A Wrench to the Heart 13/?
Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing.
Warning: Okay... so on this chapter I had planned a fight, a lemon - I got to none of them. Next chapter Duo’s gonna visit Ty, have a flashback, and maybe there will be that lemon!
“What the living fuck,” Duo hissed, hands raising in emphasis, “was that all about? And Q? Fifty fucking years of ‘Ima gonna grow old’an die cuz I wanna be with Allah’ and now you’re stridin up in here like a sheriff in Armani?” He spun on Charlotte, pointing accusingly, “You didn’t put that Preventer shit on yer resume!”
She clicked the safety on her weapon and gave him a look like she was expecting a raise.
Quatre sniffed the tea pot, set the lid back, tugged at his cuff and turned to Duo with an amused smirk. “I have, most definitely, spoken in such a manner in my life. Heero and I went adventuring last night and I had a change of heart. Far be it from me to run Allah’s business. If he wishes to call me home, I shall be happy to go, but in the meantime, I have tasks here which need attending to. Duo, I never believed you about Heero. I was wrong. I’m very sorry. Will you please forgive me?”
“Fuck, Q. There’s nothing to forgive. I didn’t always believe me either. What did you and Heero do last night?” He asked suspiciously.
“Miss Charlotte, would you please fetch some fresh tea for Duo and me? I would really like some danish as well.”
Charlotte gave him a long expression - the kind of expression that says you get that you’re not getting a raise, but your job description has also been altered and not for the better. There was going to be medical school. Yes. Yes, there was. “Of course.”
“Thanks, Charlie,” Duo said apologetically. “Wanna check on Julia too?”
For a very small moment there was a look like there wasn’t enough money in the heliosphere to make a big enough raise. “Yeah, Duo. If something is going on here though, I have a right to know what it is. My job description does not include confronting mad scientists in the livingroom.”
Duo listened intently as she spoke, his hands sliding up the sides of his head, fingers pushing brown hair up so it was almost like little cat ears, which he then wiggled with his fingers while smiling playfully. “This house is full of mad scientists. Have you seen Kay’s homework?”
She held her breath for a moment then laughed. “You’re insane.”
“So they keep telling me. You’re pretty handy. Wanna extend yer contract for an extra year?”
“Nope. I’ll get that tea.”
Quatre sat down near Duo, pulling his chair closer. “Use the Moroccan granite method.”
“That takes twenty minutes,” Charlotte snapped.
Comfortable in his chair, Quatre tapped his fingers one after the other on the arm, “Yes. I know.”
She threw her hands up over her head as she walked away.
When she was out of the room, Quatre dropped a privacy circle on the floor and when it was large enough to encompass them, he activated it. “As you know, I have companies working with many cutting edge processes. Using information from Heero’s recovered memories, we were better able to triangulate both the location of The Rage and your location. We need a copy of your mind file in order to restore neural integrity to your mind. You are very resistant to going to a younger mind file.”
“Q,” Duo said patiently, “Mindfiles are in the past. Unless your folk cooked up a fukin TARDIS, there is no mindfile to fix me. I’m going to die. It’s just a matter of time. I’m a greedy shit. I should have left Heero being happy as Alexander.”
“Nonsense. Heero is much happier as Heero and here with you. As it happens though, I do have the ability to do time travel.”
“Oh yer shitin’ me!” Duo said, scooting forward until he was on the edge of his chair. “Really? I wanna go look for Jesus!”
“That is incredibly risky and frivolous and no, you can not go back in time to look for Jesus. Heero and I went to get your mind file from The Rage. We were successful.”
“Let’s fix me then!” Duo said, arms over his head, fingers wiggling.
“Yeah. About that,” Quatre said softly. “While we know that we succeeded. We don’t know where we secured the mindfile.”
“Wait.” Duo said, eyes narrowing. “You and Heero did this super risky thing to get something you need to save my life, getting you both killed in the process, so both of you respawned - in my house - without even telling me you were doing something that dangerous, and while you completed your mission and got the thing I need to not - you know - fucking die, but you don’t know where you put it?”
Quatre tilted his head, nodded appreciatively. “Yes. Exactly.”
Duo leaned back in the queen anne chair, scratched his ear. “So.. how does the time travel thingy work, exactly?”
“I am never telling you that, ever. I will not have you trying to rescue every waif in all of history.”
Duo wrinkled his nose. “It’s not like I can’t figure it out on my own. I’m glad you respawned. Are you going to be here long enough to race a bit, do some fun stuff?”
Quatre pressed two fingers to his temple and sighed. “You are Peter Pan. I’ve been gone from my office for more than a week, counting the trip to L1 and back. What kind of car do you have that I could race?”
“I’ll let you use the Camero,” Duo offered, wiggling his eyebrows.
“Really,” Quatre replied. “Well, maybe another day or so. Heero hasn’t had a chance to see the raceway yet.”
“No, he hasn’t,” Duo said, wiggling his eyebrows.
“What raceway,” Charlotte asked as she wheeled in a cart with tea and pastries.
Duo quickly picked up a pastry and had some in his mouth when he answered, “Uh, I built a raceway, for cars, cars with combustion engines.” He swallowed, smiled sweetly, “It’s pretty cool.” He grinned extra, kinda defensive as she glared.
“Do you mean ... cars that burn fossil fuel?”
“Yeah,” Duo said, chewing, “I got a Mustang that I kitted out to run on jet fuel!”
“That’s dangerous,” she snarled, “and illegal! Fossil fuels were banned for reasons!”
“What reasons,” Duo challenged as he made himself a tea. “Come on, tell me.”
“They’re bad for the air! They’re explosive! They’re rare and difficult to get! Wars were fought over them. Oh and they’re explosive. We’re on a space colony. Did I mention they’re EXPLOSIVE?”
“You, clearly, haven’t driven one,” Duo said, using Quatre’s fancier dialect.
“Mr. Winner! Tell him!” Charlotte looked entirely distressed. The dead do not go to medical school.
“Calm down,” Quatre said, making patting motion with his hand. “The raceway can easily contain full nuclear explosions. We had a full Gundam battle in there before we moved any colonists in. It’s solid as the sun.”
She rubbed her temples firmly, taking a deep breath. There might have been some adrenalin left over from trying to arrest one of the top ten wanted men in the heliosphere. “Now let’s be clear, and I don’t mean to put my employment in any kind of actual jeopardy, but you can’t have had a battle with actual Gundams. They were destroyed after the wars and the only people who could have really piloted those machines are the five saints. They’re all dead. I have personally been to Emperor Chang’s mausoleum and viewed his body.”
“Oh that’s gross,” Duo said, wrinkling his nose. “Did Wu-boy agree to that,” he asked Quatre.
“Apparently,” Quatre said, sipping his tea. “So, if I understand you, Ms. Charlotte, you sound like you don’t think that Duo is the Duo Maxwell nor that I am also one of the five war pilots.”
“How can you be? The wars were a couple hundred years ago. Serious life extension wasn’t even available then. Even now it takes nearly a lifetime of preparation embrace the Long Path. Duo’s only forty-five and it’s just not reasonable that you are THE Quatre Winner. I’m sure the name is popular in your family.”
“I bet you think the ‘real’ Duo was taller,” Duo said, tucking his still bare feet up under his knees.
“I don’t mean to hurt your feelings,” Charlotte said softly, “But you are a little short.”
“Come on, I’m 5’5”. There were nutritional deficiencies in my childhood.”
“See? The Five Saints were all engineered to be perfect pilots. You know the stories. We all learned them in elementary school.”
“Really,” Duo asked, grimacing. He glared at Quatre.
Quatre shrugged. “It was Trowa’s idea. It has kept people from actually looking for us.”
“Great,” Duo deadpanned. “Galen! Give me a copy of a textbook with the story of the Five Saints.”
Galen walked out of the wall hands on a book that was still manifesting. “You do realize I have important work to do, do you not?”
Quatre sighed. “Why do you let him talk to you like that? My computer is still strutting around claiming to be Pikachu. I really do blame you for that.”
“Never mind that,” Duo said opening up the book, “Look at this shit! It says I’m six foot two with one blue eye and one purple eye and that I’m a girl. This book says I’m a girl. Galen! Is this a legit textbook.”
Charlotte leaned over it, smiling with nostalgia. “Yeah. Looks just like the one I had in school. I forgot about Duo being a girl. She was never my favorite. I always dreamed about Saint Yuy.”
“That’s funny,” Heero said from the doorway. He wore Duo’s old grey Preventer’s workout gear, his hair wet from a shower, blue eyes smirking with amusement. “The most surreal thing is that I remember reading that book as a child, as Alexander, but I know I didn’t. Duo was always my favorite.” He winked.
Duo blushed, swallowed. “I still don’t like this. It’s all a lie. I don’t like lies.”
“Do you want media people from Earth on your doorstep every other day? You got bug nuts crazy that year they showed up here on Heero Yuy Day a few years ago. If I remember, that’s why you go camping every year. Don’t second guess Trowa’s work. No one is better at camoflauge than he is.”
Charlotte sank down to the floor, her hands in her hair, staring up at the three of them as heero leaned to kiss Duo’s neck and Quatre sipped tea, cool as fresh ice cream in July. All of them were smaller than she would have expected, but as she thought about it, that actually made some kind of sense. All of Duo’s behaviors.... My god... it made sense. If anyone was going to have access to life extension it would be the Winner family and gods knew they were well disposed to Duo Maxwell, her boss, who god, it all made so much sense that she felt like a complete idiot for not seeing it sooner. “I really want a raise.”
“I’ll include support during your residency period, on condition that you sign binding non-disclosure agreements,” Quatre offered.
“I’ll let you practice on Camelot,” Duo said smiling, leaning back into Heero’s touch. “I’ll let you drive my Mustang! Once.”
“The one that runs on jet fuel," she asked as if he'd offered her cyanide.
“I’m very excited about medical school,” Charlotte said firmly. “I’m going to be a fantastic doctor.”