A Wrench to the Heart 14/?
Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing. It’s just my safe space where I’m hiding.
Duo didn’t have perfectly clear memories of the day Ty had showed up in the backyard. He remembered getting into the car. He remembered waking up feeling really good. Something - clearly - had happened in between. He did, mostly, remember promising to visit every day. So he was a few days behind on that promise.
He couldn’t say he really had fond memories of The Center anyway. So he sat there in front of it, feeling memories coming back - memories he didn’t want. What he wanted was a novo sucker, to lick it and roll it in his mouth, as the world turned lovely and sweet and all the fear would go away, as if he’d never felt it at all.
The flashback slipped around him like water closing over his head while sinking. He squatted in some alley. The gravity felt heavy, Earth gravity, or L1, but L1 had never been this dirty, his hair matted, a tangled braided dreadlock he petted in the darkness. Heero was dead. Dead. But Death hadn’t come for him. Again. It never came for him, because he was death. He brought death like the void brought cold.
Then he wasn’t alone. The man kneeling in front of him was so beautiful. Much more delicate than Heero, and his skin was darker, his eyes a dark brown rather than blue. There was something familiar about the man, like they’d know each other, like they were closer than friends. Duo remembered pulling back in that moment and he pulled back where he sat in his mustang, belly pulling back to his spine.
“Here,” the man said, offering Duo a blue sucker, “Just put it in your mouth. It’ll make you feel much better. I promise.”
The man had been Sung Chang. He’d been right. That candy had made Duo feel much better. Novo’ll do that to ya, but it’s a very expensive better.
Almost fifty years later, after being clean for forty years, the sudden craving was enough to make throwing his whole life away seem worth the price. After all, how long did he really have? They weren’t going to get an uncorrupted mind file. He was going to continue to have seizures and lose a little more of his mind each time. Novo offered bliss and car racing.... Then Heero could go back to Alexander and be safe. The idiot wouldn’t be risking his life to save a life that was mostly gone anyway.
A knock on his window caught him and he nearly jumped in his seat. Heero waved. He was on one of Duo’s motorcycles, black helmet on, visor lifted.
Duo waved back, feeling sheepish for the thought’s he’d just been harboring. He wanted to be so much better for Heero, so much stronger, healthier. He didn’t deserve to be loved like this.
Heero motioned for him to roll down his window, which he did. “Hey. You didn’t have to come.”
“You didn’t say I couldn’t,” Heero countered.
“You shouldn’t have risked your life last night,” Duo said, suddenly angry as hell that Heero had done that without even telling him. “You have no fucking idea what you being dead did to me!”
“Yes. I do,” Heero said forcefully. “Yesterday I remembered you saving my life and telling me that you were dying, that you’d take care of everything for me. You created Alexander because you knew I couldn’t live without you. Last night, Quatre and I used time travel for the first time, as far as I know. We saved your life. If we hadn’t done that, your entire life since The Rage is gone. All the kids you’ve helped, everything. When we found you, you had more bullet wounds than I counted, had had two strokes, a heart attack, serious burns and abrasions over 40% of your body. You described yourself as hamburger and you weren’t wrong. When Quatre and I picked you up to move you, you screamed in pain for the whole trip to the life pod. I am never going to forget that. So today, and for the next few days, you’re going to live with me tagging around after you. Is that okay with you?”
“Yeah,” Duo said, deflated of his anger, but washed out, like all the internal structures holding him up had become a house of cards. “I... I’m sorry.”
Heero set the helmet on the magnetic rack in the back then leaned into Duo’s window, giving him a gentle kiss. “I love you. Love is a great mystery, but in you I find all that is valuable in life. Will you marry me?”
“Woah.. you mean like more than we already are?”
“I have all my memories,” Heero said as he tugged on one of Duo’s bangs. “We have been friends. We have been lovers. We have lived together. I was going to ask on The Rage. I never got the chance. Will you marry me, Duo Maxwell?”
“Yeah,” Duo said, coming up out of the window, hands moving into Heero’s hair.
Heero wrapped his arms around him and pulled him the rest of the way out of the window and onto the black motorcycle in front of him. The kiss sent shivers through Duo, but Heero held him, biting gently, tongues touching. Duo shifted around, straddling the motorcycle backwards, thighs pressing to Heero’s waist. “The bike has insta shell. Take me around my loop, fast, please, then we’ll go in and see Tyla.”
“Hn,” Heero agreed. The bike rumbled to life. Heero revved it hard, making it growl like a monster. Duo snuggled against him, face hidden against Heero’s neck. Heero held the bike in check as it reeved and when he released it, the front wheel lifted off the ground for a moment. Duo’s loop was used by other people as well, but infrequently. Most people used the train or the public loop. The colony’s AI which was related to Galen, kept all other traffic out of their way when Heero roared onto it. Due to the slightly lower gravity on the colony, the ideal road conditions, and Duo’s insane engineering, the bike was faster than any bike should be. Near the completed circuit of the colony, they broke the speed of sound. Both the bike and the enclosed roadway generated a shield around them that protected them from unpleasant temperatures and friction. There was the pull, the speed, increased (but not uncomfortable) G force.
As Heero decelerated, slowly bringing them back off at the same exit they’d entered. The loop only went in one direction, so there was only one portal at each exit. They rolled up to The Center with the same direction they’d had previously.
“Better,” Heero asked.
“You’re perfect,” Duo said softly, kissing Heero’s cheek. “Still wanna marry me?”
“Yes. We should do it while my parents are here.”
“Does it really feel like they are your parents?”
“Yeah. I don’t know how you found them or how you did it, but when I run their genetics and mine, there is a 95% likelihood that they are both my actual parents. For a man who doesn’t like lies, you did a really good job with that one.”
“I don’t know what happened, but I don’t know that I’m capable of doing all that. These days just not fucking my life over sideways is about all I can manage.”
Heero powered the bike down behind Duo’s car, scritched the back of Duo’s neck. “Things are going to get better. We will find the uncorrupted mind file. We will enjoy the hell out of being alive for a very long time.”
“That is the best plan I have ever heard,” Duo said. “You gonna wear white in our wedding?”
“If it would make you smile,” Heero said, tugging Duo’s braid. “You came here because one of your kids has an addiction problem?”
“Yeah. Novo is some shit. I’m never going to be really free of it.” Duo said, his thumb brushing over Heero’s lower lip. “Sometimes I want it so bad... there’s no me left, only just wanting that damn shit.”
“There isn’t any of it on Camelot, is there?”
“No. It’s not allowed,” Duo said, climbing down from the motorcycle.
“And yet you have The Center which treats Novo addiction,” Heero asked, curious. “What substance was Tyla using?”
“Novo,” Duo said, frowning, before he shook his head, letting go of the question.
“Where did she get it,” Heero asked.
Duo felt a sharp pain in his head, right behind his eyes, which darkened. “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” Shinigami hissed.
“That’s interesting,” Heero said.
“What is,” Duo asked, rubbing his arms, feeling suddenly chill. “I think maybe we should do stew for dinner, with biscuits. What do you think?”
“I think you’re an accomplished engineer and a solidly passable medical doctor. You should let Charlotte and the house AI do the cooking.” Heero said, keeping a straight face as he hooked an arm around Duo’s arm.
“Ouch,” Duo said, laying his head on Heero’s shoulder. “My food hasn’t poisoned you yet.”
“Not since that one time when we were 15.”
“I had limited resources and no net access. How was I to know it would make us sick, slightly sick?”
“Duo, you cooked a road kill skunk.”
“You ate it.”
“I was hungry,” Heero admitted, “At least I wasn’t hungry for a few days afterwards.”
“There are no skunks on Camelot,” Duo said, but then, just as they walked under the arch and into The Center’s grounds, “They’re kinda cute. I should put some.”
“No thank you,” Heero said, brushing a bit of bang back out of Duo’s face. “How about some racoons? We could download into little bandit bodies and knock over trash cans.”
“No trash cans on Camelot, but we could make our eyes glow and look in folk’s windows.”
“Someone would shoot us.”
“Possibly. Probably. Might still be fun.”
“Hn,” Heero agreed, and then the door opened and a nice person, gender not easy to tag, but the person was wearing a Catholic sister’s black and white garb, so Heero decided sister would be okay. “Hello, Sister. We’ve come to visit Tyla....”
“Tyla Maxwell,” Duo added. “And I could stand to stand in the light for a few minutes, myself.”
“Welcome, my children,” she said. “Come into the light. All are welcome here.”
Duo leaned close and whispered, “The light is also a little bad for some kinds of cognition.”
“Really,” Heero hissed, wrapping his arm around Duo’s shoulders, pulling him close.
They were shown to Ty’s room and she stood on a soothing blue light circle. A lovely chandelier hung above her, sending glittering fractured blue light down over her. She stood on it, wearing a yellow robe that draped around her, a little like an old fashioned Buddhist monk.
“Hey,” Duo said, loud enough to get her attention.
Her eyes fluttered open. Confusion clouded her face for a moment then she was flying into his arms. “Dad! I’m so glad to see you! Where have you been? I was afraid Dash killed you!”
He rubbed her back, patted her head. “I ain’t gone ta see’im yet. No worries.”
“Then where ya been,” she snapped, accusing, pulling back, arms across her chest. “You said you’d visit me everyday, Dad! Who’s this sucker? You got a new boyfriend?”
Duo grinned brightly, smiled at Heero.
All the irritation Heero had been feeling with this girl disappeared when Duo smiled at him.
“So this is Heero Yuy. He’s moving in. We gonna get married.” Duo shoved his hands into his back pockets, rocked onto the balls of his feet and back. “Maybe you’ll be well enough to come.”
“Uh,” she said. “Dad, you know he’s not really Heero Yuy, right?”
“Now, I know it’s a bit of a shock,” Duo said, hands up kind of defensively. “I’ve been single for a long time.”
“You’re not single,” Ty snapped. “What did you tell Sung?”
“Wuulll,” Duo said, fighting off the pain in his head.
“Duo,” Heero said gently. “I thought I saw you put a gift basket in the car when you left. Why don’t you go get it and give Tyla and I a moment to get acquainted,” he asked with authority in his voice, smiling and kind, but not really making it a question.
“Yeah, okay,” Duo said, brow furrowed, lips thin and twisted. “I did put a gift basket in the car. I’ll be right back.”
As soon as Duo was far enough away, Tyla turned on Heero, nose wrinkling. “You better run, you fucking pretender. Sung’ll make mince out of you, just like he did the real Heero Yuy. He showed me the real one’s body once. So I know you’re not the real one.”
“Perhaps I’m not the original,” Heero allowed, and given that he’d re-spawned less than twelve hours before, he knew he wasn’t the original, “but a man is the kah not the coat. I will also tell you this,” he said in words cold enough to dim the sun, “That if you do not speak kindly to Duo, with love and gentleness, I will make sure that you regret your existence, and do not wish to live. There is a great deal of difference between wishing for death and wishing for Nirvanah the way you’ll wish if I chose to make it so. He has done nothing to harm you, only to help you. You are an adult now, so your problems are of your own fruit.”
“You think you’re a badass, but I’m telling you, Sung will kill you. Shinigami is his,” Ty said, face pale, clearly afraid of both Heero and Sung now.
“No one owns anyone else,” Heero said firmly. “I am Heero Yuy and I have brought down whole armies. I think I can deal with one asshole. You will speak more nicely to your dad going forward, will you not?”
“Yup,” she agreed.
“How do I find Sung Chang,” he asked, smiling politely.
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Ty said softly. “He’ll come for you.”