The boy was small, with slightly green hair and unsettling silver eyes. “No.”
Alexander wiped the knife off and put it back in the knife rack. “Excuse me?”
“It is not acceptable for you to be on the counter. We prepare food on the counter and it is a health concern. Please remove yourself from the counter.”
“Are you gonna kill the monsters?”
“There are not such things as monsters,” Alexander said in his most comforting voice.
Roy sat back, crossing his legs in the same way that Duo seemed to like to sit. Those silver eyes glared at Alexander as if he were stupid. “Well, if Daddy’s sick, somebody has gotta kill the monsters.”
Alexander was hesitant to reach out and move the child off the counter. The littlest girl who had been a baby when he’d first walked through the door turned into a really realistic ‘face hugger’ when he picked her up to bring her inside. Sister Maria had tried desperately to get the thing off, but it didn’t budge until Charlie screamed Julia’s name and threatened to wake Duo by force if she had to. Alexander felt justified in not touching another child at this point. “There are no monsters, Roy. There are only people. I will protect you from people.”
Roy sat back, swinging his legs over the side, and sucked on his thumb for a moment. “I want an apple slice,” he said around his thumb.
Alexander felt as if he were being extorted, but he didn’t really mind giving the kid a slice of apple. “Yes.”
He handed over a slice of apple and the kid licked it, eyed the slices in the bowl. “They’re all the same size.”
“Is it hard?” Roy asked while chewing.
“No.” Alexander said, moving on to the carrots he was cutting for the stirfry that Charlie said she wanted to make for dinner.
“The monsters made me eat my brother. Can I have another apple?”
Alexander’s eyebrow twitched. “I’m sorry they did that,” he said, offering him another slice of apple.
“I don’t think the monsters are afraid of you,” Roy said judgmentally. “You’re not scary.”
“I’m glad,” Alexander said. “I don’t want to be scary, but I would like you to get off the counter please.”
The boy’s tongue flicked out to lick the apple and Alexander was sure he saw it was forked. He slipped from the counter and ran out the back door.
This was the island of lost toys. Alexander took a slow breath and went back to chopping carrots.
There were five pounds of carrots left to be peeled and chopped when the door was knocked upon. Irritation. There were too many people in this house. People coming. People going. People who weren’t people. Carrots which weren’t getting chopped and Alexander whipped his knife, put it in the rack.
The space between the kitchen and the front door was a large open sitting space, that no one ever seemed to use. Couches and chairs were spaced around the space, which seemed normal and fine to Alexander, but the slide and several swings that hung from the ceiling grated on his sense of normalcy.
He was still irritated when he got to the door and pulled it open with more force than might have been needed. There were two men on the step, both in Preventer’s uniform, which set Alexander’s stomach to twitching. The guy in the front had long dark hair and brown eyes. He smiled like he was coming home. “Hi,” he said cheerfully as he started to move towards the open door.
Alexander blocked the space, pulling the door just narrow enough for him to stand there. “Yes.”
“Uh. I’m Raine Maxwell. I’ve come to see my dad. Who the hell are you?”
The guy with him put a hand on Raine’s shoulder while reaching into his jacket to pull out an ID. “We’re with Preventers. We’re not here on official business or anything. We heard Duo was sick and we wanted to come see him. He served in the Second Medical Corps in his time. We brought him a video and a card.” The guy smiled calmly.
His heart hurt, literally hurt. “I’m Alexander Tanaka.”
Raine wedged his way in, slipping past Alexander and smiling as Alexander glared. “Are you the new assistant?”
“So you his boyfriend then,” Raine asked, dropping a backpack on the couch and bending to take off his boots. “You ain’t been here long if you still wearing shoes in his house, dude.”
Alexander rubbed his temple. He’d never had guests at his old house, ever. His world consisted of math, transfer orbits, and teaching arrogant people how not to die while navigating. At no point... at anyone ever bitten him on the calf. The pain in his leg drew his eyes down to his right calf where Roy was literally chomping on his leg, curled around him like some angry cat. Mouth open, he just stared.
Raine reached down and grabbed the kid by the scruff of the neck, holding him up in the air as his legs wheeled in the air. “Now, you know better than that! Dad don’t let you bite folk, does he?”
Roy’s definitely forked tongue flashed out, flickering in the air, and he went limp, hanging by the scruff of his neck. “HE don’t believe in monsters!”
“Most folk don’t,” Raine said, “That ain’t no cause to be biting them! I’m gonna put you down, then you’re gonna go the sitting room and meditate for two full clicks. Don’t you make me tell Dad on you.”
“Yes, Sir,” Roy said where he hung in the air. “Don’t tell Dad. Please. I won’t bite him no more.”
“You better not bite anyone. You know it makes people sick, Roy. Now go think about what you did.” He set Roy down on his feet and pointed to the hall by the kitchen. “As for you,” Raine turned to Alexander. “You’re going to want to go to the first aide kit, right away. If his saliva got on you, well, it can cause psychosis. I know Dad likes crazy folk, but that could still cause problems.”
“Really,” Alexander said, already striding towards to the first aide kit in the kitchen. “Psychosis.... “
His fingers were centimeters from the activation button when he fell through the rabbit hole.
He didn’t know where he was. The air smelled of oil and blood, sulfur, ozone. Floor under his feet felt shaky and hot. As the world came into focus, Duo was on a small bridge in front of him. Wind, actual wind, so they were on some planetary body, lifted that long braid and twisted it round. He was the most beautiful sight Alexander... Heero had ever seen. He was Heero Yuy.
Decades of training, bullet wounds, bruises, emotional abuse all dumped on him at once and he dropped to his knees in Duo’s kitchen, five pounds of carrots still unpeeled in the sink.
In the memory, Duo went to a knee in front of him, those splendid violet eyes filled with so much love. “You have to get up, ‘Ro. Just a little farther, I promise, ‘kay?”
Heero had never felt so vulnerable, so lost. Not a single day in Alexander’s childhood memories left him feeling so lost, so completely undone that the world had only point that made any sense. “They can’t get us now,” he said, and he could hear his own voice, so frail and frightened. Still adult and not dissimilar to the voice he’d always known for himself, but in that moment raw and wounded innocence of a soul completely stripped of defenses, of sense. “We’re going to be okay?”
Duo smiled at him, winked. Not a smudge of soot touched that face, no red, no scrapes, even his hair which the wind tossed, was all smooth and neat. “Just a little farther, Heero. I promise, I’ll never let them hurt you again. They’ll never find you.”
“Us,” Heero said firmly. Duo motioned for him to move farther across the bridge, but each step was fire through his bones, electric in his teeth. “Us, Duo!”
Love moved him forward. Moving closer to Duo was worth whatever temporary pain his body gave him. Somehow he finished at the end of the narrow metal catwalk bridge. Duo was squatting down next to an escape pod. “Come on, Baby,” he said, winking, still completely pristine, even though the very air seemed on fire, glittering bits of debris floating on the wind. “You get in first. You know I love you more than anything in the world, right?”
“Yeah,” Heero said, groaning loudly as he knelt and half fell into the escape pod. “I love you too. I love you so much, Duo! I can’t live without you,” he said, and god, he knew... in that memory he relived all over again realizing that Duo wasn’t actually there with him. “I. Can. Not. Live.... Without. You.”
“I know, Baby,” Duo said, leaning closer to touch their lips together. The kiss felt so real, but even in the memory Heero knew it was only the memory of a memory that felt real. “You’re gonna be okay. I took care of it. You’re gonna be happy and safe.”
“Where are you? I’ll find you!” Heero said, desperate, but unable to fight against the pod as it sedated him, applying medical care, easing his pain, pulling him into the sleep that would keep him until rescue.
“Baby,” Duo said softly, fingers brushing over Heero’s lips. “I love you. I’m on The Rage, but I’m as good as dead. I’m hamburger. I can’t get in a pod. I’m done. Sleep, Sweetie, just sleep. When you wake up, everything will be okay.”
The pod closed, cutting through the simulation that was Duo. The last bits of simulation glowed and scattered like a soul dispersing.
“Hey,” Duo said.
Heero opened his eyes. They both lay on the kitchen floor. The rest of the crew was working on dinner. The scent of beef roast and fresh bread filled the kitchen. Duo looked good, refreshed, color in his cheeks, soft rosy lips. Heero reached up to brush chocolate bangs back, to feel that silky splendid hair. “I love you.”
Duo blinked, slow, lips parting. For a moment held his lower lip between his teeth. “Heero?”
Charlie leaned over them both, hands on her hips. “Good. Get off my floor. We’re making dinner here.”