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Cookies (Gundam Wing)

Fandom: Gundam Wing
Title: Cookies
Word Count: 2000
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Through episode 9, which is when this is set. (The one where Duo and Heero are enrolled in the same high school.)
Synopsis: Heero needs his own personal therapist; Duo gives it a shot.

Author's note: This started out as Heero's entry in the "A Boy Loves His Gundam" series, but it was part of a larger piece, and I decided that it worked better on its own. Hence the lack of Gundams.



“Heero.”

I woke up on my feet, ready to fight and die. The lights were out, but there was enough moonlight coming in through the window to see Duo on the other side of the room, arms folded across his chest, sardonically staring down the barrel of my gun.

“Remember me? Duo, your totally non-threatening roommate?” He raised his hands over his head. “Better now?”

False alarm, I informed my body. It wasn’t hard to get my breath under control, but my speeding heart obeyed more slowly, and I couldn’t recall the adrenaline that coursed through my blood. I lowered my weapon.

Duo put down his hands, interlaced them behind his back, and stretched out his shoulders. “See if I ever do you another favor.”

“What favor?”

“You were having a nightmare. I figured you wouldn’t appreciate it if I shook you.”

“I’d have killed you before I woke up.” I replaced the gun beneath my pillow and flipped open my laptop.

Duo wandered over and peered over my shoulder. “What’cha doing?”

“Re-assigning my roommate. Don’t stand so close.”

I didn’t have to turn around to feel him rolling his eyes at me, or to tell that he hadn’t moved back, either.

“Learning to get along is supposed to be character-building, so there’s no switches allowed,” he pointed out. “If you hack in and make one, it’ll attract more attention than most people want when they’re undercover. Even more than brooding dramatically while being stalked by the ambassador’s daughter.”

When I hesitated, he pressed his advantage. “Next time I’ll let you finish your bad dream, all right?”

I closed the laptop and glared at him. This time he backed up. One step. “When I was six years old, I was taught to sleep without making a sound. You shouldn’t have woken me up on a lucky guess.”

“Didn’t need a sound. Your fists were clenched and the sweat was pouring off of you. … Six, huh? That’s young for that sort of training.”

“It’s the perfect age to ingrain reactions.”

Duo sat down on the edge of his bed. “The correct reaction when an ally you’re bunking with quietly says your name from across the room is ‘Hey, Duo, what’s up?’ If you’re jumping out of your skin every thirty seconds, you’re wasting energy you might need later. You want to relax when it’s time to relax, then fight like hell when it’s time to fight. Like me!”

I considered killing him. It seemed the simplest way to shut him up. But he was probably right about the perils of attracting attention while undercover, and a dead or even missing roommate would certainly do that. Also, we still had a mission to complete.

He went on, “Are you trying to burn yourself out? Why did you unbuckle your parachute? Did you want to die, or just show off? Why did you set your own leg? Who does that?!”

“My bones are reinforced. A doctor would have noticed.”

“You could have asked me to help. But you don’t do that, do you?”

“I fight by myself, and I take care of myself.”

“Really? And here I’d pegged you as a team player.” Duo reached under his bedside table, pulled out a crumpled packet, and offered it to me. I shook my head. “Oatmeal, no raisins.” He took out a cookie and munched it, flicking the crumbs off his blankets and in the direction of mine. “So you were doing heavy training when you were six, huh? What a shocker. My own childhood, of course, was nothing but fuzzy blankies and chocolate chip cookies.”

I suspected that he was being ironic.

He held out the packet again. “Sure you don’t want one? More for me. You must have grown up alone, except for your trainers. You only analyze people in terms of how you could take them down physically. But I grew up surrounded by friends and enemies. My life might depend on knowing how I could break a person, or what I could say to make them stronger.”

He blew crumbs off his hand onto my bed. Annoyed, I brushed them back at him. He grinned at me. I realized his strategy then, and it impressed me: one simple prop to distract me with irrelevancies and make me think he had no serious intent, when all the while he was planting the seeds of… something. Trying to recruit me for a long-term team-up, probably.

“I told you, I normally work solo. This mission is a one-time-only thing.”

“I have a feeling,” he said around a mouthful of cookie, “This won’t be the last time we’re thrown together. Be nice if you were less of a liability to your own side.”

“Treize tricked me once. It won’t happen again.”

“That’s not what I meant. Since I came to Earth, I’ve blown up lots of stuff and rescued you. No injuries to myself, a little minor damage to Deathscythe, never been captured. In the same amount of time, you’ve crashed your Gundam, tried to blow it up and failed, pulled your gun on a schoolgirl, gotten shot, gotten captured, broken your leg on purpose, blown up some pacifists—OK, that one wasn’t your fault— and deactivated those missiles and saved us all— that was good. My point is, your track record is a little erratic.”

I got under the covers and put my head down on the pillow, hoping he’d take the hint.

Duo kept on babbling. “Like I said, while you were learning to be a maniac’s idea of a perfect soldier, I was learning to pay attention to other people. You may sleep quietly but you don’t sleep well. You can’t tell the difference between a real threat and background noise. You do more damage to yourself than you do to the enemy. You can’t bear to be touched unless you’re wounded. I guess that was the only time anyone was ever gentle with you, huh? You’re dying to pull the blanket over your head or turn your back to me or even close your eyes, but you can’t, not as long as I’m awake, even though you know I’m not going to attack you. Heero… I could help with some of that. Make you a better soldier.”

“The only thing that’s ruining my sleep is you. I’m fine the way I am.”

“Yeah? In that case, I’ll put my hand on your shoulder. If you’re fine, you won’t flinch.”

I threw off the covers and sat up. “If you touch me, I’ll kill you.”

“Thanks for proving my point.” Duo grinned, more fierce than amused; he might smile like that while he swings his beam-scythe. “Not that you could.”

He wasn’t the only one who could read people. I saw the banked fury that underlay his campaign to fix me up and get more use out of me: not only anger at the enemies that he wanted to aim me at, but at me, as good a weapon as he’d ever seen, for turning my destructive power inward rather than outward. I could turn that rage to my own ends.

“Watch me.” I knocked him off the bed. Cookies went flying.

I jumped over the bed, but he’d already rolled to the side. I landed next to him in a crouch, and turned toward his feint. In an instant, he had me face-down on the floor with his knee on my back and his forearm across my throat. I jabbed him in the ribs with my elbow, taking care not to break anything. He grabbed my arm with his free hand and twisted it behind my back. I’d known he was good, with a rough style similar to my own, but he was stronger than I’d expected.

“I got— Ow!”

I’d jerked my head back, and smacked him fairly hard in the face. His holds loosened, but
didn’t break.

“Tap out, Heero, or I’ll choke you out.”

Digging my fingers into his forearm, I pulled it far enough away from my throat to gasp, “I’ll kill you!”

He tightened his grip. I let go of his arm and reached backward, going for his eyes. His head jerked back, and he trapped both my arms in a lock. Then he applied more pressure to my throat. My vision started to gray out.

“Stop fighting, and I’ll let you go!”

I struggled harder to distract him while I twisted my head to the side, turning his controlled choke-hold into a more dangerous one. He wasn’t strong enough to snap my neck, but if my throat was in the right position, that wouldn’t matter. Even Dr. J. had decided it was too risky to test how long I could go without oxygen. If Duo was angry enough, or frightened enough…

He wasn’t. I woke up with carpet fibers and cookie crumbs prickling my cheek. Duo rolled me on to my back, supporting my neck, and felt around my throat. There was blood all over his face.

“Oh, so now it’s OK for me to touch you…” He leaned over and listened to me breathe, then sat back on his heels. “You’re fine. Wait, let me re-phrase that. You’re completely fucked up, but your airway won’t swell up and choke you to death.”

Too bad, I thought.

He blotted his split lip with the back of his hand, but only succeeded in smearing the blood around. “Were you hoping I’d kill you, or did you just want me to pick you up, put you to bed, and give you some ice for your throat?”

Picked up sounded good. Ice sounded better.

He stood up. “Pick yourself up. I’m going to bed.”

I didn’t expect him to give up quite that easily, so I wasn’t surprised when, a few minutes later, I heard a sleepy voice from the bed. “Hey, Heero, I’ll make you one last offer, since I’m such a nice, forgiving guy. When I was a street kid on L2, a bunch of us lived in a squat with no heat. We used to sleep piled together for warmth, like a litter of puppies. Get your mind out of the gutter—we were little kids. Tell you the truth, it took me forever to learn how to sleep alone. You ever want a little human contact without getting yourself beat to hell to have an excuse, you just lie down next to me. I won’t tell, I won’t put the moves on you, and I won’t wake up trying to kill you, ‘cause I learned how to not do that.”

He yawned, long and lazy. “I could teach you…”

When his breathing evened out, I got up and stood over his bed. I’d have woken up and taken down the intruder if anyone had done that to me, but he lay still, mouth open and the pillow damp around it, and not just with blood. I wouldn’t put it past Duo to drool on purpose to trick me, but he seemed genuinely asleep.

I checked the lock on the door and the latches on the windows. Then I looked at Duo again. Had he been serious? I could not imagine myself climbing into bed with him, putting my arms around his warm body, and curling up like… like a puppy…

I lay down in my own bed, one hand clutching the gun under my pillow. Every time Duo shifted in his sleep or leaves rustled outside the window or a car drove by, a jolt went through my body and my heart rate sped up. I gave up trying to slow it down. The pillow got soaked with sweat, so I turned it over. Then I turned it over again. I wouldn’t have believed that I could be so exhausted and tense at the same time, except that I’d always been this way. Duo thought he could teach me to be like him, but he hadn’t been trained like me, or had the experiences I’d had. Even if he could take away my edge, then I’d be less alert and I’d miss something I should have caught and then there’d be even more disasters that I’d be responsible for.

When I closed my eyes, I saw corpses half-buried in rubble. If I kept my eyes closed, I might fall asleep. I was still awake when the sun rose and Duo, nine-tenths asleep, reached out to touch someone who wasn’t there.

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
tarigwaemir
Dec. 18th, 2007 05:53 am (UTC)
I like how Duo is (apparently) saner than Heero but still knows how to reason in a way that Heero can understand. I also like how this ends...Heero still awake, still tense. Duo reaching out to him can't and doesn't solve his problems all in one go.
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! (Belatedly.)
askerian
Dec. 18th, 2007 10:19 am (UTC)
... *o*

My god. I'm amazed. They're perfect, so in character it hurts. How Heero is messed up, and Duo too in more subtle ways, and the dysfunctional way they deal and -- ahhhhh. Duo trying to help Heero a bit, for so many possible reasons -- maybe one, maybe all of them, and Heero of course thinking it's manipulation to make him useful-- I love it. It deserves a better review but I can't kick my brain in gear. But the vivid in-characterness and interaction, oh god. yes. yesyesyes.
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much!
rilina
Dec. 18th, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC)
I really liked this, especially how Heero both does and does not recognize what Duo is trying to do. I can imagine Heero twitching at Duo keeps talking and talking...

Also, the bit where Duo lists their respective accomplishments totally made me laugh.

Edited at 2007-12-18 02:57 pm (UTC)
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
This is so belated, but thank you! (I like how the whole "what Heero thinks/what the reader sees" thing turned out myself.)
gaudior
Dec. 18th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, very cool. More coherent comments later (I hope), but... I like. Grin.
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (Feel free to add coherent comments on anything any time (or not)... You see how long it takes me to comment!)
marith
Dec. 18th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)
Wow. I still haven't seen Gundam Wing, but this stood on its own nicely.
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'm flattered. Thanks!
rurounitriv
Dec. 18th, 2007 08:19 pm (UTC)
Love how they're both screwed up, but in such different ways, and it reflects they way they were brought up... if you want to call that being brought up.
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Such a difficulty to decide which of the pilots had the suckiest childhood, but my vote is for Heero, based partly on what we know, partly on what I extrpolate, and largely on how he turned out.
(Deleted comment)
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes I did! (New one's up!)
sphynxlike
Dec. 18th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
Excellent. I like this.
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
oyceter
Dec. 19th, 2007 01:36 am (UTC)
Awwww! I like the sense of trauma in this that doesn't have to express itself in vomiting; Heero's so dysfunctional, and one of the reasons why is because he doesn't quite realize how dysfunctional he is.

I woke up on my feet, ready to fight and die.

Oh Heero, ever the optimist...

I loved Duo listing out their respective accomplishments!

Also, I think I got you wrong on the anime character thing -- you are Duo!
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC)
Very belated, but your comment cracked me up.

Also, I am flattered!
okaasan59
Jan. 9th, 2008 01:02 am (UTC)
One of the best characterizations of Heero and Duo I've ever seen. Amusing, insightful and moving.
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much! (I just posted another one. Duo's not in it, but a slightly less crazy Heero is.)
dynadee
Jan. 9th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC)
I loved this. I haven't read characters so close to the originals in quite a while. It's nice to be reminded why I got into reading fan fiction in the first place. Thanks for sharing.
edonohana
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
That's so lovely to hear!

I just posted another story, by the way; you might also enjoy recent GWing stories by rilina and springgreen.
seranita
Jan. 13th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
I'm afraid I can only repeat what has already been said. But this story was really amazing, I just can't imagine any other way the characters might act. I wished, Heero would have overcome his training and climbed into Duos bed, though. They both deserve to be comforted, even if it's only a little bit.

... Okay, obviously I'm not able to give any constructive reviews right now. Let's just say it was pure pleasure to read.^^*
poilass
Jan. 17th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, Heero. I want so badly to give him a hug, except then he'd try to kill me.

This is really fantastic work, you have them both down perfectly. I've sort of learned to like a lot of fanon in self defense, but it's such a relief to read them written *well*.
sharona1x2
Jun. 21st, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
I came here because of a rec, and I'm glad I did. While everyone else is marveling over your Heero (and I agree that he's well written), I enjoyed your Duo even more. It's always wonderful to read a portrayal of him where he's written so intelligently.

There's something about the interaction between these two that makes their connection so interesting, even without the influence of Gundam Wing fandom. You captured that dynamic very well.
edonohana
Jun. 22nd, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I love Duo and too much fic about him involves a lot of out of character weeping and clinging.
tyreling
Jun. 30th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
Wow. I like both characterizations. Very moving and fluid going with the scenes. it's really sad how this ended that way; Heero has a long way to go. :3
Nice work!
kinsugi
Jul. 2nd, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
I'm a to-the-bone GW fanatic, but somehow I've missed you until now. I found a Trowa fic in 30_kisses, which led me to tomoichi's rec pages, which led me to rilina_fic, which led me to you. Suddenly I don't have a moribund fandom any more, but a very much alive group of newer writers to discover.

What a treat. Your Duo and Heero characterizations were perfect; not many writers get under Duo's skin to this depth, and express the guy under the grin so well! Heero was also deeper than usually drawn; not clueless, but able to analyze both himself and Duo, and making choices rather than being run blindly by his conditioning. Two smart, highly trained, independent and very dangerous people are each looking at how to use the other. So fine:

He wasn’t the only one who could read people. I saw the banked fury that underlay his campaign to fix me up and get more use out of me: not only anger at the enemies that he wanted to aim me at, but at me, as good a weapon as he’d ever seen, for turning my destructive power inward rather than outward. I could turn that rage to my own ends.

I loved the way you used what could have been trite... first fight in a a school dorm... to show how their histories and personalities would have directed that interaction. BONUS!! A well-written, wonderfully detailed FIGHT!! I don't think I've enjoyed a fight this much since Maldoror.

I think I love you. I don't know how many fics you've written but I hope for a lot and shall read them all. Thank you for this; you've made me very, very happy.
lady_ganesh
Jun. 19th, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
This is wonderful! But you knew that. I love that last line, though, Heero craving the attention and affection just a little bit, but so unwilling to admit it even to himself.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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