8-10-2001

Hello, everyone! Don't mind me, I'm just popping by to post this. I hope you enjoy! C&Cs would be much appreciated.

Author: lain
Pairings: 1+2+1 for now.
Warnings: Shounen-ai, angst and my sense humour but that's a given. PG-13 just to be safe^.~
The second fic inspired during the wee morning hours when I'm supposed to be in bed still fast asleep. My mom thinks I'm crazy… she's probably right^^'
Disclaimers: Theirs, all theirs but someday…
Notes: AU. First person POV. The title is the name of the old apartment complex we used to live in Toronto. *sniff* I miss that apartment despite what you see in the beginning of the fic but I truly did liked living there.

 

Jameson~ "The Orange Incident" part 1/?

 

Maxwell. Duo Maxwell.

Lame attempt on the James Bond thing, I know but what can ya expect when you're riding the slowest elevator in the world and the colonies… hmm, maybe even in the whole galaxy. I smirked at that. Boredom can really make a person think the strangest things. Seriously though, this elevator is so agonizingly slow, glancing down at the bag of groceries in my arms, I can only imagine the state of the carton of ice cream I had bought. Runny ice cream is not one of my favourite things.

Then I peered at the panel that showed the progress for this poor excuse of an elevator, I groaned. Am I even moving? I contemplated the merits of getting off now to use the stairs instead of waiting but thought better of it since I did live high up on the ninth floor and I don't think the ice cream would survive by then; on top of that, this elevator takes forever just to open its door. So, conceding defeat I leaned heavily against the fake wood-panelling wall (like that would fool anyone), hoping the paper bag would hold out. I really don't need to be scrambling for my groceries right about now.

Still engaged with the thought of my bag of food I did not realize that I had finally arrived. Shoot, I completely missed that neat little `ding' it makes when it reaches your floor, now and then it almost makes up all for its lack of speed and convenience. Almost.

I tapped impatiently as the door scrappily slid open, and me running out of what little patient I had; I squeezed through it without waiting for it to open all the way. Stupid move. Because the next thing I know, I came tumbling out of the small opening and all my groceries went flying. Darn, there goes the hope of me not crawling around on my hands and knees.

Well, the poor bag was ruined; I couldn't possible use it now to carry my things. Giving up on that little dilemma for the moment, I crawled over to gather all the oranges before they roll completely down the other side of the hall.

I usually don't buy oranges and for the life of me why did I start now? I'm more of an apple guy. I remember a time when my best friend Solo and I were almost caught stealing apples from the vendors in my home colony of L2. Those vendors never stood a chance. One of my fondest memories.

Oh, did I forget to mention that I'm an orphan and I used to live out in the streets? Well, I am and I did. Now I'm an orphan that buys apples by the bags full instead of the usual five-fingered discount. Quite a step, huh? I'm quite proud of that and I bet Solo would have been, too if only he had…But hey, you don't wanna here about my little sob story now do ya?

Well, maybe later but I have better things to do like chasing down a runaway orange.

Stupid orange, why did it have to be so round? The mysteries of life.

I was still on my hand and knees when I chased or crawled quickly, if you want to split hairs about it, after the orange. Some people… The thought of getting up off the carpeted floor to get it never really crossed my mind.

And the orange had quite ahead start than me and it appeared to be speeding up. Weird.

So, intent on the elusive orange I didn't see that I was about to run into something. A wall was my first thought on impact but that would have been stupid. I mean what would a wall be doing in the middle of the hallway. Man, it sure felt like as hard as a wall, though. I shook my head and blinked away the stars I saw and encountered shoes.

Running shoes.

Tacky running shoes.

Banana-coloured, tacky running shoes.

Cough.

Enough said.

Slowly looking up I, encountered legs---tanned, toned legs---attached to said tacky shoes and then black spandex. Yes, you heard me: spandex. Still looking up I saw a moss green tank top loosely tucked in the tight spandex shorts; also, a tanned and nicely muscled torso peeked out from the aforementioned top.

Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?

I finally saw the owner's face of the aforementioned body parts (yummy I might add) and articles of (questionable colour coordinated) clothing.

Yup, it's definitely me.

A tall, young man towered over me. A slight scowl puckering his exotically handsome face and the most amazing dark blue eyes I have ever seen peered out from wind tousled dark brown hair. His full lips set in a line, jaws squared and his brows were slightly furrowed as he looked down at me questioningly. He's probably thinking `what's up with the weird guy crawling around out on the hallway?' I did the only thing I could do.

I blushed. Damn this sickly pale complexion of mine!

There I was on my hands and knees chasing down an orange like an eager puppy. He probably thinks that I'm off my rocker. I briefly wondered whether he saw the rolling orange; it would save me the need to explain myself. No such luck though.

"What are you doing?" Came the deep nasally voice.

I would have swooned at that sexy sound but that would probably leave me flat on my face and I've embarrassed myself enough as it is in front of this cute guy.

Oh, yeah, did I mention I like guys. I didn't? Well, now you know. (But I've been known to glance at the ladies. Why limit yourself when you could have both?)

"Chasing my orange?" I ventured with a weak grin at him.

A dark brow elegantly rose.

Spotting the orange, he picked it up and silently handed it to me, our eyes briefly met then he turned away to leave. Heading to the nearest apartment, he stepped inside, and then the door closed shut behind him with a quiet click.

"Uh, thanks?" I belatedly called out to the now empty hallway.

I had never seen that shade of blue before in my life.

I scrambled up to my feet with the troublesome orange in hand and made my way to my strewn groceries with one thought in mind: `Meet the neighbours.'

Despite the impression I presented I do like my place even with that inconvenient elevator. I think it must have been the first time I rode on it that turned me sour to it, I mean what can you expect when the elevator abruptly stopped and stalled on you for an hour on your very first day of living there? The first impression really counts. Sigh.

I just absolutely made a fool of myself in front of the resident Mr. Hot and Gorgeous then. Just my luck, his apartment's right across from mine. I bet every time that he spots me from now on all he'll see was of me crawling on all fours on the dirty-carpeted hallway.

Other than that, my first week in my new place has gone swimmingly.

Now back to the task at hand, I glanced down at my things and back to the closed door of said Mr. Hot and Gorgeous. He could have at least stayed and lent a hand, I huffed. However, I didn't get to where I am today depending on other people's help. I would have been long gone if I did. People never stick around for long anyway in my opinion and I know when to cut my losses. Useful, little tidbits I learned at a young age. Thus, I banished the pleasing image of the tight spandex clad butt when it bent over and started gathering my things. I had to make several trips back and forth from the hallway to my apartment.

Cheap, crappy bag.

~*~

Well there goes five bucks worth of cookie dough ice cream down the drain. Darn I had such hankering for it too. Well that's how the cookie crumbles; I looked down at the torn carton and grumbled, if it had chance to anyway. I dumped the whole thing in the garbage. Such a waste of perfectly good ice cream.

I don't like wasting food and with my childhood, I learned food should be appreciated down to the last crumb or drop. I remembered the countless times when I would gladly eat anything to fill my aching stomach, and even if it clearly meant for the trash or was the garbage, it had never stopped me from wolfing it down before. Beggars can't be choosers, and now look at me. The change from living out in the streets to having my own place to live made me soft and forgotten the old times.

I let out a snort. Weak Maxwell, weak.

Yeah, I guess I did have a harsh upbringing but I try not to dwell on it. But sometimes I can't help wallowing in my own self-pity. And I hate that. I don't need pity from anyone, especially from me. It doesn't change the fact that my childhood was more bad than good. That most of my memories as a child were of hunger, being cold, and watching everyone leave you one way or another. Just surviving was a daily chore for me. Obviously, I prefer to focus on the good other than the not-so good or otherwise I will go mad. Cursing and avenging against the unjust world for all the misfortunes it had inflicted on a defenceless child.

No one wants a raving mad Duo Maxwell.

Nope, no siree-bob.

But it's tempting…I mean, to crossover from being a sane, law-abiding citizen in one minute to being a completely deranged, homicidal murderer the next…it would be such a stress release, though. The line separating the two could be so easily breached or broken.

Very tempting, indeed.

Ha. Scared ya yet? Keep it in mind though `cause you'll never know… I might snap any minute. Smirk.

Hn. It's amazing how throwing out a carton of melted cookie dough ice cream could lead to thinking of myself as being a gun-totin' loon. Maybe I was in a past life…again, you never know.

I astonish myself how morbid I can be; sadly, it does not help in putting the groceries away. It would be so neat if it did ne?

I would never need to lift a finger ever again.

After a few minutes of wonderment about the welcomed tediousness of putting away food, I was finally done. It still feels surreal to me putting away things that I never dreamt of having only years ago. To think it's all mine to touch and most of all eat without some fat vendor yelling at me to `put it down, ya brat!'

It's nice to have lived through it all and to be rewarded with this---a simple everyday thing such as putting away a box of cereal in the pantry. Can you believe that there have been only a handful of times I ever had the privilege to do a thing like this for myself? And to have it done the honest way too---with my own hard earned money from toiling away hours on end at that junk yard.

No stealing or picking anyone's pockets for me any more. Plus, I'm working while going to school.

Sister Helen and Father Maxwell would be proud, smiling down at me from the Heaven they have set their life to rest in the end. I could only imagine `cause I never believed in the whole God and heaven thing. An eternal paradise for the dead seems to good to be true but if it were, I truly hope they are resting in peace there and being proud of me.

As for Solo…well, he might be shaking his head wherever he maybe in the afterlife at everything. Probably thinking and grumbling that I wasted all the skills he had worked so hard in teaching me. I was quite a good pickpocket and lock picker back then but I've stopped `practicing'. And if I knew Solo, which I did, he's definitely pissed off.

You maybe wondering who these three are or rather were. Well, they're the most important people in my life. Solo was my best friend when I was orphaned and left out in the streets to fend for myself. Being barely older than a toddler, I was lost until he came and took me under his wing. He saved me. He was older and had been on his own younger than I was then. He was the big brother that I always wanted. He was everything to me; he taught me everything that I needed to survive like `never depend on anyone for long'. I think he had sensed that he wouldn't be around to take care of me any more `cause like my birth parents, he left too. And I was too young to comprehend that when he laid dying in my arms back then that it was a forever thing.

That Solo will not be there for me anymore. Yet, he fought until his last dying breath to stay with me though and for that I always have a special place for him in my heart.

After his death, I was lost and alone again. But I was now helpfully armed with Solo's teachings and street smart. I fared fairly well for a while then, but there was only so much a child can do. There is only so much stealing and picking pockets can do.

Months of wandering aimlessly and scrounging for scraps of food, I was taken in by the next people who would come to mean the world to me right next to Solo.

The Father Maxwell and Sister Helen were the parents that I longed for for so long, having only bits and pieces of memory of my real parents. They provided me a home and love only parents could possibly bestow. They taught me their teachings of their God, which I dutifully objected myself to for I had no real opinions to accept it, or not. I took it for what it was.

Then they sent me off to school to learn things that they could not teach at the orphanage. At school, I immersed myself with my studies. I was hungry to learn beyond of the `how-tos of properly picking pockets', devouring anything and everything that possibly had any teaching value; I made respectable grades. It also helped that the other children did not like you, which naturally left you to do all your studying.

No one played with me nor really spoke to me without something negative in their words. Books were safe and books did not hurt or call names.

I loved books.

I have been told that was a nice kid but I guess I did not meet the other kids' standards of `nice' (unless that person that told me lied but that can't be because Sister Helen was not allowed to lie). For they made fun of my clothes that could barely pass off as rags; they furiously tugged and pulled on my braid mercilessly (the symbol of my rescue off the street); and the taunting names and disgust that I didn't smell as good as the other well-groomed children for water was scarce in the orphanage.

They hated my guts.

The teachers too, but to a lesser degree. They tolerated me enough to keep teaching me anyway.

My bags of books were my only real friends. I would occasionally sat them down on one of the empty chair beside me of my own personal table far off in the back corner of the crowded cafeteria. It was my own personal table because no one dared to seat with me. I kept to myself and always had my head down as I quietly munched away on the small lunch Sister Helen packs for me. I loved apples but they're so noisy to eat, all that crunching is bound to catch someone's attention.

But I still love them anyway.

And reasons beyond what I could comprehend, trouble seems to be attracted to me like bees to honey. I tried so hard not to be noticed but…they always found me even when I am quite or hiding. I could never completely get away. I had no one. And my self- appointed, pseudo friends cannot exactly back me up in a fight. But, books do make excellent projectiles for the enemies or a substitute shield for you. It all depends how you look at it, I guess.

I hated recess and lunchtime.

I always ignored all that crap when I was in school, managing to appear unfazed from the caustic, painful words and occasional beatings of the bullies, which I sometimes proudly win. For a small runt, I could be pretty fierce when provoked physically.

I have a mean right hook.

I felled many twice my size then and unfortunately still. Damn it some people cannot seem to keep their hands to themselves.

Nevertheless, I was a little kid and could only take so much pain and abuse from people. I only allowed myself to break down on my lonely walks home from school. The orphanage had no funds to spare to pay for the school bus rides; it had barely enough to keep running and schooling for us kids as it was. I didn't mind at all, the thought of being trapped with those kids in a tiny, enclosed area and hard to climb-out windows and a too intent on the road-bus driver for little protection was not wise to even test.

It would be like being thrown in a den of ravenous wolves and all exits blocked off. They strive in the smell of fear.

I remembered trudging the long, dangerous walks home, walking cautiously by the condemned, run-down buildings with the occasional drunken winos passed out on the stoops, and the eager drug pushers offering me a free hit for first timers, and the occasional catcalls of some of its residents. Thankfully, I was still innocent enough to their meaning and action then. Today, I cannot help my skin from crawling from the memory. Perverts the lot of them. Coming on to an ignorant kid for a quick bang was and is wrong. I had ignored them too, and just kept my tattered makeshift knapsack close to my body.

Solo had been a good teacher.

The walks provided me to let go what I bottled up all day in school, replaying all the incidents of that particular day. Each day differed to the next but it never surprised me that it would always result in my getting hurt and bearing it.

I would never let them see me cry. But as soon as the school bell would ring for dismissal…

I was generally whimpering and sniffling by the time I reached the church gates, my bottom lip swollen or bleeding from biting down to keep the sobs from escaping.

As always without fail, two familiar figures would be there standing out in the porch waiting patiently for me—Father Maxwell and Sister Helen—smiling warmly at my return.

I remember that I had always run the distance from the gates to the church steps to get to them. I remember how I had rushed at them with tears already streaming down my face. I remember how one of them would scoop me up off the ground to hug me or kiss me in greeting, and then pass me to the other to do the same. I remember I had cried only in front of them.

I haven't cried in years.

Now my eyes would only sting from unshed tears but would never fall.

It would be wrong to.

Boys don't cry.

But oh-how I wish…

A wailing siren from far off the distance broke me from my dark reverie which I gladly took advantage of. I hate getting in one of those depress funks I seem to get at times. I was just standing there in my tiny kitchenette blinking stupidly at the still open cupboards; closing them, I left to wash my hands.

I felt dirty all of a sudden.

I washed my hands under scalding hot water for a good ten minutes.

It didn't hurt. There was nothing to feel.

 

Tbc…

 

0.o Got too angsty there. I didn't mean to but I just finished watching the Joy Luck Club and I still have it in my system. Damn, that movie always makes me bawl my eyes out. It's such an extremely heart wrenching movie;_; Now I'm off to get some tissue *sniffle*