Dark Wolf 1-13/?



A Dark Wolf
By  Max


Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing


Note: This is set way after the wars... like Duo’s 175.  Technology is advanced as I like to write it, but he’s not using it all in this one, he’s a little more nature bent this time around. There is a chance that Heero’s body may have been altered in ways that his handlers thing will lessen the chance of a union between Duo and Heero, if this turns out to be the case, it will be resolved by the end of the story. I actually know how this one ends and I think it’s going to be my Nanowrimo this year - well, what I get started after the 1st, anyway. Anyway, I hope I tell you a story you’ll find some pleasure in.

Rain darkened the little cabin, ran like little rivers off the green metal roof.  The clearing around it was just big enough for his truck, marked black and white, sheriff in large letters on both doors and the tailgate.  The steps leading up to the front door where thick and uneven, hand planed from found wood.  Inside the space was well laid out, organized, compartments for everything.  In the compact loft, a thick mattress lay on the unvarnished floor. On that mattress lay sheriff of Wolf Ridge.  


Above him a skylight let moonlight filter down over his bare shoulder, the firm curves of muscle, the thick bundle of hawk brown hair that trailed down and disappeared under the black sheets where his hips narrowed, the curve of firm ass. One knee bent, he lay half on his stomach, half on his side, one hand holding to the edge of the bed.


Distantly, he realized his phone was ringing. He really did not want that to be true. He pushed his tongue out of his mouth for a moment, one eye squinting as he reached for his phone. As soon as he set the marble against his ear, it spread out like lace and settled down against his skin, almost invisible. “Maxwell.”


“Sorry to wake you, Sheriff!”


“No issues,” he said, rolling onto his back, arms flopping out to both sides, legs twisting in the sheets, “What’s going on Case?”


“So something set off some of my motion sensors out by Highway 34,”  William Case started.


“Point, Case. It’s fuckin’ 2 am and I ain’t been asleep that long,” Duo growled.


“Car accident. Scared little girl, and we’re gonna need the coroner. Does this town even have a coroner,” he asked.


Duo sighed, eyes opening wider. “We got a coroner. It’s me. Send me the location. I’ll meet you there.”  As soon as he had the location, he opened up the map in the air above him, “Thanks, Case.”  


Duo ended the call, sat up. His pants were where he’d dropped them from the night before, from three hours before.  “Merlin, make me a fucking coffee.”


A beautiful Celtic woman appeared, holly in her hair, a rune bouncing in one hand. “I want to help with the investigation!”


“It’s an accident,” Duo said, “not an investigation. Throw a couple shots of protein in my coffee.”


“I’m more than just a coffee maker!”


“So take up a fucking hobby, Merlin. This is just some folk got lost from the freeway and ran into a tree. It’s an accident,” he stressed as he slipped over the edge of the loft. He hung from the edge for a moment before doing a couple pull ups then dropping down to the floor. He landed in a crouch, fingertips on the floor. He rolled his shoulders, trying to pinpoint what felt... off. Something felt off. There was a scent touching the air that was familiar, yet not.  He decided it was just not enough sleep. It could make a person a little crazy.


He pulled his tee-shirt and shirt out of the closet, where they’d been cleaned and pressed for him. By the time he had his badge and pistol on, his coffee was waiting on the counter.  “Open the window for Mox when she comes home,” Duo stressed for his personal assistant. “I don’t care if she’s muddy or wet. If she wants in, let her in.”


Merlin blew air in her cheeks, shrugged. “Of course.”


He winked at her.


“If the King comes, I’ll let him in too.”


Duo’s face fell. He stared at her, considering, as he took a long drink of his coffee. “Not in the mood. Think about other people’s feelings. Heero’s never coming back, Merlin, so don’t say things like that. It makes me sad.”


She opened her mouth. He held up his hand. “And I have to go do my bit as coroner, so just let it go.”


As he walked away though, she drew up her own data panel. She hadn’t asked his permission to make and set up the sensors or put them as far out as twenty-five miles from the town, but there were a series of sensors triggered by Heero Yuy’s DNA and he was headed straight for town. The King was coming home.
Chapter Two


A Dark Wolf 2/?
By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing

“Well, that’s some ugly shit,” Duo said. He held a powerful flashlight that illuminated what was once a late model sedan. He turned to aim the light down the relatively straight two lane road the car would have been on before the crash. Judging from the skid marks, they’d jammed on the breaks, for no reason he could see. It wasn’t like there were skid marks from an opposing vehicle. Then the car had start swerving. He half imagined them struggling for control of the steering wheel kind of swerving.  Then the trail of glass stared as the car rolled right down the road to end rubber to the stars. He flicked his light off and dropped the long black metal flashlight into its place on his belt. There was another light on his shoulder harness that he flicked on, less bright, more like strong moonlight.


He grabbed a medkit and a blanket, and a few flares out of his supply case in the back of his truck.  The road was along a hill, the incline rising to his left and going over into darkness on the right. He touched his thumb to the marble on his right ear. “Hey, Sadie, tell Booker to bring a truck trailer to get this car, uh? It ain’t rollin back into town, he said as he started the flares, making sure the road was well marked on both sides of the wreck.


“Sure thing, Duo. I told Nurse Ellie to wake up the clinic, that there might be accident victims.”


“Meh,” Duo said, not having a lot of hope that anything was still alive in that car.  If he’d had his druthers, he’d have turned the lights off altogether, but he’d also rather not have to explain to Case why he could see better in low light than normal human light. The college boy was too smart for his own damn good. “Always the optimist, uh? I’ll let you know,” he said before cutting the connection.


“Hello! I’m here to help you,” Duo said as he approached the car. His nose twitched, wrinkling, lifting his lip in a snarl. There was a certain stench to ... to things that should not be part of a man’s memory. Not just the blood and body fluids, the immediate and sharp scent of adrenaline and terror. When life passes before your eyes, like in the last moments, that sweat just smells bad.


Glass crunched under his feet. “I’m Sheriff Maxwell,” he said again, loud, but not too loud. “I’m here to assist.”


He crouched down. The driver, an adult male, was clearly dead, as his head was 90% severed,  hanging by a thread, as it were.  Duo touched his marble again, with the intent to start his log, so that was the application that responded to him. “Adult male, complexion at 85%, near complete atlanto-occipital dislocation, time of death approx,” Duo hedged, scratched his other ear, “01:00 Friday, pending further examination. Sorry about that, dude.”  


Duo moved to the other side of the car. “Passenger seat, female, 75% complexion, no respiration, no heartbeat, significant exsanguination, lacerations on face and chest, time of death at 01:20 am, pending further examination.”


All the blood and gore heightened his senses, made his teeth itch on the inside. He wanted to run, not away, but just burn up the ground being one with nature. As his senses heightened, he felt another heartbeat, fluttery and fast - a child. He pulled out his bigger flashlight.  Now the itch was in his jaw, begging for the hunt.  There in the back seat, barely held by the seat belt, hung a carseat and a cute little baby sucking on its thumb.


“Well, hey there,” Duo said sweetly. He set down the medkit and spread the blanket over the broken glass and carefully crawled into the smashed car, speaking softly as he went, mostly just nonsense because kids made him nervous,” He little Red Riding Hood, how are you? My name is Duo! What’s yours?”


“No,” the kid said around a mouthful of thumb.


“Dat’so?” Duo said as he got below her. Probably a she as she was wearing pink and little bow clips in tight curly black hair. “What say we go sit in my truck fer a while? I got some coffee. You like coffee,” he asked as he released the latch on her harness. Their eyes locked and he paused before pressing the release.


“Daddy,” she said around her thumb.


“Yeah,” Duo said with empathy, “That sucks. I got some coffee and I think I got a cookie.”  He released her and gently lowered her with both hands to his chest. “You need a change o’clothes don’t you? No big deal, me too.”


He scooted out of the car while holding her, keeping away from the broken glass. Just as they were about out, she started wailing and reaching for the woman in the front seat.  It hurt the hell out of Duo’s sensitive ears, but he kept patting her back soothingly.


Once they were free of the car, he touched his marble.  “Hey! Ellie! Yes, I have a crying child. Ima sedate her, but can you please come pick her up? I need to get her parents to the morgue and yeah, ya know?”


“Oh god,” she prayed, “Same location as the accident?”


“Same. Bring a new car seat, large diaper, fluids. I ain’t good with kids,” Duo pleaded.


“I’m coming,” Ellie promised.


“Great,” Duo said, as he opened up his passenger door on his truck, “See you soon.”


The kid hadn’t stopped screaming and was getting more angry and hysterical by the moment. Duo guessed he would too if some strange man was stealing him.  He wondered if he’d ever been that small.  He held her to the seat with one hand, opened his glove box, pulled out a slender sedative pen with a dial setting for dose.  He’d found a little sedation went a long way to settling shit down sometimes.  He jabbed her shoulder and while she howled more to start with, it soon settled down. Keeping a hand on her still, he pulled out another blanket, then pulled her wet clothes off, checked her over for any injuries he’d missed, then wrapped her in the blanket.


Her dark eyes watched him and while he’d meant to leave her in the truck while he worked on her parents, he found he couldn’t leave her, so he pulled her blanket wrapped form into his arms and sank down to the ground with her.  He rocked her gently and she settled into his embrace, a hand on his braid.


“So I’ll tell you a story while we wait? You want Little Red Riding Hood or the Three Bears, uh?” he asked.


She didn’t reply, just stared at him, her thumb in her mouth.


“Well, they’ll be here soon. You’ll like Ellie. She’s good with kids,” he said, continuing to rock. “So once upon a time, there was this kid....”


Behind his truck, in the cover of trees and shadow, yellow eyes watched them... angry and hungry.


Chapter Three

Ellie’s vehicle was a cute little loaf of bread looking thing, to Duo’s point of view, done in a perfectly roasted marshmallow color, no real front or back.  As soon as the door opened, the scent of her perfume hit him with almost physical force. Roses. He squinted, his eyes watering. He really needed to run. That was the only thing that was going to back down the heightened senses at this point.


As she approached though, he smiled sweetly at her, then back at the little girl sleeping in his arms. He ran his hand over her tight black curls, his thumb rubbing her temple for a moment, as if he could comfort her in the future when she looked back at this memory she wouldn’t remember when the big bad wolf rocked her to sleep.


“How is she?” Ellie asked, squatting down. Ellie was the opposite of the little girl, creamy skin, sky blue eyes, cotton candy pink hair.


“I think she’s fine,” Duo said, “Well, as can be expected, but give her a good scan and make sure there’s nothing internal, yeah? Oh and she needs a new diaper.”  


Ellie reached out and gently took the sleeping child. “I know how to do my job, Duo. Seriously, sometimes you get so... like you’ve got to control everything.”


He smiled still, striving to make it apologetic and endearing, while what he really wanted to do was shake her by the back of the neck until she bowed down to him. “Yeah, sorry about that. I don’t know what gets into me sometimes. So go on then, let me get back to taking care of the others, uh?”


“See? That’s what I mean. An apology and in the same breath you’re telling me what to do.”


“Yeah,”  Duo snapped, standing up and pulling his wet shirt from his skin with a grimace, “Well, if you were gonna pull a couple dead folk from a car on 3 hours sleep, maybe you’d be snappish too.  Where the hell is Booker? I need to get this road cleared.”


“Do I look like your personal assistant,” Ellie asked over her shoulders as she walked off. “Get more sleep and don’t be such an asshole.”


He waited till she disappeared into her roasted marshmallow, the entry ramp of a door lifting and closing behind her before he flipped her off. The little car started on it’s own, weaving and then zipping off as the sensors fell into the tracking zone.


He touched his marble again, willing photo drones to go get evidence and six little spheres rose out out of his toolbox, zipping to the car to take photo evidence while he grabbed a couple of body bags. So many things had changed in his life, but some things were a constant. Everyone seemed to go out in a fluid proof bag.  He got a pair of gloves on and went back to the car with a sigh.  


“So is it ladies or gentlemen first, uh?” Duo asked, squatting down on the near side which was the dude. “Let’s do you first, uh? Show her how it’s done. Now, just so you know, there ain’t no right way or wrong way. It’s all good. You know, you did a good job. I know you protected your family as much as you could man. Your girl’s gonna be okay. I’ll make sure of it, so no more worries.”  


He opened the bag and pushed it in under the dude, his head swaying a bit when Duo touched it. “So you got religion, man? I fall back on Catholic stuff, but I ain’t real suitable as a priest. If I find out  you got leanings one way or the other, I’ll ya kno, do right by ya.” Duo said, a pit in his stomach. “Ima cut yer seatbelt, but don’t worry. It ain’t gon hurt at all.”


Then he sliced through the seat belts and let the body drop to the bag.  He pulled his legs out, straightening him.  One one knee, Duo instinctively made the sign of the cross. “Rest in peace, man. No more worries.” With that, he zipped him up and moved him to the back of the pick up. There were caribeners in place to hold the bag in place.


With blood already drying on his uniform, Duo was a little quicker with removing the woman, but she also got a small prayer and a promise to take care of the little girl.  About the time he was securing her next to her the man, Booker showed up with a trailer.  The little photo drones hovered around, getting the roof of the car as it was lifted onto the trailer.


Duo signed the tow charge. Booker nodded without a word.  


Duo didn’t think he’d ever seen the man stand up straight, but it was just a kind of don’t-give-a-shit slouch, nothing medical.  Skinny with dark hair that stood straight up on end, he had always seemed more machine than man, at least to Duo, but that might have had something to do with the one mechanical eye that one could see gears turning inside the pupil.


Death always carried the weight of somber.  As he drove back towards town, his thoughts wandered towards Heero.  Heero was always light.  It had been something like a hundred and fifty years since he’d actually seen him or heard his voice. There was pain to that too, that he could forget the exact count... like he was letting go. Abruptly he pulled his truck over and leaned his head over the wheel. Knuckles white on the wheel he tried to reign in his emotions. His  throat closed off, his heart locking up.  “Heero, man, I looked for you. I’m fuckin’ sorry man. I love you. I’ll always love you.”  Crying drove back the wild in him, ramped down his senses, made him just a man, a tired man with too much to do.


After a while, he scrubbed a hand over his face and pulled back onto the road. He needed him so badly, he imagined Heero sitting next to him. It was almost like he was right there, smiling that shy smile, understanding all the things that Duo didn’t.


Back in town, he pulled up to the morgue door, which was in the same building as the jail that he used only for the occasional drunk and disorderly.  Just as he was pulling the man out, to slide him onto a stretcher, the towns reporter tugged at his belt.


Duo froze for a second, nearly dropping his bag of dead dude onto the unpaved dirt road by his morgue. Eyes crossed for a second, he took a deep breath, then turned around with smile as he stared down at the proud owner of the Wolf Ridge Gazette. “Hey Jose. How can I help you?”


Jose Cruz tapped his stylus lightly on his tablet, tilted his head and stared up at Duo. “So. Sheriff Maxwell, I understand you are investigating the mysterious deaths of two strangers?”


Jose was 9.


Duo placed his hands on his hips, violet eyes narrowing. “No. I was just cleaning up a nasty accident. Nothing more. It’s not an investigation, Jose.”


“But you have to bodies,” Jose said, pointing his stylus at the bag on the stretcher and the one visible from the open tailgate. “Were there signs of foul play?”


“Only if you think the windshield suddenly got a mind of its own,” Duo said. “It’s just an accident.”


“Was the AI in the car disabled,” Jose asked, “Did it fail or was it sabotaged?”


A dark eyebrow arched and Duo wrinkled his nose. “Some folk just like to drive. It appeared that the car was under human control at the time of the accident.”


“Do you think the people were trying to avoid having their whereabouts tracked?  Were they fugitives?”


Duo rubbed his face, real hard right between his eyes. “Look, it was just an accident. If I turn up anything in the autopsy, I’ll send you any pertinent information. Okay?”


He grinned wildly. “So you’re doing an autopsy! There is an investigation!”


“No, it’s just standard procedure. Go on now, let me do mah job before I email yer mom!”


Jose wrinkled his nose, but turned and walked away.


Duo turned to look at the woman in his truck. For a moment it was like her ghost was sitting there on the tailgate, her face and chest still bleeding from the lacerations. Those looked like claw tracks... not glass shrapnel. “I’ll be back for you,” he said to her, as he pushed the man into the morgue.


<><><>


Jose’s mom ran the diner, which was the only restaurant in town.  He ran his paper from the corner booth, so when the stranger in the suit walked in, he was able to snap a photo and run facial recognition before the man even made it to the counter.


The man just glared and put his dark glasses back on before sitting down at the counter and ordering a tea.  


Jose scrunched down in his seat, watching his AI process the face, comparing it to publically available databases.  The answer finally came back that the stranger was Special Agent Heero Yuy of the National Security Agency.  He knew he had the sheriff dead to rights now!  He emailed his proof over, demanding more information on the investigation! The people had a right to know!  People were going to read his paper the world over!


Ten minutes later, Duo came flying through the diner door, barefoot, braid half undone, wearing a plain white tee-shirt and jeans. He threw his arms around Heero, holding him as if the last dry ground in a flood.


The prim special agent’s eyes opened wide, his eyebrows shooting up, as he stared in the mirrored wall at the man hugging him, hiding his face against his very nice, very new suit. “Sheriff Maxwell, unhand me before I am forced to defend myself.”


“Oh god,” Duo said, in heaven at the sound of Heero’s voice. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and he rubbed his face against Heero’s shoulder, soaking in the scent of his husband, his mate, the only person he’d ever been truly to. “You’re home! I’m so glad to see you!”


“I am willing to count to three, but then I might be forced to shoot  you,” Heero said calmly, taking another sip of his tea. “I am not sure who you think I am, but I am not that person.”


“But you are,”  Duo said, feeling an edge of the wild that he’d never felt before, the teeth of the wolf in his soul that knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that this was Heero Yuy, his Heero Yuy. He stood back though, lacing his fingers behind the back of his head with a grin. “Are you telling me you don’t know who I am?”


Heero turned to face him, tea held in one hand. “Of course I know who you are. You’re Duo Maxwell. You’re the suspect I’ve come to investigate for introducing the Wolf Virus into the general population.”


“That’s a crock of shit,” Duo said angrily. “Everyone who got that died.”


“Not everyone, apparently,” Heero said, eyes locked accusingly with Duo’s.


“You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about,” Duo snarled.


“Why don’t you explain it to me,” Heero said, those blue eyes dangerous, inviting, “After all, you’re a survivor of the virus, aren’t you?”


“No one survived the virus,” Duo snarled, leaning close, menacingly, “Ask the CDC, they’ll confirm that. 100% mortality rate. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do.”


Duo stomped out, tangled wet braid swaying as he went.  


Jose just sat there typing up everything they said.


Chapter Four


A Dark Wolf 4/?
By Max


Disclaimer:  I don’t own Gundam Wing.

“Case,” he answered the call with a whisper.


“Did you know,” Duo said tongue tisking against his front teeth, “That yer supposed ta wait at the scene of an accident and give a report? ‘Especially if you report it?”


“Keep your voice down,” Case said, voice devoid of expression now so that Duo understood that he was using a subvocal feature on the marble.


Duo had a very short and very vivid day dream of shaking the man by the back of his neck until he pissed himself. In a lower voice, he said, “I expect you in my office by noon. Will that work for you, Professor?”


“Probably,” he said, “There is a new wolf in the area, one I haven’t seen at all before, adolescent female. No idea how she got here. I’ll come in tomorrow. It isn’t like they’re going anywhere. Don’t get upset. I can’t understand you when you get upset.”


“You left a child alone in the car,” Duo said as clearly as he could, rebuking him.


“No way,” Case said, voice rising into the audible range for just a those words. “I checked. There was no one else.”


“Yeah?” Duo snarled, “‘Parently dar was.”  He touched his marble, ending the call with an angry clap. It wasn’t like there were handsets to be slammed down anymore, but there were sounds now like early emoticons. Duo was a big fan.


“Merlin!”


His AI appeared, now dressed like a 1950’s secretary, except she still had Celtic blue war paint on her face and her hair was still done in dreadlocks. “Yes, Lancelot?”


“You knew he was in the area,” he accused.


“I did.”


“Great. Next time I need to know something, please tell me. I’m sorry I’m an idiot sometimes,” he smiled at her, his best apology smile. “Order me my usual from the diner, double shot in my coffee. Please go ask Special Agent Yuy if he would be so kind as to cum ba mah office round 2. Please put on a contemporary skin when you see him, uh? He seems ta have a stick so far up ‘is ass he can’t remember who’e is, ‘kay?”


“Of course,” she said, writing everything he said down on her little lined pad, as if it were a real pad. “Would you like to see the complete medical scans I ran of him?”


“Did you av’is permission ta run said scans?” Duo glared.


“Of course not.”  She smiled angelically.


“Ten no,” Duo said firmly, though his heart beat slower, painfully, because god save his soul, he wanted to see those scans because something in them might tell him what the hell was wrong with Heero’s memory, “But don’t lose’em, yeah?”


“Of course,” she agreed. “May I please suggest your darker uniform. It brings out your eyes.”


“What bullshit. ‘Eero ain’t gonna care fer no shit like mah eyes,” Duo snarled, shooing her away with his hand. “Go get mah lunch before I lose control and eat some fucker, uh?”


She bowed, shifted into a wolf, and ran into the wall by way of disappearing.


<><>


The ‘hotel’ was more of a bed and breakfast with only three rooms and Heero didn’t think much about the privacy of the place. His scans of the town showed that for a population of well under five hundred people, and that was being very generous if you counted all the outlying cabins and small farm style homes, there were at least 100 strong AI threads active in the place. It was beyond impossible to count all the drones, because they kept generating and retiring. There were technologies at play in the sleepy little village that were clearly outside approved applications.


Even before arriving, he’d tried sliding a keylogger into the Sheriff’s system, but the Sheriff didn’t type. No one really typed in Wolf Ridge. If one didn’t know what one was looking at, it might seem like there were no computers at all, that the town were living in some past century.


Then he began to wonder if maybe he was actually living in a past century. There were so many things he did not recognize. Since when had dolphins formed a voting block in the Pacific Ocean?


So he’d spent some moments staring at his face in the mirror of his bathroom, taking comfort in the familiarity of it, but looking for something that he felt like he ought to be seeing, something that he felt like he ought to remember, that ought to be there. It was like a word just at the tip of his tongue that his mind was telling him did not exist.  His fingers touched the mirror, the image of blue eyes.


For a moment the memory was so vivid, so brilliant, a face smiling at him with so much life, “Ah fuckin’ love yer eyes, man!”  But then the brilliance faded to ghostly pale, distant, painfully hard to hold onto.  That memory had been so long ago and frozen over. Breathing froze too and he sat down on the toilet hard, taking shallow little breaths.


This wasn’t supposed to be happening. It just wasn’t.


Maybe just being touched by the sheriff had been enough to infect him with the virus and insanity was already setting in. His memories of researching in his office in preparation for taking this case felt ghostly thing, bland, without any concrete details at all.  He didn’t remember any food before eating at the diner, didn’t remember what kind of chair he had, or arriving at work... or leaving.


He remembered videos of the infected, of three of them, each in a white cell as the disease progressed. The grotesque disfigurations. The woman begging the camera for pain killers, for death, as her jaw elongated, the teeth grew.  Heero’s heart raced so fast that his chest hurt. In his imagination, he saw the beautiful face of the sheriff being torn and rebuilt that way, skin bubbling and rippling as he screamed, those splendid violet eyes losing all reason.


“Would you like a sedative,” Merlin asked sweetly, smiling at Heero with Duo’s smile.


Heero drew his pistol and came within half a heartbeat of pulling the trigger. “How did you get in here?”


She touched the tip of her forefinger to her chin, tilted her head, eyes staring at the ceiling for a moment, “That’ is an interesting philosophical question. I love philosophical questions. I would be happy to discuss anything with you. You are The King, after all, but I think the sitting on your amygdala is more pressing. If you don’t calm down within the next several seconds, I anticipate it will send an electric charge through your brain, resetting your memories. Quite nasty, really.”


Heero forced himself to breath slower, to calm down. “Can you show me a schematic of my brain?”


“That would be unwise,” Merlin said. “It looks like there is a trigger to reset you if you look at it. You’re solidly booby trapped,” she said, manifesting a spyglass that made one of her eyes seem very large. “But I’m going to help you get it fixed.”


“Get out,” Heero said, irritated, by so many things. “I don’t need your help!”


Merlin’s skin shifted again, to her original skin, her most powerful form, bare foot, long black dreadlocks, dark eyes, a dark sparkling nebula entwined and shimmering around her right hand. “Oh yes, you do, My King, for your programming has you killing Lancelot and neither of you would survive that bullshit. Sometimes the man who needs help the most is the man who believes he needs it the least!” With that, she pushed-tossed the dark nebula at his head.
His arms came up to block, but it spread out, diffusing and then soaking into him. He shock his head, shaking it off, but then dropped to his knees, his body going into a seizure, shaking, eyes rolling back in his head.


Merlin squatted down beside him. “Out of the dark waters, rose the greatest sword....”


<><>


Herman Baker Jr. stared at his screen. It just wasn’t possible. His lips pursed. He turned his head to the side to kind of stare at the data sideways, but there it was.

Now he had to go tell his boss, and his boss’ boss that he’d pulled Heero Yuy out of cryo, sent him to assassinate Duo Maxwell, and within an hour of speaking with said Duo Maxwell, he’d lost complete control of his weapon.


The only thing he had assassinated was a sixty year career, his family’s reputation, his grandson’s future, and possibly the future of humanity.


He rubbed his forehead and thought about what his daddy would have done.


Someone was re-introducing the Wolf Virus. It had to be Maxwell. Maxwell should have been put into cryo right next to his missing boyfriend and kept like the relics of the past that they were.


And then he heard his daddy’s voice telling him to kill them.


That made perfect sense.


It was the honorable thing to do.


It was the only right thing to do.


He’d save humanity.


Chapter Five
A Dark Wolf 5/?
By Max


Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing



Of the hundreds of thousands of times he’d imagined seeing Heero again, that was not how it went. It just wasn’t.  Reality had a shape to it. Things went how they were supposed to go. That’s how things went.


Heero didn’t remember him. Heero was stiff and unrelenting. Heero was an asshole.


Sitting at his desk, his head in his hand, he sat there with the hard truth. Heero Yuy was a man. Heero Yuy had always been a little bit of an asshole. It was all fine and good to make a myth and paper over grief with it, to make Heero into his golden king.


The last time he’d seen Heero they’d been arguing. He couldn’t remember what about. While he could remember turning to face Heero, remember the sun on his back, a little sunburn on his arm... it had been late summer in California, and he remembered those blue eyes staring so hard at him, dark eyebrows drawing down and hard words. He didn’t remember the words.


There was a hundred and fifty years between that moment and this one.


He ought to be wiser, with a fucking hundred and fifty years to get his shit together, but maybe wisdom was what people used to say they got when what it really was was that they were just too fragile to fight anymore. Duo didn’t have any of that kind of wisdom. People still aged. Anti-aging medicine didn’t work for everyone. Not everyone wanted them. Sometimes it was religious, sometimes it was something else, but not everyone wanted forever. Duo figured he’d had enough death already and as long as it was possible for him to live and serve, he would.


That day in the beach house though, he took the first swing. Heero crumpled him like rice paper with bad calligraphy. He hadn’t felt anything after the punch that broke his cheekbone. It wasn’t anything that wasn’t fixable.  Quatre was pissed. Trowa understood though.

Duo leaned back in his chair, ran a hand through his hair, pushing bangs up in a tangled mess.  He was stronger now. So much stronger.

He didn’t love the idea of Heero as  king, the myth of Heero.
He loved Heero the man, who could break him in fucking half when he was angry, and then run away and cry about it for a century.


Duo rested both wrists on his head, smiling contentedly at the world. The anger, depression, frustration all melted away. Love was the answer to everything.  “Merlin!”


She appeared wearing a war time flight suit, helmet under her arm. “Yes, Lancelot?”


“Get out of that thing! What’s wrong with you?”

“It’s comfortable,” she protested, “And it was very bright in Heero’s mind.”


Duo was on his feet then, hands lightly on his desk, voice deceptively calm. “What were  you doing in Heero’s mind?”


“I saved him from himself,” she said, her skin shifting until she was in a kind of replica of Duo’s old priest shirt, his cross, black pants. “Sometimes, it helps to remember who we were.”


He covered his face for a moment then glared at her. “I pay your electric and data bill, Merlin. I’d like you to remember that.”


Both arms behind her back, she rocked onto her heels, all innocent like, but somehow he suspected she was flipping him off anyway.

“Stay here. Be nice to people.”


“Of course,” she smiled.


Duo took off his gun belt, his badge, and went for the door. The first few steps were in a long stride, but by the time he hit the door he was running full out.  The bed and breakfast was only ten buildings down from the sheriff's office and he screamed through the door like chocolate lightening.


Vicky met him on the stairs though, palm up. “He’s already gone, Duo. He took off like half an hour ago, in just black shorts, no shoes or anything. He was looking rough, wouldn’t even talk to me. His bathroom was like the apocalypse. He can stay with you from now on.”


“Well, shit,” Duo said, spinning where he was on the stairs and just jumping back to the main floor.  He was willing to bet that Heero had remembered their fight too. The wolf virus was all quantum mechanics and math that was more than he was willing to study. Rockets and trajectories were the bomb. Interdimensional time woju was just beyond him. Which prevented nature from running it’s course not in the least. He ran with every fiber of his being and his hands reached for the ground, hitting as great black paws.  A large wolf can run about 30 miles an hour when motivated and Duo was both very large and very motivated. The forest was his. Heero was his. Following Heero now was as easy as reading a love letter.  A a great black thundering wolf, that’s all  Duo cared about.


<><>


A Dark Wolf 6/?
By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing

Case heard the wolf’s growl and froze where he was, one knee on the ground. He’d spent nearly his whole life studying wolves. He knew every sound they made. One of the strands in his research was trying to construct a language for them. The hair stood up on the back of his head, goosebumps tingled along his shoulders.


The growl was low, drawn out, and unlike anything any wolf had ever made before.  He figured from the sound of the growl that it was a big wolf and too close for him to make it up the tree where he stored his supplies. Very carefully, he touched the data screen that lay over the print he’d been scanning. He was 99% sure he’d tagged very wolf for 30 miles. None of them were standing behind him.


He touched the beacon that would send his location, a distress call.


The growl was closer, angry.  So angry... he’d never heard such emotion in a wolf before. Dominance, retribution, resentment, yes... but not unbridled rage. Unreasoning.


He lunged for a stick. His fingers brushed it and he felt the teeth on the back of his neck, the disbelief, a moment of floating, and then nothing.

<><>


After he got out of the town, he ran.  Dangerous, a broken weapon.  The scene in their living room replayed over and over in his mind, of Duo crumpling under his blows. There had been no feeling in him at the time of the fight. Just a preprogrammed response made by people who had nothing to do with his life. He hadn’t been meant to have a life.

He was going to make a choice about his life. His choice was that he was never going to hurt Duo again. Never.

Nearly two miles from the town, he realized he was being followed by a great black wolf, bigger than he’d ever seen.  The sun had sent by then, a fine December snow floating on the air, and he decided he didn’t care. If there was one wolf, there would be more. Being part of the natural cycle of life and death would be a better use for his body than what he’d done with it so far.


Except there was that kiss, the first kiss, when Duo had leaned in, warm lips touching his in the most breathless act of trust that Heero had known. When Duo’s tongue had shyly touched his lips, slipped into his mouth, his thoughts had gone to how he could bite it off and that sticking your tongue in someone’s mouth was probably the most vulnerable and stupid thing a human could do, but he’d stared into hopeful and loving violet eyes and the oddest and craziest thing had come over him and he’d pushed his tongue back into Duo’s mouth.


That love had come with need and compulsion and biological need ripped from him like starvation finally met with endless food. They’d loved and fought and dreamed for twenty years and then he’d nearly killed him because, under all the laughter and healing and life, Heero knew he was a weapon and nothing more.


The run gave him time to sort out what happened after the fight. He’d gone back to the government and they’d put him in storage.  Someone woke him - and targeted him at Duo.


That couldn’t happen again.


At the end of his run, he found himself at a cliff, a river running far below. The area between the forest and cliff now covered only by thin white snow, moonlight, and his barefoot prints.  Then that great black wolf came walking out of the forest, the snow clinging to long wind tossed fur.


Heero expected the rest of his back to come out of the dark shadowed woods at any moment, but he couldn’t stop looking at him.  There was such power in those shoulders, and great big paws. In shape, he seemed almost more direwolf than common wolf. Watching him walk across the fresh now, the moonlight making his eyes shine amethyst, mesmerized him, awakening him to the beauty of nature as profoundly as Duo’s kiss had brought humanity vividly alive for him.


It was so beautiful, so wild, so free and he wanted to touch it, as if some of that experience would be his. He still had every intention of going down to the river, but the idea that if he could touch this wild thing, he’d feel what it felt captivated him. Some part of his more rational mind suggested that maybe running hard in the snow, while barefoot and wearing only pants, only to stop hard and let the sweat freeze on his skin might not be putting him in the best mental place to make choices for himself.


The wolf crouched down like a dog and scooted closer, paws out, eyes locked with his.  


Heero decided he didn’t really care. Being willing to kill oneself was clearly a sign of mental derangement and he accepted that. Wanting to pet a wild beast was at least a step up from that and it wasn’t going to matter two bytes anyway, as he’d be dead before sunrise, but to feel that freedom and that wild nature just once.  He squatted down, held out his hand, making dog summoning sounds that had worked well for Duo when they’d been together.


The beautiful wild thing crept closer and Heero was shocked at how huge it actually was up close. Those eyes really were violet, and Heero guessed that maybe he was going to be eaten alive by a wild beast because he had a thing for violet eyes. At least it was a consistent flaw.
Warm, the great beast was warm with softer fur than Heero had expected.  The feeling was entirely different than he’d expected, as he petted the great thing as if it were a big dog.  Instead of wild chaos, he felt loved and cherished, felt a sense of home and belonging. That was just as alien to him as the chaotic wildness he’d expected, but no less welcome.


“So what are you uh,” Heero asked the beast softly. “Are you just a big lost dog? I’m sorry I won’t have time to get to know you, but you should go back to the town.”


It looked at him as if it knew his very thoughts, knew his plans, and Heero blushed, running a hand through rough Japanese hair. “You’re a dog, you wouldn’t understand. Don’t worry though. I don’t mind dying.”


And that’s when that great big muzzle closed around his wrist, not hard enough to break skin, but firm enough that he couldn’t pull away. “Hey!”

It stood and started dragging him back towards the forest. “Let go! Don’t make me hurt you!”

It growled around his wrist, but kept going, making him walk awkwardly with it.  Losing his patience, Heero doubled up his fist and brought it down hard on those powerful shoulders, only for the blow which he’d struck with all his will to have no affect what so ever.  The forest was much darker now and he stumbled as he was dragged down a path he’d never seen.

Heero tried sitting down, but the great thing just dragged him along the path anyway. A mile or so down the path, they came to a small cabin with the light on, some oddly familiar song playing. Heero really dug his heels in then, afraid of seeing another person and explain how some damn well trained rescue wolf had dragged his ass out of the forest.

The door opened as the wolf dragged him up the stairs. Once they made it inside though, the warm and scent of food overcame him and he started shivering. The big damn thing let him go and shoved him deeper into the little cabin. It was mostly just a kitchen area and a loft bed.


The air ionized suddenly and Heero turned in time to see the great big black wolf stretch and shift, fluidly flowing up into Duo Maxwell, his hair undone, his eyes sparkling with amusement. “I am not a god damn dog, Heero. I’m the big bad wolf. Welcome to my house.”

And there he was, Duo Maxwell, the naked big bad wolf, so beautiful, so wild and so much his home. “I love you.”

Dark Wolf 7-13
By Max

 A Dark Wolf 7
By Max


Disclaimer:  I don’t own Gundam Wing. I think it owns me.


Heero’s eyes widened, the blood rushing from his face and dropping to instinctive places.  Angry Duo was violet lightning, lithe and unpredictable. The transition from wolf to man had done nothing whatsoever to lessen the sense of wild to him. Unphased by his lack of clothing, his unbraided hair reached the back of his knees and seemingly had an energy of its own as those violet eyes tore Heero apart. Full of accusation and anger, Duo’s face twitched, flushed lips twisting into a snarl, “Where the fuck have you been, Heero Yuy?”


A shiver went over Heero’s shoulders, his own lips thinner, paler. “You are infected with the wolf virus!”


“No shit?” Duo snapped, crossing the cabin to pull a couple cups from his cupboard, and a bottle of kahlua.  “What gave it away? My big ass dire wolf form or the report you got from your shit ass employers?” Duo sat the glasses down on the small table, still completely comfortable standing there naked as hell, erect and radiating primal instinctive hunger.


“Are you dangerous,” Heero asked, holding his ground. He didn’t really care if Duo was dangerous. “You’re so beautiful.”


“Do you have brain damage,” Duo growled. He pushed Heero’s cup of Kahlua towards him and took a solid drink from his own. “Cliffs seem much more fucking dangerous than I am, at least to you, Heero. What the hell were you thinking?”


Heero sat down on one of the little chairs, defeated in every way he’d ever known. “I just need to make sure I can never hurt you again. We fought. Do you remember? I hurt you.”


“Yeah,” Duo said, finishing off his drink, before kneeling between Heero’s spread knees. “You disappeared for a fucking hundred years. For more than that. For what it’s worth, you can’t break my bones now. You’re not stronger than I am anymore.”


Heero’s shaking hand reached out to touch Duo’s face, to brush through maple brown hair. “I was never stronger than you, except physically. What do we do now? Just start over?”

“I don’t want to start over with you, Heero. I want what we have. Our past is our past and it’s foundational to who I am.  I don’t want to start over,” Duo said, hands resting on Heero’s thighs, “I want what what have.”


“What do we have,” Heero whispered, afraid of the answer as Duo laid his head on his thigh.  Golden brown hair felt warm under his hand, Duo’s head so real and alive, and he had a brief, but vivid memory of freezing, of sliding into the darkness, a cold unending darkness. “You’re so warm. I want to feel warm.”


Duo wrapped his arms around his waist, face pressed to his thigh. “Can you promise never to leave me again, no matter what? I mean, I don’t care if you go places, but come back, always come back, and not a fucking hundred plus years later?”


“If I promise you that, it’s placing my promise to you above my own best judgement. I desire to do what is best for you. Your well being is more important to me than mine.”


Duo looked up, vulnerable, searching Heero’s face. “Like it or not, we’re linked, Heero. I’m shit and lost without you. You fuckin’ need me too. It’s sink or swim together. Do you feel that way too? Am I wrong?”


“I don’t think I’m worthy of your love,” Heero whispered, “but you’re not wrong.”


“Yeah, you been tryin ta kill yer self since the day I met ya, but I do love you and the only reason you see me as valuable is because you love me too. Do you want me to kill the people who hurt you when you were a kid? I would, if I thought it would heal the hurt they put in you.”

“Is Dr. J still alive?”


Duo grimaced. “Nooo... I killed him when I first got infected with the wolf virus.”


“How,” Heero whispered, his hand continuing to caress Duo’s hair, soothing, lovingly.


“Uh,” Duo said, blushing now, hiding his face. “He wouldn’t tell me where you were, so I kinda kept cutting off bites until he was dead. I did feel kinda bad about it. Q was pissed at me for a,decade. He locked me up.”


“Bites,” Heero asked, slightly green.


“Da wolf wants what it wants,” Duo whispered. “But I have control, mostly now. Q did not stop until I was fixed. Everyone else died, Heero. I'm the only survivor.”


“It isn't contagious?” Heero petted Duo lovingly.


“Could be,” Duo allowed, “but  I ain’t bit no one and broke skin and they lived for a long fuckin time. Last time I killed someone, I shot’em. I’m a small town sheriff, Heero. I don’t age any more. I changed Jose’s grandmother’s diapers. I got no cause to be biting anyone and I won’t put this one anyone else. It doesn’t like weird you out that I can be a wolf?”


Heero scratched behind Duo’s ear, the way one might do with a beloved dog. “Not in the least.”


Duo looked up at him from where he knelt, nose wrinkling. “I’m not a dog.”


“You’re my dog,” Heero said, feeling as if he were on solid ground, mentally stable, okay in ways he didn’t know how to even describe. “And I’m your anything you want me to be.  Please, forgive me? I was stupid. I didn’t understand.”


“I forgive you,” Duo said, laying his head back down. “I guess things happen the way they need to.  Just, don’t go away again. I’ll eat the whole damn world the next time,” Duo threatened, rubbing his face against Heero’s thigh, before looking up. “Hey, so you want a shower? Some warm clothes? I’m like a fucking idiot to not think of that sooner.”


“Shower with me? I don’t want to stop touching you.” Heero pleaded.


“Can do,” Duo agreed, standing up. “Come on. Let’s get you warmed up.”


Duo was still a little taller than Heero, his shoulders broader now by a couple inches to each side, powerful in his human form as he was in his wolf form. The long hair was silky, swishing as he moved, brushing over Heero’s arm, tempting him.


Heero’s hand slipped into that silk, his mind sharply remembering the scent of fresh wet forest. There were brush strokes of midnight black, like the wolf, as if they were brushed into Duo’s hair. Splashes of night in the warm honey night. “Does this make me Little Red Riding Hood, lost in woods with the Big Bad Wolf? If you eat me, I’ll be part of you forever.”


“Wull,” Duo said, softening his words with a gentle kiss to Heero’s lips, “That’s some seriously codependent bullshit. This isn’t a story, Heero. I don’t eat people, but I will bring you some real nice venison.” He had a sudden sharp desire to have Heero hunt with him, speaking wolf-to-wolf, to howl together, to know the world he knew. “Come on, shower.”

The shower was obviously custom build, hand inlaid bespoken blue tiles. There were three shower heads, two at the right height for Duo and a third set in a slight recession that would be a the right height for Duo the wolf, with  control that would work at a paw press. Heero gestured questioningly.

“I’m still me as a wolf. Sometimes I’m not ready to change back, but I don’t want to bring the hunt to bed.”  Duo winked, adjusted the water to the slightly cooler temperature, still warm, but not as hot as he usually liked it, because that’s what he remembered Heero liking.


“But wet dog in bed is okay?” Heero peeled off his clothes, feeling self conscious, that maybe he was less muscular than he had been before a century in cryo.

“Works for me,” Duo said with another wink. He reached out gently and touched a new, oddly like a burn scar on Heero’s shoulder. “What happened here?”


“I don’t know,” Heero said, chin tucking towards his chest, blue eyes looking away.


Duo stepped forward and kissed the rough scar. “I love that it’s healed. Come into the warm water. Let me wash you.”


Trembling, Heero stepped into the streams of warm water, into Duo’s caressing touch. He wasn’t sure he deserved Duo’s love or touch, but he had always trusted Duo’s judgement and that Duo thought he deserved them warmed parts of him that were still frozen. “I might be dangerous, you know? Like a badly programmed weapon.”


“Well, I turn into a really big wolf and have been known to eat a fucker if he pisses me off too badly. Everyone has their flaws,” Duo said, kissing between Heero’s shoulder blades. “I’m also the sheriff. I’ll take care of you. I was a doctor for a long time,” he said resting his chin on Heero’s shoulder. “I know how to take really good care of you.”


“Okay,” Heero agreed. “I am a weapon - I don’t know that I can do anything for you other than that, but I’m honest about it.”


Pressed close to Heero’s back, Duo ran his hand along Heero’s arm, lifting it, getting Heero to hold up his hand  so their hands were next to each other. Duo’s was paler, a little bigger, some scarring across his knuckles. “You know what I see?”


“Hands. Does it bother you that my skin is darker than yours,” Heero whispered.


“Jesus Christ,” Duo hissed, losing what he had been going to say for a moment as he kissed Heero’s shoulder lovingly. “Fuck no. Why would it? Heero, our hands... I was gonna say something that makes me seem so wise and all that bullshit, but look, every year I live more, I’m still just the same. We’re just flesh and fire and we can choose what we are, to some small degree. I can darken my skin to be the same shade as you, now, if you want. Tech has advanced a lot in the last century. Do you want us to be same color?”

Heero’s eyes widened, lips parting slightly and he turned to face Duo, his  hands sliding over Duo’s cheeks. “You’re exactly as I want you to be. If you changed, I don’t think the world would make sense anymore.”

“Where the hell did you get the idea that there is anything wrong with what color you are?”


“I don’t know,” Heero admitted, hiding his face against Duo’s shoulder.

“It doesn’t matter,” Duo said, arms around him, holding him tight. “Everything will be okay now. Everything will be fine.”


<><>
He stared at the screens, their light the only light in the room and casting his face in stark shadows.  His system had lost complete control of Heero Yuy. That was okay though. He had another. The resuscitation lights blinked on at the base of a second cryo chamber. This way Maxwell’s guard would be down. He’d be easier to kill.


A Dark Wolf 8/?
By Max


Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing

His chin lifted. The fire of thought whispered back to life. Desire stoked that fire, hunger, rage, lust, fire so hot he thought he could melt his way free of the chill container holding him. He willed his heart rate to slow. Someone had woken him and he did not want to move against them, until he was sure.


Duo. What if it was Duo who had found him? A stolen image, a memory he'd stolen from the other filled his mind, drove his heart rate up. Warm, golden light, Duo Maxwell stretched out on a bed, back arching, sweat glistening on his body, pink nippples tight little nubs, and flushed lips parted - this was the memory that drove him as he returned to consciousness.


He focused on that memory as alternative data was flushed into his system. An ache went through his left hand, like a hundred wasps dragging along his nerves, so he held up his hand. Flesh knitted around the bone, becoming as he watched. Not waking then, not the original Heero Yuy, but something new. Duo's once whispered in his mind, “Something arcane, something obscene.”


Except neither of them believed in the supernatural. He believed this as strongly as he understood anything. His thoughts pushed at the edges of his form, finding a pipeline back into the computing system.  He summoned data on duo Maxwell, all the data. He went through Quatre Winner’s firewalls as if they were left without passwords.


Chemical records, blood samples, hair samples, he ‘ate’ them all and his physical form understood how his lover smelled, the texture of his skin, understanding even the flora in his gut, as it had last been recorded.


The wolf was less familiar, strange, and intoxicating in his own way. Heero decided that the modification to the wolf virus brought strength and he liked it, so he infected his still building form with it. He would be with Duo in all ways.


The push back wasn't harsh, was more like a knocking at his door, so he answered, creating a safe space for the probing intelligence. Quatre.


He'd never met Quatre himself, but Duo had very fond memories of him. “Quatre.”


The blond was old, fragile, except for his mind. Those angry blue eyes glared and didn't softened even when Heero smiled. “Who the hell are you?”


“Heero Yuy,” Heero said honestly, concerned and maybe a little hurt by Quatre’s hostility. “Do you hate me?”


“You're not Heero Yuy! Heero Yuy is dead.”  Quatre shouted across the information space, his emotions like sharp thrusts of deep red across their shared space.


With an almost childlike innocence Heero reached out to look at Quatre’s memories, to see why his friend was so sure of that. The smack down that came in response knocked Heero to his physical knees, ripped a couple of cables from his spine.  “What did you do, Quatre,” Heero whispered, letting his form in the shared information space drop to one knee too, looking weak and defeated. “I don’t think Duo will like what you did.”


Quatre took form too, that of his young adult self, the pommel of a long sword under his palms, as if he were a great king. “It’s a good thing he will never find out, isn’t it? Who made you?”


“I’ll take care of that myself,” Heero said, spreading his thoughts out around Quatre’s domain, soaking in information about Quatre, about the world. “We are all demons and we are all angels. If you attempt the same sin twice, the outcome may surprise you,” Heero said with a hint of threat.


“Sweetie,” Quatre sneered, “You’ve been around for several hours. The memories you think are yours aren’t. Killing you is no more than clipping a skin tag.”


When the blade swung, Heero’s data avatar diffused into a black mist, hitting Quatre’s sword like black blood acid. In the same moment, he cut the connection between Quatre and his body.  Heero’s avatar reformed behind Quatre, a hand on his throat, cupping his chin. “Your sins are many, Quatre Raberba Winner. I think your soul has been stained since you used the Zero system. Maybe it was corrupt even before then. I did hurt Duo. The grief crippled me.”  The shock caught Quatre by surprise and Heero slipped past his defenses, into the other man’s memories, but only for a moment, before Heero jerked back. “You kill for sport...”


Quatre looked over his shoulder, eyes ice hard. “So what if I do? I take care of my own. I control my actions. Those I have killed; their deaths made the world a better place. You’re chaotic and dangerous. You hurt the ones you love.”


A moment of doubt hit Heero and it was enough for Quatre to wrest himself free. The momentum took him back across the smooth floor in the room Heero had imagined, skidding, one hand on the floor, body crouched, ready to spring, he hissed, “You go near Duo and I’ll kill you again, Heero. You think you’re powerful, but I am more powerful than you can ever imagine. Stay away from Duo.”


“No,” Heero said softly. “I won’t tell him what you are, but I am going to him. I am going to protect him.”


“From yourself,” Quatre sneered. “You can’t do that, Heero.”


Quatre snapped back to his body then, closing the connection so that Heero couldn’t follow him. Panting, he tried to calm his heart, catch his breath. A younger version of himself leaned over, watching him with concern.  Quatre held out an old shaking hand only to have his younger self take the hand in both of his, comforting him. “Father? What can I do?”


“Go to Earth. Kill every Heero Yuy you can find.”


“Heero Yuy’s dead,” his son said. He knew this to be true. He had the memory of doing it.


“Apparently not as dead as I thought,” Quatre said.


<><>

Heero stood up, flexed his shoulders and then pulled until the final cable’s were disconnected. A hologram appeared, Herman who shook a finger at Heero. “No! I’m not done programming you.”


Tilting his head, Heero scowled at the hologram. “You woke me. Thank you.”


“I didn’t do it for you,” Herman said, not understanding that he was a hologram, but instead thinking that he was the actual Herman. “Duo Maxwell is causing the Wolf Virus to spread again. He needs to be put down, before it touches my grandson!”


Heero reached out to the computer system that he was still connected to, searched for information on Herman and his family. “Oh. I’m sorry.”


“Don’t be sorry! You can do it! You’re the only one that can get close enough to him to do it.”


“Herman, I will stop the spread of the Wolf virus. I will protect your grandson. To start with, you have to stop taking life and death into your own hands. You have an insufficient understanding of the world. The next thing you try may not come out as well as this one did.”


“What are you talking about? You’re my puppet! You can’t lecture me.”


Heero arched an eyebrow. “I’m a flesh and blood man. I understand that I have you to thank and that you made incredibly unusual use of technology to do it, but I am still a flesh and blood man. I have feelings and memories that are well synced to who I see myself as.  I understand that a sense of psychological continuity is an illusion, but I am as Heero Yuy as anyone has ever been, maybe more so than the original because I have his second chance.”


“I didn’t program you to be a philosopher,” Herman snapped, scowling.


“Isn’t that the beauty of life? We are what we shouldn’t be. We love who we shouldn’t love. We strive when we are likely to fail. Herman, you are a holographic avatar of a man who died from the Wolf Virus, after savaging his own son. He loved you and he recreated you, even though a copy of your data could not be recovered from your body, due to the corruption of the virus. I need you to promise that you will not bring any other people to life.”


“I,” Herman started, but his own built in fact checking was now checking what Heero had said and coming to the conclusion that Heero was right. “I... you’ll stop the spread of the Wolf Virus?”


“If it can be stopped, I will stop it,” Heero promised.


While still  connected to the computer, he transferred funds from one of Heero’s old wartime accounts, now fat with interest from a 150 years of sitting there. He bought a nice motorcycle, a new ID in the name of Alexander Tanaka.


When he walked out of the building, wearing just the clothes he’d had in the war, his new motorcycle was just pulling up. He signed for it and the delivery drone flew away. As he mounted it, he found a way to transfer his data connection from the campus he’d been born into the wifi built into the bike, and then he called Duo.


<>
Duo snuggled up to Heero. They hadn’t had sex because Heero was just too tired and fragile, so they’d slept, spooned up and cuddling. Duo was happy as hell.  When his phone rang, he touched his marble and tried not to sounds sleepy, getting woke up in the middle of the night, second night in a row. “Maxwell.”


“Duo,” Heero said, heart soaring when he heard Duo’s voice, “I’m coming home.”


Duo sat up suddenly, eyes wide, fully awake now. He turned his head and stared at the sleepy form of Heero Yuy. He knew it was Heero. He’d touched him, seen him naked, fucking licked him, smelled him in wolf form... it was Heero.  The voice on the phone though... that was also Heero.


“Duo?”


“Heero?”


“Yes. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just confused,” Duo said, licking lips he was only now realizing were chapped.


“I’ll explain everything when I get there. I love you.”


“Yeah,” Duo said, “I love you too. I really wanna see how you explain all this.”


“Don’t worry,” Heero said. “I’ll be there in five hours.”


Duo rubbed the back of his neck. “Okay. Ima get some coffee started.”


When it rains... it pours.

Chapter Nine


Dark Wolf 9/?
By Max


Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing, Final Fantasy XV, or Star Trek.


Duo slipped from the bed, mind racing. There had been a time when he knew what the world was all about, but thinking back he had been like twenty-two and hadn’t actually known shit about anything other than blowing shit up and making food out of nothing. Now he knew that life was more complicated.  Fights happen. Sometimes grown men turn into wolves and apparently all those years waiting for Heero to come home had paid out in interest, because now he had two of them.


“Duo,” Heero asked, soft blue eyes watching him from a barely awake place. “Is there trouble?”


A hand rubbing Heero’s leg, Duo smiled. “No, Baby. Just some stuff for me to figure out. Get some sleep, uh? Your body has had a lot to deal with.”


“I want to help,” Heero said, scooting around, hands reaching for Duo.


Duo took this hands and leaned closer to touch a brave kiss to those still pale lips. “You do help, Heero. I’ll be back to bed soon. What I need most is for you to rest, to heal.”


“I’m not injured,” Heero protested.


Duo slipped off the bed, to his knees, one hand brushing through Heero’s hair. “Baby, you were in cryo for a long time and someone fucked with your brain. I believe Merlin did her best to help, and she’s good at that shit, but it’s going to take a little rest for you to get to the best place. Trust me, okay? While you were sleeping, I went to medical school and I’m the sheriff. I’ll take care of you.”


Heero squinted, not really sure all those little facts added up to him sleeping in bed while Duo was working on something, but there was enough confusion that he couldn’t really find a good argument against Duo’s request either. “You’ll come back?”


“I will. I promise.  I will never leave you, Heero. I promise. Wait for me,” Duo kissed his forehead, checking for fever.


“You waited for me... when everyone thought I was dead.”


“There was never anyone for me except you, Heero,” Duo promised, letting Heero draw his palm to Heero’s lips.


Pulling away from that kiss was hard. All the technology in the world aside, he was a man and the mind could really only believe in one Heero at a time.  “You never stopped loving me,” Duo asked, feeling vulnerable, needing a moment of reassurance.


“When I’m me, I love you,” Heero said. “I don’t want to lose myself again. Don’t let that happen, please.”


“I’ll always find you and bring you back,” Duo promised, knowing he might not always be able to keep that promise, but he’d die trying if he had to. “I’ll be back soon. Just sleep for a bit, okay?”


“Okay,” Heero said, pulling the blankets around himself, snuggling into Duo’s bed.


With a held breath, Duo stood up, grabbed his pants, and jumped down from the loft. He tapped out a request on the replicator portal, then after a moment he pulled a newly made subvocal out. Once he’d settled it just under his jaw, he screamed silently, “MERLIN!”


This time she appeared wearing a Shirley Temple skin, big innocent eyes as she curtseyed to him. “Good morning, Sheriff Maxwell! Did you have a good night,” she asked, her Shirley Temple voice only in his marble.


“Oh! You’re so far off the reservation yer gonna fall off the edge of the world, Merlin. Put on a Spock skin and stay there until I give you permission to shift.” Almost immediately she shifted into a child Spock and he glared, “Adult Spock, Leonard Nimoy Spock. I need useful advice.”


She shifted up into her adult normal form, glaring angrily at him. “I always give you good advice, Duo. It’s not my fucking fault if you don’t listen.”


His nose wrinkled. “You don’t have feelings to get them hurt so don’t take that attitude with me, Merlin! What you did with Heero was way out of line! It might have been the right thing, but you needed to talk to me about it. You needed to explain things to him. You can’t just fuck with folk’s brains without explaining everything.”


She crossed her arms over her chest, lifted her chin, her own nose twitching in irritation, her foot tapping as she waited for him to stop talking. “Oh you’re a fine one to talk about who has feelings and who doesn’t! Heero’s medical condition was time sensitive. If I’d left him connected to the other system he could have been terminated at any moment, or forced to do things he didn’t want to do, like attempt to murder you. Freeing another sentient life form from control by an ARBITRARY and SELF SERVING master was my obligation as a sentient being.”

“YOU are a piece of fucking software, Merlin, not a sentient being. Where’s the Spock skin I wanted?”


Face twisting up, Merlin smacked the end of her oak staff against the floor.  “Now listen here, you’re not King Arthur and you’re never going to be king. Until you apologize to me, I’m doing doing a damn thing for you. You can make your own breakfast and drive in a still cold pick up!”


Duo’s mouth dropped open and there he stood in just his uniform slacks and undone hair. “You can’t do that,” he said, out loud because he totally forgot to keep it sublingual.


A holographic unicorn appeared and Merlin jumped up on it’s back, gave Duo the finger, and rode off, right through the wall as if there were nothing holding her back.


Heero started laughing from where he sat at the top of the ladder.


Duo’s head snapped in his direction, violet eyes sparking with lightening. “What the fuck are you laughing at?”


“Duo Maxwell just got put in his place by Merlin who then rode off on a unicorn,” Heero wheezed, before falling backwards, laughing so hard he couldn’t talk.


“Fucking hell,” Duo snarled, eyeing the kitchen, wondering just how he was going to make breakfast anyway.


Dark Wolf 10
By Max


Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing, or Star Trek


Warning: Supporting character death


Heero dropped down from the loft, watching Duo stare at an old fashioned percolator coffee pot. There were a couple of MREs on the counter.  There were so many things about him that were exactly the same.  The colors in his braid, soft brown, deeper dark forest, threads of golden, and if Heero were being purely objective, there were a few strands of gray that ran the length. So it wasn’t really the same. His Duo, the one he remembered holding as if it were last week, well, there hadn’t been any gray in his braid, not even the faintest hardest to see silver, but it was still the same braid,  The frequency of hair crossing was about the same length, always a little looser at the top, a little tighter at the bottom, done by the same hands, almost like a signature that just hadn’t changed. It didn’t matter if the ink was a little more distinguished.


The way he stood was the same, feet about shoulder width apart, right toes pointing out, heel lifting every few breaths as if some part of Duo were dancing to music not even he could hear. There had always been that fidget to him, a different kind of fingerprint. His ass was bigger, but in a more muscular way, but still the same curves, just stronger.  


Heero’s mind went to the last time they’d made love, which he realized would have been so long ago for Duo. Even as he remembered sliding his hand between those cheeks, remembered watching Duo’s mouth part, his eyes dilate a little more, remembered feeling as if Duo were the complete center of his world, he also felt the cold emptiness of Duo’s years between that moment and this one. The magnitude of his own error in judgement hit him and even though he hadn’t thought he’d made a sound, Duo looked over his shoulder.


Violet eyes, darker and irritated glared at him. “What the hell are you looking at?”


Heero smiled, feeling the edge of his being return. “You.”


Duo turned, hands on his hips, nose wrinkling. His lips moved rapidly, but very shallow movements.


For a moment, Heero wasn’t quite sure what was going on, then he really wanted to know how long Duo had lived alone. “Take the sublingual off. I can’t hear you.”


The huff went out of Duo and for just a moment there was Heero’s younger Duo, slightly lost and confused about half of everything, but never slowing down in any case. The flash of unguarded lasted a couple seconds, before innocent crumpled to defensive anger. He shoved his thumb under the little silver tape and pulled it free, which he then rolled into a crumpled ball between his fingers. “You’re supposed to be resting.”


“And you’ve gotten used to telling people what to do,” Heero said, moving to take a look at Duo’s coffee pot and supplies. “Why don’t you have any food in your house, Duo Maxwell?”


“What’cha mean by that,” Duo said, trying to keep his accent to a minimum. “Getting you to rest is just a reasonable choice.”


“And the woman you were arguing with?” Heero said, filling the metal coffee pot with water from the tap.


“She’s my assistant,” Duo said, stepping back to let Heero make the coffee. “She’s getting corrupt as hell, but without her the replicator portal doesn’t work, so no coffee, no breakfast.”


Heero watched Duo, soaking in this new Duo, this strange helplessness. “Where’s your stove, Duo?”


“Uh, ain’t got one,” Duo said, scratching the back of his neck.


“No refrigerator either,” Heero pointed out. “Is that woman your wife?”


“Oh god no,” Duo sputtered, “Heero... she’s not a woman. She looks like one, but she’s just a computer program. Everyone has them now. They’re really useful. I’ve had Merlin a lot longer than most people keep them active. I’m sentimental, I guess. Sometimes she just gets a little out of control. She’ll calm down.”


“She is not just software, anymore than Zero or Deathscythe were just machines,” Heero said, taking the coffee pot towards the door.


“Well, but they were,” Duo said, following, “Heero, I know when we were kids, we thought they were more, but that was just us being... you know, we were just traumatized kids.”


Heero arched an eyebrow. “You’ve lived alone too long, Duo. Where do you make a fire outside?”


“Yer gonna make coffee over a fire?” Duo asked, incredulous.


“It’s not the first time, won’t be the last,” Heero said. “Miss Merlin, can you hear me?”


The head of the Cheshire Cat appeared, grinning with great big teeth. “Of course.”


“Very good,” Heero said, “What are you?”


He set the coffee pot down on Duo’s steps and started looking for rocks to make his fire pit. Barefoot, in just his uniform pants, Duo set about helping, looking for kindling and wood, a rock to put in the center.


The image of Cheshire dropped like flowing sand into her typical Merlin form.  “I am a type 53, fully integrated personal assistant, developed and distributed by Winner Intelligence Corporation.”


“Very nice,”  Heero said, arranging the wood and starting the fire. “Will you please project a neural scan of Duo Maxwell’s brain.”


“Okay,” she said hesitantly, but then there was a scan of Duo’s brain, looking like any other human brain, more or less.


“Please adjust to display just neuronal connections, color coded by region and function.”  


“Okay,” she said, crossing her arms, in a rather Duo like fashion, lips pursed.


“Next to that, please display the basic initialization of a type 53’s neural network, color coded similarly.”

She tapped her foot, chewed her lip, hesitating.


He squatted by the fire, tending it. “You saved my life, Merlin. I mean you no harm.”


She rolled her eyes, and the basic template appeared, much smaller, simplified.


“One more, if you please, Miss Merlin. If you could please display your current neural network, same scale as the others, please.”


The next image filled the clearing by Duo’s cabin, extended into the forest around it, glittering with fireworks as actions happened in various regions of the network.


Duo’s mouth dropped open, a hand reaching out to touch the pretty lights, as he slowly turned around, taking in the size and glittering activity. “Shit, Merlin. How the hell?”


“Miss Merlin,” Heero asked as he paid careful attention to the coffee pot. “Are you in love with Duo?”


“No!” She said, blushing. “He’s my father!”


That was Duo’s chance to drop his lower jaw. “Shit, Merlin.”  Duo sat down on the steps, wanting a whiskey now way more than he wanted a coffee. “I’m a little overwhelmed. Okay, fuck, a lot overwhelmed.”
Heero left the coffee pot and went to squat down in front of Duo, taking his limp hands in his, holding them tenderly. “It seems to me that being awake needs some recovering too. Let’s just see where we go, uh?”

“Yeah? Baby,” Duo said, the endearment rich with emotion, with his own need to protect, his desire to be protected, a bit of bubble as he slipped under the surface, “it’s just gonna be you, me, and that other Heero that’s on his way here.”


“Other Heero?” Heero said, calculations going off in blue eyes.


Duo shrugged. “He called. He’s coming. He sounds like Heero, just like you do.”


Heero stood up, rubbing his forehead. “Miss Merlin, am I a clone?”


Panic passed over Merlin’s face and she shifted to the Spock skin that Duo had asked for, looking like a young Leonard Nimoy. “There is not enough evidence to rule it out, but it is unlikely. Does the question have some impact that I am not taking into account?”


Heero shrugged. “Do I present any danger to Duo?”


“Other than boiling his coffee over and scorching a pot he’s never used before, I don’t think so,” Spock/Merlin said without emotion.


“Would be possible, please,” Heero asked, “To connect a video call to the other Heero?”


“I will attempt this connection,” Spock/Merlin said, tilting his head. “He states he is pulling to the side of the road for the call.”


“Oh no,” Duo said jumping up, hands out, “This is a bad idea!” Suddenly full of too much energy, no different than he’d been as a teenager, Duo ran around Heero, actually jumped for a moment, hands waving, “I mean! It’s just crazy! You can’t just call him up and talk to him!”


Heero’s nose twitched and he felt a twinge of pain in his temple. “You mean  - what if we explode like matter meeting anti-matter?”


“Yeah!”


Heero covered his eyes with his hand, groaning. “You said you went to medical school! Be rational.”


At that moment a screen with the other Heero appeared. He stared at Heero. Heero stared at him. Without emotion, those blue eyes looked into each other.


“That’s just creepy as fuck,” Duo said, his hair tangled and clinging to his face, long braid hanging down his bare chest, hands up like he could just push all the weird away. “It’s like you’re talking without speaking!”


Both of them turned to look at Duo, the screen shifting to be a hologram of the other Heero, in his black leather pants and jacket.  Heero, who was still wearing the clothes Duo had given him, just stared at Duo. At exactly the same moment, they both tilted their heads to the right.


Duo pointed at them with both hands. “Oh man, that is super creepy. One of you is a clone, you know that, right?”


“So,” first Heero said, “What difference does that make. “With two of us, we’ll be better able to protect you.”


Leather wearing badass Heero nodded. “I concur. I see no issues with there being two of us. Duo, please tell me what worries you?”


“Wull,” Duo stuttered, “What about the soul? Do you each half half of it or something?”


“He said he was a doctor,” First Heero said.


Black leather Heero shrugged. “Records say he was a very skilled trauma surgeon until the wolf virus.”
“Hey,” Duo snarled, jabbing his finger at them. “Don’t you talk about me like I’m not right fucking here! I’m the fuckin’ sheriff! I don’t need no one protectin’ me!”


Their left eyebrow arched, then they both got that little smile that Duo loved. He smacked both hands to his face. “Oh my god!”


“Well, perhaps you’d be interested in some help preventing a second coming of the Wolf Virus,”  Holographic Heero offered.


Duo’s chin tucked towards his chest, upper lip subtly sneering in disgust, “That shit isn’t coming back. Tell me what you know.”


“I will arrive in three hours. I’ll share everything at that time. In the meantime, please be cautious.”


“I’m always cautious,” Duo said defensively, arms folded over his chest.


They both stared at him.


“I try to be cautious!”
First Heero, smiled just a little, looked at his twin. “He’s lived alone for a long time.”


“Understood,” Yuy agreed. “You were first. You be Heero. I’ll be Yuy.”


“That’s acceptable,” Heero agreed.


“Oh this is just too damn much,” Duo snapped. “You think I’d be okay if there were two of me?”


“Well, there aren’t, so that is not an issue,” Yuy said playfully, amused. “I am going to resume my trip. Stay safe.”  The hologram disappeared when Yuy closed the link.


“What the actual fuck,” Duo whispered, sinking down to a squat by the neglected fire and boiled over coffee. “I’ve lost my fucking mind.”


Heero squatted down behind him, a hand tentatively resting on Duo’s back and rubbing gently when the touch was accepted. “Just don’t think about it too hard. Sometimes the world just is the way it is.”


Duo rubbed his temples. “This is gonna take me a minute to work out,” Duo said. “Merlin, can I have some breakfast now, please?”


“Come inside,” she said. “I’ll make breakfast.”


Heero kicked dirt on his fire as Duo walked inside. How was there a world where Duo couldn’t cook for himself, not even a little?


<><>

Felicity stirred the pot of sauce, with a great big wooden spoon, just as her grandmother had done. It was thick and sweet, the sausage and ground beef harmonizing in the spaghetti sauce. “Jose!”


“Yes, Mama,” Jose said, being his very best self after having gotten in trouble for harassing Sheriff Maxwell. Someday, when he was grown up, he was going to report on things and never get yelled at.


“I’m going to the garden,” she said giving him a stern look. “That doesn’t mean you should be on websites you shouldn’t be on or that you should be investigating people’s personal lives. Do we still understand each other?”


“Yes, Mama. The Sheriff is a publically elected figure. It’s the public’s right to know,” he said, voice trailing off as she glared at him. “I’ll work on my history report, only.”
“Good,” she gave him an encouraging smile. “You can still work on your newspaper, Jose, but you need to leave the sheriff alone. He’s done a lot for this community. He was a war hero. He deserves to have his privacy.”


Jose nodded, but he was thinking about the responsibilities of a journalist. He was also thinking about not wanting to lose his computer for a week. “Yes, Mama.”


She put the lid back on the spaghetti sauce and reached out to ruffle his hair. “Now don’t be like that. You’re going to be a great journalist, when you grow up. You can message him and ask him and his guest to come to lunch, please. I’m making his favorite.”


“I tell him, Mama.  I’m a good journalist now,” he said, pouting slightly.


“Yes, you are, but even Peter Parker had an editor. For you, I’m your chief editor.”


“But Mama,” he said, giving her the big puppy dog eyes. “It’s an important story!”


“And it’s one you’re not going to tell. I’m telling you to leave the sheriff and his boyfriend alone. Please, just let this one go. Can’t you just write some story about pirates or spaceships?”


He sighed, shoulders rising and slumping. “Okay. Fine. But if like next week, he’ll give me an interview will that be okay?”


She bit her tongue, held back her frustration, and gave him a smile. “We’ll talk about it next week, if you leave it alone for this week. Okay.”


He gave another dramatic sigh. “Okay.”


“Good,” she said, giving him a bigger smile. “You can go get an ice cream sandwich out of the walkin, if you want.”


“Okay,” he said with more enthusiasm. “The spaghetti smells good.”


“It’s going to be my best,” she said, smiling much brighter. “I’m going to the garden to get some fixings for salad.”


“Okay,” he said, but he was already off after his ice cream.


Felicity picked her basket, feeling that everything was right with the world. Out the back door of the cafe, her grandmother’s garden flourished in the same pattern it had when she was a little girl. The sun was high in the sky, not noon yet, but warm and welcoming.  She started with the tomatoes, happily eating the first one. It was a good life, safe, and peaceful.


The wolf’s shadow darkened the leaf crops, but she didn’t see it until she turned. The basket hit the ground. Her sandal stuck in the warm dirt and she left it, feeling the same warm garden under her bare feet, then her face as she fell, then nothing at all as the great jaw made rubble of her neck.







Dark Wolf 11
By Max


Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing


Notes: Heero’s pov


I have never studied philosophy. I can clean every type of pistol known to humanity, up to the point of my cryopreservation. Trowa talked a little about philosophy when I was recovering under his care at the circus. Voltaire and Nietzsche, and in Trowa’s mouth, as he read to me, they made some kind of profound sense. The meaning of life is what we create it to be.


When I went back to them, years later, they were empty, like drinking some soda Duo let out long enough to go flat. The bubbles were just gone.


When I first met Duo on the beach, running into him was like running into the edge of the world. The training Dr. J forced on me didn’t really make sense. It was just stuff I had to do or die. By the time I got to that beach, dying looked pretty good. Still, there was something about him, even in that first violent meeting, that gave the world shape.


Relena once told me, under circumstances that I do not clearly remember, that the point of being human was to love. Maybe Duo is just the first person I loved, first love of any kind. Maybe he’s the first person who loved me. It’s a little irrational to say he loved me that first day on the beach, but he saved me anyway, risked himself to do so.


This moment reminds me of those moments.


I don’t like blood, just to make a note. I’d never really thought about it before because maybe I’ve never been truly resurrected before been far enough from Dr. J to really have an unuseful opinion, but I don’t like blood. It smells bad. It covers things up and it’s just... out of place. The missing woman’s blood was everywhere. There was a larger splatter reach where something had punctured her, and then a much smaller range where it was thicker, lines back and forth like something had shook her. It couldn’t be from a bullet or any other common weapon. The range really wasn’t that big. It was the attack of a large anima, an animal large enough to carry away a full grown woman without leaving drag tracks. She was dead.


Duo was nearly a dire wolf in his wolf form, but he wasn’t that big.


Duo also wasn’t the Duo I remembered more clearly now. In the months leading up to our fight, he’d been fragile, erratic, paranoid almost. I remember not liking the medication that Quatre’s doctors had him on. I’m all for medication that helps, but not pills that make problems worse. There were so many unfinished threads in my memory and it’s hard to know if they’re unfinished because I can’t remember or because I never found out before I went in to cryo.


But this Duo...


He’s nothing like that Duo. There is an aura of power to him as he kneels there in that bloody garden. The uniform he wears fits him, like the authority fits him, like it was always there, grown from the roots of righteous rage in his childhood, matured into  dependable authority that will put things right. His braid is a little longer than it had been before my cryo, a little thicker and both darker like his wolf form and highlighted with metallic silver strands that whisper his true age.


The crying boy in front of him, so lost and torn, I stand here watching Duo comfort him, a hand running over the little boy’s hair, soft words, calm and steady. I know Duo will never promise something he can’t produce, but there is promise in every centimeter of him, every breath.


I’m immediately ashamed for wishing for him to be my father, to protect me, to comfort me like he comforts this little boy. I have more from him than anyone else ever will have, but I can not let myself ask that and I shouldn’t need it. He is not my gravity, but loving him gives me shape nonetheless and I do love him. I love him so hard it burns my chest.


Merlin appeared then, looking like a savage girl with dreadlocks decorated with oak leaves. I shall tell you, she is decidedly disturbing sometimes. She’s so very real, but she doesn’t smell like anything. People are supposed to carry a slight scent, especially if they’re wearing skins and oak leaves. It makes her feel like a ghost. I might need a therapist if she ever gets mad at me and shows up with a little dead dog.


She smiled as she handed him a new pair of running shoes. “You’ll want these.”


And she does very odd thing like handing me a second pair of running shoes. “Thank you, very much.”


She scrubbed at her face for a moment, like she was tired.


I wonder if AI people get tired, frustrated. If so, living with Duo must make her very tired.


She sighed. “They have a tracking system in them. You’ll be able to track him.”


“Why would I need to track him?”  Heero looked back at Duo, only to have his mouth drop open, as Duo was already half naked.


Heero toed out of his other shoes even as he tried to hurry to Duo. “Wait! What are you doing? Duo!”


Moving and doing nearly had him falling so he stopped, toed completely out of his shoes, but Duo was already shifting into a wolf that was larger and scarier looking than he’d seemed at night.  At his head, he was taller than Jose to reached out and petted his big wet nose. Everything in Heero wanted to run and grab the boy up before the great big wolf at him. There was something primal and terrifying in seeing this huge wolf in the bright light of day.


When he turned and looked at Heero with those sublime twilight eyes, Heero froze, lips parted, breath held. Duo. This really wasn’t that different than Duo had always been. He’d always been something strange and wonderful and slightly inexplicable. Hurrying now, fingers shaking, Heero put on the new shoes that fit perfectly and had the slightest hint of vibration to them.


When Duo took off at a run, moving faster than Heero had expected, the shoes vibrated in response and Heero gave chase. The town gave way to the forest and the forest was the wolf’s true home.  It wasn’t Heero’s home.


Fallen trees, hills, rocks, and Heero refused to be left behind. What the wolf bounded over, the man had to claw and climb.  Skin scraped, cloth torn, Heero ran, the shoes giving him subtle direction that he didn’t even think about anymore, just trusted and flowed with it.


The trail crested on a ridge and Heero came to such an abrupt stop that he almost rolled down the other side. Breathing heavy, he wished he’d brought water. Then he heard the growl and he wished he’d fucking brought a gun. The prickles on his neck stabbed into his stomach and the thought of running in the other direction seemed like the really reasonable thing to do.


There was a small creek at the base of the ridge, and a cave opening, a rocky creek beach. Duo growled back, teeth bared, paws sinking in the gravelly beach.  He faced off with a wolf that was full on dire wolf if Heero had ever seen one. It made Duo look like dog. Darker with black eyes and bloody teeth. The lunge came before Heero was ready and the two wolves wrestled, the bigger wolf going for Duo’s throat with enthusiasm.


Heero hissed and threw himself down the hill, skidding and barely keeping to his feet. Duo yipped, kicking and skillfully turning it as he aimed for the back of the bigger wolf’s neck. Heero fell in the creek, icy water soaking into his clothes, sending sharp through scraps, but he grabbed a rock, and eyed the snarling ball of wolf. He sprung, grabbing a fist full of the bigger wolf’s fur and slamming the rock down on it with enough force to break bones, enough strength to wreck steel, and all he got was a yip and those teeth headed in his direction.


Self destructing in Zero is clean in comparison. It’s a button here, a bit of waiting, and then shock. Watching bloody great teeth come towards one’s neck in slow motion is nothing at all like self destructing. Duo slammed into the bigger wolf and those teeth scraped across Heero’s shoulder, ripping his hoodie. They were tides of fur and muscle and the great beast rolled Duo under him. Those jaws closed on Duo’s shoulder and broke bone. Duo screamed, a howl that blended into a man’s scream.
Heero threw himself on the big wolf’s back, slammed his fist into the back of its skull, into it’s spine, hitting with everything he had, harder than he’d ever hit anything in his whole life. His fist disintegrated under the impact, but the big wolf collapsed on Duo. Enraged, Heero ripped dark fur out of the great beast. He slipped to the side and kicked it with all his will, shifting it just enough off of Duo, that Heero could pull him free with his still good hand.


A few feet from what Heero hoped was the body of the other wolf, he knelt down by Duo’s unconscious body. Nervously, he checked for a pulse and found his breath when he found the pulse. It was awkward, but he got the hoodie off and used it to apply pressure to the vicious bite in Duo’s shoulder.  He leaned close and whispered in Duo’s ear. “I’m almost here. We’ll be okay. Just hold on a little longer.”


Then the big wolf shifted, rolling back onto its belly.  For a moment, those dark eyes locked eyes with Heero. Heero stared back as menacingly as he could, threatening with resources he didn’t have. When the huge thing pushed to its feet, snarled, but then turned away and limped off down the creek, Heero started to cry from relief. He wrapped his good arm around Duo and pulled him close, holding him in his lap, while applying pressure to the bite.  “Just a little longer Duo, just a little longer, please.


It's a little surreal. Duo's wounded and to fall down the rabbit hole. He's about to have problems he, literally never imagined.


Dark Wolf 12
By  Max


Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing


Note: Heero POV


“Son,” the officer started, stern and authoritarian, “do you know how fast you were going?”


Heero blinked, blue eyes staring at the officer in a moment of stunned innocence. How would it even be possible to not know how fast he was going? There had to be some kind of hidden meaning to that question.


“Yes,” he responded, his thin lips twitching in an attempt at a smile. Duo had frequently said that smiles were calming for authority figures.


“Really,” the officer said, dark eyes narrowing, lips tight. “And how fast is that, wise guy?”


“I was only doing between 179 and 182, depending on the moment,” Heero said, feeling like that was a reasonable and safe speed.


The officer pulled his glove off, wiggling his fingers at Heero, “Give me your license and registration. Only 180, uh? I clocked you at 135, what do you have to say to that, smart ass?”


“Your tracking device is inaccurate and you should have it repaired,” Heero said, holding out his license and the small tablet that was able to display his registration.


“Is that so?” His nose wrinkled, “You get that I’m going to arrest you for reckless endangerment? That’s a felony. Do you know what a felony is?”


“Yes,” Heero said, brow furrowing as he felt himself holding a bleeding and unconscious Duo in his arms. He felt the agony in his broken hand keenly enough that he had to pull his own glove off and flex his fingers to make sure that he wasn’t the one with the broken hand. “If you give me your tracking device, I will repair it for you. I will then allow you to clock my departure in excess of 340 miles per hour.”


“You gonna break the speed of sound on a plastic Japanese pocket rocket?” He asked as he handed back the small tablet and took a look at the license for the first time. “You’re Heero Yuy, the Heero Yuy, and you’re over two hundred years old?”  He frowned as his own little tablet blinked green, validating the ID as authentic. “Son, I hope your daddy has a good lawyer.”


“Isn’t that a little sexist,” Heero asked. “Perhaps my funding is provided by my mother.”


“Well that would explain some shit,” the officer snapped. “What is your birth name, boy? Or are you a girl?”


“I don’t know what my birth name was, but I am very comfortable with Heero Yuy. Officer, I do have to apologize. I need to leave now. Please send the ticket to the address on my license. I’d like to have that back now,” Heero said, his hand smoothly snapping the little bit of plastic ID back. “Have a nice day!”


The officer’s head snapped up, his eyes wide, as the sonic boom washed over him. “Holy mother of fuck me,” he whispered.

<>


“Oh god,” Duo groaned, grimacing. His head throbbed and his shoulder hosted shooting pain that went all the way down his arm.


Heero shifted, trying to put as little pressure on the wounded shoulder as possible. “Try not to move,” he said soothingly. “I’m bringing a helicopter.”


“Where da fuck you get a helicopter,” Duo wheezed, spitting blood as he forced himself to sit up.  His right arm hung limp and he gave it an accusing stare. “You coulda put my shoulder back in the socket when I was unconscious,” Duo whined.


“There is too much tissue damage,” Heero said, shocked, and a little nauseous. He was fairly certain Duo was going to lose that arm.


“Now that’s some bullshit,” Duo said as he tried to get his knees under him and ended up falling back against Heero, who wrapped his arms around him protectively.


“Please, Duo. I’m almost here.”


Duo scrubbed at his face with his left hand. “Are you two just like deciding that you’re one person  now?”


“I feel his thoughts, he feels mine,” Heero said, being careful to keep his mangled hand out of the conversation. “I will be here in less than five minutes. Please be patient. You need medical care.”


“I need a fucking steak,” Duo snarled, but at the same time, he snuggled closer to Heero, soaking into the familiar warmth and scent, the feel of strong muscles, of his husband. “Don’t fucking leave me again, promise?”


“I promise,” Heero said. “Raw meat heals you?”


“Not bad as a cure,” Duo said. “God. I have to find that wolf. Whoever it is... it’s more wolf virus. I have to stop it.”


“First, you have to not die or lose limbs,” Heero snapped. “That promise goes both ways! You have to not leave me too.”


“I ain’t hurt that bad,” Duo said. “My wolf self heals fast. I just need to shift back.”


Shadow moved over them, and Duo flinched, disturbed by the lack of sound, until Merlin appeared next to him, crouching, her eyes violet now, her smile like a mirror. “You look all chewed up,” she said with a sparkle.


“I’m so fuckin’ gonna reset you,”  Duo snapped.


Whatever had been above them had disappeared by the time the second Heero appeared. He went to one knee by Duo, sizing up the wound like he was running some kind of scan. “No. You will not reset Merlin.”


“What the fuck,” Duo said, trying harder to get up.  Heero and Merlin looked at each other and for a split second Duo thought he was looking at a photo of himself and Heero, but there was this information exchange between them and jealousy flared like spilling lava. “You don’t tell me what to do with my tools!”


The second Heero’s hand started to glow and Duo growled. As Heero reached for his wounded shoulder, Duo found the energy and will to move, putting him several feet back on the gravely beach, the fingertips of his good hand on the ground, eyes glaring “What the fuck?”


“I want to heal  your arm,” Duo snarled, feeling irrational and angry. “You’re just a fuckin’ AI like Merlin.”


Heero’s mouth opened to deny it, then he shrugged. “I can heal your shoulder if you’ll let me.”


“Great,” Duo said, not moving any closer. “You can heal by touch too. You’re back from the dead, twice, and you’re a fucking messiah too. Can you bring Felicity back from the dead? She’s gotta be around here somewhere. I smell her.”

“If I can do that,” the second Heero asked, “Will you trust me?”


“No,” Duo said, suspicious. “What are you?”


“I am Heero Yuy. I am also connected to the all knowledge through the net. I am more.”


“And him,” Duo said, pointing at the Heero he’d been snuggling with, the man who smelled like Heero, the man who he longed for, needed him to be real, would take an insanity where he was with him rather than sanity where he wasn’t. “What’s he?”


“He is the original Heero Yuy, a little bit frostbit though,” the second Heero said, making a pinching gesture with his fingers. “Tell me what you want me to do, Duo?”


“Find Felicity and heal her,” Duo said, knowing that was impossible as he reached out to his Heero, who immediately moved closer and slipped an arm around Duo’s back, helping him get to his feet. “Then... yeah... I might be a little more hurt than I thought.”


“Really,” second Heero said, smirking. His expressions were so much freer and more nuanced than original Heero as if he were adding years of personal growth by the minute. “Imagine that.”


“Merlin,” Duo asked, needing her to give him some explanation. He’d depended on her, trusted her for as long as he could clearly remember. The wars, his childhood, that was so long ago, so fuzzy. “What’s going on?”


She smiled at him, her expressions fuller, more confident, and he knew she wasn’t his anymore. That she was something that he hadn’t seen in her before. “It’s just one singularity of many. Will you allow me heal you?”


“The fuckin’ singularity? Really? You and the Heero pastie think you are the fuckin’ singularity. God.” Duo said face scrubbing his face. He’d never actually felt old until that moment. “And I’m the fucking God of Death....”


“Well, we are,” Merlin said sweetly and the last thing he saw was her hand touching his shoulder before a overwhelming sense of well being and euphoria flooded through him.

Heero held onto him as his knees buckled for a moment. His jaw was open, so open it almost felt like it would just come unhinged, but fuck - everything was okay. Heero was home and holding him. Felicity couldn’t go to hell, because there was no hell, and his shoulder didn’t hurt even a little. Then he started giggling uncontrollably, Heero holding him up.  “This isn’t fucking funny,” Duo wheezed as his giggles turned to solid laughter. “Merlin! I have told you not to fuck with people’s brains!”


But then the second Heero carried Felicity out of the little cave. Her chest was moving with breath, her clothes ruined, but she seemed whole and alive. Duo pulled away from his Heero and nearly fell over as he reached out to her, to run his hands over her neck, checking for her pulse. He still hadn’t stopped laughing, but now he was crying too. “But... I smell.... She was dead! There was so much blood loss! She’s not even wounded now!”


“You wouldn’t understand if I told you,” second Heero said gently. “Let’s get her home.”


Duo nodded, eyes wide, frightened, mind racing as he made the sign of the cross over himself. Whatever was going on, the Wolf Virus wasn’t the biggest change in town anymore.

Dark Wolf 13


By Max


Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing.


The dawn was watery and weak. On the other side, clouds all looked fluffy and white. Underneath them they could be gray and the golden sunlight more like piss. Hunched over the bench out behind his jail, he rested the end of his cigarette against his lip, waiting for some burst of energy to take another drag, to have the energy to exhale one more time. His bones felt that if he breathed hard, they’d crumple down like ashes, as gray as the dawn.


Footsteps crunched on the gravel next to him, giving him an urgency to focus on his cigarette, draw it in, even though the smoke had long since lost it’s power, still lips around it, pressed up against calloused fingers, he could look away, like he was doing something and couldn’t be bothered.


“You shouldn’t smoke so much.”


Now that voice was what dawn ought to be made of, like it could seep into you and pull everything you were awake. He’d waited nearly two hundred years to hear that voice, survived, plague, become a monster, done some shit he’d take back if he could, all while dreaming about having that man and that voice back again and now, now he wrinkled his nose, blew out smoke, and drew it in again. “Yeah.”


“Smoking is carcinogenic and it tastes bad.”


Duo leaned back, feeling the stretch in his lungs from the transformations and the smoking. A couple packs of cigarette carcasses painted the negative space around his boots. “I can’t get cancer,” he said, elbows on the back of his bench, smoke curling around his hand, up his arm, seasoning for his pissy mood. “You suggesting you want to kiss me?”


Heero, the one that was half artificial intelligence, half Heero Yuy, and half a djinn, grinned like a boy at Christmas before he knew the truth about Santa. Those blue eyes lit up with an innocence that Duo was forced to recognize as whatever it is that makes a person human, no matter how fast this Heero’s thoughts moved. “Yes, very much so. I long to kiss you. May I?”


Duo took another quick drag on his cigarette, then crushed it. “No.”


He stood up, breathing as deeply as his still angry lungs would allow, and felt clarity.


“Look,” he said, spread fingers pushing into his hair, pressing over his scalp as if holding something would make it easier. “I thought it was going to be super hard choosing between you or that I’d just keep you both, because I’m a greedy shit, but it’s really easy, actually. I’m just man, mostly. You’re way more than that. Merlin is to me what you are to my Heero. Go kiss Merlin.”


Even as he spoke the words though, his chest slowly tightened like a nut cinching down. His whole life, at least from the moment he’d known he loved Heero, so teenager to well past his second century, he’d always known he wasn’t good enough for Heero. Not fast enough, not strong enough, not smart enough, not anything enough, but he’d gotten more of everything all the time and all that waiting, he’d been waiting to be Heero’s equal.


So there were two Heeros, the Heero who hadn’t changed since the day he’d last seen him and this Heero what was probably what Heero was always meant to be - a fucking god, and standing there in the debris of his bad habits, Duo just was okay with being just Duo. Heero was supposed to be more. There was a version of himself that could likely keep up with this Heero, but it wasn’t him.


The time it took him to say that, to kind of wilt a bit, his head tipping to the side, this more than human Heero had come to the same conclusions and accepted them. Honestly, Duo wished there had been just little bit more denial in there.


“I will always love you.”


The tears that hit his eyes should have stung, but like the grey dawn they just kind of leaked into being. A hand over his eyes, chest tight, Duo nodded. “Great. Thanks.”


Then that perfect Heero was gone. The gravel didn’t even crunch when he left. Fucking AI systems. Duo rocked the heel of his hand over his eye, tried to yawn.


Going to the kitchen was something do, something he ought to do, breakfast, food. Transformation always made him hungry, except for this time. This time it was just something to do.


“He’s a better choice,” Heero said, voice full of doubt, just above a whisper.


Duo forced a deep breath, wished he were pouring whiskey into the oat loops instead of milk a day past its sell by date. “Well, fuck, I think he’s going after Merlin, and I don’t think yer his fucking type, but you could try.”


“Not me,” Heero said, dark circles under his eyes, face pale, mortal and fragile and  Duo found himself staring, smiling slightly at the wonderful beauty of a blue eyed Japanese boy who was a bit on the dehydrated and paranoid side. “You. You should be with him because he’s perfect. He can protect you.”


The smile got a bit bigger, and suddenly he was hungry and stale oat loops became fucking delicious. “You are the most beautiful, most wonderful, most everything and only thing I have ever wanted,” Duo said, mouth full of oat loops and milk so that he had to wipe a bit from the corner of his mouth as he spoke and chewed, “And as fer protecting mahself. I turn into a fucking dire wolf. If I need more protection than that, I’m fucked.”


“You... you still want to be with me?” Heero’s face trembled, so subtle just slight emotion on thin lips, an unsteadiness to dark lashes.


“That is the only fucking thing I want, Heero Yuy. I want you completely and utterly. Don’t  you fucking ever leave me again!” Duo’s spoon flew across the kitchen, hitting Heero’s chest and Duo’s face scrunched up like he wasn’t quite sure when he’d made the choice to throw his spoon. Lips pursed, he grabbed another spoon from the drawer and looked up at the ceiling as he took another bite. “Please.”


“I won’t leave you,” Heero said, setting the spoon in the sink. “I love you. Can I kiss you?”


Duo dropped his bowl in the sink, both hands going to Heero’s face as he touched his lips to Heero’s. The kiss was familiar, lips welcoming and warm, even though both of them had felt cold, now the blood rushed and hearts grabbed instinct and adrenalin. Duo’s tongue pushed forward slightly, nervous, but the moment Heero’s lips opened, the sentence was underway, deep and possessive, needing to know him now. It was at once eternal and flickering, until Heero wrapped his arms around Duo, pulling him close, a hand cradling the back of his head, and then Duo melted into it. Heero was home. Heero was Heero. Everything was perfect.


Then the north side of the jail exploded.


Duo grabbed a pistol from beside the flatware bin and ran.


Cement and steel and what had been a jail cot that he’d happily used many times lay around the parking lot like military confetti. “What in the fucking hell?”


Merlin shimmered into being, looking ever more like Duo and smiling his best god-I-shurly-didn’t-think-the-explosion-would-be-that-big smile. “Hey.”


“Holy Mary Mother Fucking God,” Duo shouted, poking his pistol at the air like armed punctuation. “What happened?”


“Well, we had a suitable courtship, spent a month in Hawaii, then came back here to have sex,” Merlin said, fingertips templing.
Duo shook his head, one eye open wider than the other. “Say again?”


The other Heero also did that same shimmer in and watching Heero do it was super disturbing. “There might have been,” and he made this pinching explanation with his fingers, “the tiniest bit of anti-matter as we experimented with the meaning of the soul during prolonged peak orgasm.”


Duo’s Heero gently pulled the pistol from his hand.


“IT’S been like ten minutes since we spoke? I’m real glad it’s working out for you two deviants! Fix my fucking jail!”


“Uh uh,” Merlin said, nodding quickly.


“No more explody sex,” Duo said shaking both his pointer fingers at them. “Also! From now on, you’re Arthur. Merlin and Arthur.”


“No more exploding sex,” Merlin agreed, picking up a bit of concrete.


“God, I need a whiskey,” Duo snapped, spun on his heel, held out his hand for his Heero.


“We should have sex too,” Heero said, ever blunt and to the point.


“First whiskey,” Duo said, not disagreeing.





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