Title: Stranger Things...
Author: Bevin Brand
Pairings: 1x2 (eventually), 3x4
Warnings: Language, weirdness, OOC, AU(?), yuri hints, yaoi hints, angst, my weird sense of humor.
Notes: Okay, this is after EW (which I haven't even seen yet, but oh well), Duo and Heero aren't, nor have they ever been in a relationship thus far, and, uhhh.... I don't know what I'm doing. ^_^ C&C more than welcome! ^_^ Oh, and I added some stuff to the first part of this for those of you who read it before. OKAY! Done babbling. Oh and GOMEN NASAI for crossposting and all the shouting but I'm in a hurry! Later, MWAH!
No matter how hard I wish, that look on Sally Pos face refuses waver into the ear to ear grin normally associated with good-natured ribbing and practical jokes. Its starting to get on my nerves, that look of total and utter seriousness. Its starting to make me feel very very uncomfortable, actually, and thats not something Im used to feeling. Ive felt uncomfortable before, to be sure, but not quite in this way. Only two other times have I ever felt that shocky, sticky sickness that seemed to plaster itself to the underside of my skin and the last had been about two weeks ago. But Im not going into that now, right now Im still trying to convince myself that Sallys developed a sadistic sense of humor and having a harder and harder time with it.
Youre not actually serious, are you? My tone is skeptical, controlled, never betraying the pit of fear that has steadily been engulfing my stomach for the past several moments.
I couldnt be more serious, Heero. I dont understand it, I cant even begin to imagine how.... She trails off, at a loss for words. I can understand that. Id like to run some more tests, if you dont mind. Maybe find out.... I dont know, we *had* to have made an error somewhere.
That seems to be the only logical explanation. Im definitely not amused by any of this and Im damn well not going to hide it. Im almost positive that this isnt a joke now, and that doesnt reassure me, but at least one more logical option remains open. Im sure there was simply a mix-up somewhere and the retests will show no abnormalities whatsoever. There is simply no other logical alternative.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Duo looks nervous and uncomfortable sitting across from me. I dont blame him. The last time we saw each other was under... unusual circumstances and my request to speak to him was, in retrospect, a bit ominous and ambiguous. Regrettable, since this meeting was going to be awkward even minus that fact, but there are simply some things even I cant just state over the phone. Some things must be done in person. That doesnt make them easier by any stretch of the imagination, and right now Im hoping for some of my ex-partners inane chatter more than anything else in the world. The silence stretches for an eternity on all sides between us.
A quick assessment of his appearance reveals nothing new. Same impractical amount of hair done back in a braid that hangs just past his waist, wide eyes that seem violet in some lights and blue in others, primarily black clothing, and without my presence stopping up his normal routine Im sure hed have that same insufferable grin plastered to his face. I only saw him three weeks ago, but it had been such a long time before that when we saw each other that his more noticable changes are still new to me. Hes grown quite a bit over the past while, a good six inches taller already than when we first met. His face has lost its baby fat as well, his chipmunk cheeks thinned out into features bespeaking more of someone on the cusp of adulthood than a child. Not that he had ever really been a child to begin with. None of the five of us had, but Duos body was finally catching up with his psyche. I wonder if Ive changed that much and simply not noticed it.
Finally, he clears his throat and a brief look of relief passes over his features at having found something to say.
You want some coffee, or something?
I almost accept and then remember that I cant. Shouldnt. My condition doesnt allow for it.
The silence returns. Duos nervousness increases and he wets his lips before taking the initiative and diving headfirst into the subject I had been afraid to broach.
So, Heero, what did you need to talk to me so urgently about?
Not knowing if I should simply say it, or if I should ease into it more slowly, I opt for the latter. I need some time to get used to this myself.
I had a physical last week. I cant look at him. I cant look Duo Maxwell in the eye and tell him this. I almost run for the door in the mad desperate hope that maybe if I dont tell him it wont be true. But he deserves to know. I take a breath and continue. They have no idea how it happened, how its possible, but--
Oh God..... Startled at his interruption I look over at his pale, stricken face. In the three years Ive known Duo Maxwell Ive never seen him wear fear in so obvious a way. Something on my face must have betrayed my own fear because hes suddenly hugging me with shaking arms, his head buried in the crook of my neck. And I find myself hugging him back, surprised at the realization of just how badly I needed a hug then. I had never needed one before, not in a year of war or any time before or since. But I needed one now and I never wanted it to end.
Finally he pulled back and his violet eyes locked onto mine with an intensity Ive rarely seen in them outside battle. His normally happy smiling face is set in a stone mask of desperate determination making him seem far older than his age of seventeen. I briefly wonder if this is how I appear to other people.
Heero, whatever it is you can fight it, okay? Dont give up, promise me that youll fight it, you can *beat* it. Promise me! Theres a cold panic behind his determination connected to something that runs deeper and farther back than this one incident. Part of me wants to ask him about it, to forget my own problem for a few minutes, anything to keep from thinking about it. But I know he wont let me.
Dammit Yuy!! Thats not fair!! Thats not fucking fair, you cant sit there behind your brick wall and tell me youre just giving up! I wont let you, I wont lose another one, do understand me?? Hes yelling directly into my face now, his hands pulling at the fabric of my shirt and his eyes wet with tears that dont fall. Ive never seen him cry before, or come this close to it. A part of me is touched that he cares so much for my well-being, but the rest of me is concentrating on finishing what I had come here to tell him. Duo. I surprise even myself with how gentle my voice sounds and how easily my hands fit over his. I had always thought I wasnt able to be like this with people, but I guess peace changes a person. His eyes close against mine, refusing to see, refusing to acknowledge that I have more to say. Duo. My fingers tug gently at his chin until his face is towards mine again, his eyes still closed. Im not dying.
His breath catches and those purple irises become visible once more as he blinks in surprise. Yet another first for facial expressions I hadnt seen on him before.
What? he finally manages to choke out.
Im not dying. I say again. His face as it slides from grief to shock to utter relief is amazing in its sheer variety and range of expressions. Maxwell is the closest thing Ive ever seen to a living cartoon character, a fact that made me want to kill him before I even knew what a cartoon was, but now helped cheer me up at least somewhat momentarily. Its sad, but I have to shatter his relief before it overwhelms me to the point that I cant tell him. His emotions have that effect on me anymore.
Oh Heero, thats... His voice hitches and he cant find the words for once. Then the look in my eyes sinks in and he knows theres something else coming.
Duo... I closed my eyes again, still unable to look at him as I tell him this. Im pregnant.
I can feel those enormous eyes staring at me, though with what in them I can only imagine. Inwardly steeling myself against whatever might meet my gaze, I open my eyes back to him while keeping up a carefully neutral front. Having honed this particular mask to perfection over the course of my life I find it all too easy to slip back into even now. I guess I havent come as far as I thought since the war.
Duo hasnt budged an inch and is staring at me in undisguised shock. If his jaw dropped any lower hed be in danger of dislocating it. I honestly cant say I blame him, about a week ago that was my perpetual expression. Well, internally, anyway. How easily will he be convinced of this? Hes been quiet for several seconds now, so there must be something happening under all that hair.
Its about here that Duo starts laughing. Not the half-crazed Shinigami laugh that all of us heard over our Gundam comlink from time to time in the heat of battle, but an honest-to-goodness genuine laugh. Sure, I shocked it out of him and more than a little of it was tinged with the relief that was probably rolling off of his nerves in waves at this point, but its not quite what I was expecting. Frankly, its getting on my nerves a little. Still, another pang of guilt hits me at the thought of silencing the first authentic reaction of mirth Ive ever seen from him, but its vital that he take me seriously.
Before I can open my mouth to speak, though, he does it for me.
Oh man! A tear that had only moments before nearly been shed in grief is now being wiped in mirth from one rosey cheek. Im sorry for laughing like that but I totally never expected this.
Tell me about it.
I mean, I never woulda figured you for the type!
That one catches me off guard a bit. The type to do what? The irritability Im feeling is coming through a bit more clearly than I prefer, but theres not much I can do about that now. This isnt going at all how I predicted and the amount of anger Im starting to feel is vastly out of proportion to the level I usually have, which only makes it worse.
Yknow, go in for the Mr. Mom procedure. I mean theres nothing wrong with that, hands up in the universal sign of surrender, if thats what you wanna do, it just surprised me, is all. Ooo! Can I see your scar? My shirt is thrust up to my chest before I can even think of how to respond to that. Hey! Theres no scar! Neat! Can they heal em that quick now? Ahhh, modern medicine is a wonderous thing these days, isnt it? So did it hurt? Hes poking at my midsection as if expecting an alien to jump from it and grab him at any moment.
No, not exactly. His normal behavior is just as annoying as his unpredictable one a minute ago and Im reminded once more of why we never see each other outside Quatres parties.
Helloooo? Helloooo in there little fetus! Hes not even pretending to pay attention to me now, and is instead speaking directly to my stomach. Listen to your Uncle Duo; Dont grow up to be like your daddy, whatever you do! Hes no fun at parties, has a singing voice that makes children and small animals cower in fear, and his socks smell like cornchips! Ewwww!
Its about at this point that I start to wonder if my coming here at all wasnt a big mistake. A thought that only gets more persistant when he begins tapping on my navel.
Testing! Is this thing on? Tap tap tap.
DUO!!! The swat on the hand and the force of my voice as I actually, literally scream at him are both harsher than I had intended on being with him but my temper is short and his antics arent helping any. Ignoring the wounded and surprised look hes giving me, I press on before he can shrug this all off and dive into another one of this prattling monologues. Will you SHUT UP for TWO SECONDS and listen to what Im saying?? I never got surgery. I never planned this, I never thought about it, it never entered my mind as a possibility of anything even remotely connected in any way, shape or form to me until my physical results last week. Hes staring in mute confusion and fear from the floor in front of me, though whether its from my uncharacteristic tantrum or the words Im speaking I dont know. Do you understand me, Duo?? This was an *accident*!
His mouth works itself open and closed a few times before the right synapses fire to allow speach, and even then he doesnt know what to say. But... Hes trying to find the catch, the loophole, the explanation as the implications of what Ive said sink in. I can see it in his eyes, the frantic search for something that makes sense, that one clue that makes all the other peices of the puzzle fall into place. Which is precisely what Ive been doing for the past week with no luck. A large part of me is screaming at him to find it, to find that missing piece that somehow I, Sally, and every colleague she contacted could not. Its a futile hope at best, but right now its all I have.
But... how... is that possible? He finally manages to pull enough coherent words together into a sentence.
But... But... He doesnt believe it. Hell, I dont believe it and Ive seen the tests and run through the possibilities myself. Theres no reason in the world for him to take my word for it other than hes never known me to lie before and no discernable reason for me to start now.
Are you joking? Is this one of those trick the trickster things? Is it revenge for that one time I stashed all those twinkies in your pillow and forgot to tell you before you went to bed, cause if it is, man, this is totally over the to--
This is not a joke, Duo, Im as serious as I have been about anything else.
One look at my face confirms it. Well, nice to know some things never change, anyway. So, a slender hand runs through his messy bangs as he asks, whos the proud papa-to-be? I mean aside from you. At least tell me you have one of *those*...
Yes, I believe I know who it is. Thats what I needed to talk to you about, actually. He still doesnt believe it, and frankly neither do I. How can we? But this part right now is the hardest bit to swallow for me, so I cant even imagine how hard it will be for him to accept. If he even can. You remember three weeks ago at Quatres New Years party?
Yeah, most of it, I got kinda blitzed and blacked ou-- ohhhhh no. His eyes are huge and getting wider, pinning me with a furious, accusing glare that seemed to dare me to even try to say what he knew I was implying.
And you remember the morning after? I know full-well he did. I dont think hes seeing me anymore though, as his head shakes from side to side in vehement denial, as if he could shake the words from between his ears.
Oh no no no no no no no...
Duo, Sally and I would like for you to come in for some tests to determi--
NO! Startled by his sudden and enraged outburst I rock back in the chair a little bit and simply watch as he surges to his feet and rants. No way, there is no fucking *way*! This isnt *possible*! Look, Heero, Im sorry if youre sick or deranged or... whatever it is that brought this on, but I wont be a part of this. Its just not possible and I refuse to get dragged in and blamed for whatever it is thats wrong! If you need a kidney, or a lung or something youre more than welcome to one of mine. Hell, if what youre after is a sperm donation give me a dirty mag and point me to the bathroom, but this... This is not my fault! Its... its sick! Its weird, its unnatural, its....
YES!! Upon reaching an agreement, he finally looks at me, really looks for the first time since he was personally dragged into my medical nightmare. I dont know what he sees that puts that look on his face, but I dont care as long as I have his attention now.
You and I both know this is impossible. My calm is back, hopefully to stay this time, but its been harder and harder to hold onto in light of this situation. He nods once at me, focused completely on what I have to say now. Then prove it. Come with me to see Sally, do these tests so we can get that much closer to finding out what *is* going on.
I can see the war going on behind those shielded eyes of his, the temptation to run away and pretend like none of this is happening versus the desire to help someone he thinks of as a friend. Finally, he nods once, solemnly but resolutely, making the only decision he *could* make, being who he is. Gratitude and relief washes over me briefly, surprising me at how unsure I was over his decision, and I tell him Ill be back in a few hours to get him. He needs time to pack and I need to call Sally and confirm the penciled-in appointment wed made before I left. Plus, we both need some time to decompress; there are a lot of issues between us that should probably be dealt with before we can ever be completely comfortable around each other again, but neither of us has the energy or desire to think of tackling them right now. I doubt that we ever will, frankly, there are just some things that come between friends that cant be dealt with. With this situation added on top of those, simply being around him is not an experience I look forward to, and Im sure he feels the same about me. I can only hope that whatever this is thats happening right now works itself out soon. Duo and I need to get on with lives that have been too late in starting as it is.