«

»

Oct 02 2012

Contract Complete, Sequel to “A Deal with Death”

 Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing or its characters
Title: Contract Complete
Author: Karen The Huntress
Rating: R
Warning: language and mild angst
Pairing: 1+2 with Duo prompting future 1×2
Part: 1/1
Feedback: Always appreciated and answered
Sequel to “A Deal with Death
Contract Complete

Powdery plumes traced a winding course along the gray gravel road. Afternoon sunlight glinted off a Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special as the black motorcycle geared down to navigate through the Cirque Deluxe side entrance. Deceleration reduced the engine’s throaty vibrations to a deceptive purr. Deactivation silenced the hellcat.

 

Astride the motorized beast, with eyes obscured by mirror-lens sunglasses, the rider discreetly scanned the perimeter including twenty-eight travel trailers scattered about like ships stranded in an arid harbor.

 

One scuffed biker boot braced on the sandy ground for counterbalance, the other boot lowered the kickstand. Lean legs sheathed in dusty stonewashed jeans slid over the seat in a fluid dismount. Concealing a Glock automatic pistol, the vintage black leather bomber jacket was unzipped to expose a dark purple “Fox & Swan Pub” tee shirt.

 

Lastly the enigmatic rider removed a black helmet embossed on either side with silver flecked skull and crossbones then tugged a hip-length braid free from the jacket’s creased collar.

 

Sunglasses still facilitating stealthy surveillance and helmet in hand Duo Maxwell traversed a meandering path hemmed in by storage units where roustabouts busied themselves with mundane daily maintenance.

 

Further on he turned into an expanded arcade crisscrossed overhead with strands of rainbow light bulbs and flanked by shuttered sideshow exhibits and games of chance.

 

Enclosed by portable metal fencing Kinderland included a Ferris wheel, fantasy merry-go-round with colorful unicorns, griffins and winged Pegasus horses and the Green Dragon Kiddy Coaster. Each ride sat in motionless anticipation of nightfall when the glittery Magical Midway presented thrills and the Rubber Woman and other human oddities evoked wonderment.

 

******

Alongside a cluster of animal trailers emitting odorous whiffs of manure and straw, two men tended six blond Arabian horses. Awaiting their turn for grooming in a makeshift corral, a shaggy Welch pony and gray donkey munched hay.

 

Duo reckoned by the men’s swarthy complexions and mode of dress they were most likely Gypsies. Mindful circus folk were wary of strangers he removed the sunglasses.

 

“Excuse me, sir. Could you direct me to Trowa Barton?” was requested of the taller man with a curly brown beard.

 

The man paused in mid-swipe across one stallion’s pale shoulder and scrutinized the young man with the odd hairstyle. “What would you be wantin’ with Barton?” he inquired gruffly in Romany-accented English.

 

“After last night’s show I asked about a job. He told me to come back today to discuss what positions were available.” (Couldn’t very well say the recently christened God of Death was searching for his insurgent counterpart.)

 

Despite the conspicuous NO SMOKING sign printed in stern red lettering the shortest of the pair took a draw on his pipe. Cherry scented smoke materialized in feathery wisps.

 

“Should be in the big top.” he pointed at the largest structure on the grounds.

 

Duo’s line of sight focused on blue and yellow striped flags flapping atop three support poles jutting through the tent’s tan canvas roof. “Thanks.”

 

Once Duo walked beyond earshot the pipe puffer confirmed, “That boy has a dangerous soul.”

 

******

Adjacent to the main entrance a concession kiosk was decorated with enticing pictures of cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn and peanuts. Beneath the wooden booth a field rat nibbled chunks of stale bread probably pilfered from the cookhouse. Watching the beady-eyed rodent savor the crusty treats Duo was reminded of his relentless struggle for survival on L2’s merciless streets.

 

Reawakened childhood memories also recalled a dog-eared copy of an Earthside magazine called “National Geography”. Too young to read the articles, Duo was intrigued by a glossy picture of monks with shaven heads setting out bowls of milk for temple rats. An unexpected pang of sorrow stabbed at his heart as he lamented the countless orphans who, unlike the pampered temple rats, stole and begged, subsisted on scraps of food and traded their bodies for promises of protection.

 

“Can’t change the fuckin’ past.” was muttered as he bade the rat and recollections farewell.

 

Inside the big top Duo paused to get his bearings. The arena had only enough floor space for bleacher seating on opposite sides and two sawdust carpeted rings in the center. Double flaps on the rear wall provided easy transference of equipment and smooth transitions from one act to another.

 

In the right circle a woman with auburn hair secured in a ponytail rehearsed eight mongrel dogs for the evening performance. Responding to hand signals, the energetic, tail wagging, yapping canines accomplished each trick with well-practiced precision.

 

High above the left ring a span of cable was stretched between metal poles held upright by various lengths of guy wires. Each pole was fitted with a rope ladder and topped by a square platform.

 

Perched halfway across the tightrope like a sinewy bird of prey Trowa Barton engaged in a flirtatious affair with gravity with no catch net should he misstep. Waist to ankles encased in black leotards, torso bare and lean muscles flexed under suntanned skin, green eyes were fixed on a balance point and outspread arms acted as stabilizers. One soft-soled shoe slid forward. The second foot followed in exact alignment as each step by gliding step advanced the fearless aerialist fluently.

 

Duo craned his neck to watch the graceful airborne stroll with fascination and a hint of apprehension. One fact was damn sure; he was quite content to keep both feet planted on terra firma.

 

Without totter or sway the pilot designated 03 settled on the right platform then descended the ladder with ease. “Maxwell.” Trowa acknowledged the braided colonial rebel.

 

Duo responded with a nod. “Barton.”

 

Dog lady and her pack scampered outside. The resulting quiet lingered a few moments before Trowa asked rhetorically. “You here to see Heero?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Trowa cloaked his naked torso in a red Cirque Deluxe jacket. “Come on.”

 

******

Sheltered beneath a golden oak’s sprawled branches, the silver Airstream Flying Cloud trailer shared leafy shade with a square camping tent.

 

“Wait.” Trowa ordered before disappearing inside his nomadic home.

 

Caught off guard by an assault of nervous tension Duo shifted from foot to foot. When he’d surrendered his soul to the Grim Reaper a surge of strength had been dispatched to snatch Heero from the brink of death. Then Duo knew intuitively Wing’s master had regained his physical fortitude but now an uncertain reception was generating the rare bout of anxiety.

 

With a prelude of squeaky hinges Heero stood in the Airstream’s doorway, his expression unreadable. At least Duo wasn’t targeted by 01’s legendary Death Glare.

 

Dressed in faded jeans with frayed knees, navy blue tank top and, instead of those awful yellow sneakers, pull-on boots Heero stepped down with a noticeable diminished range of motion.

 

Supportive bandages encompassing Heero’s chest created imprints in the top’s thin fabric.  Bands of gauze encircled his left bicep. Recently acquired welts were peppered among old battle souvenirs on both arms and the thick scar etched across his forehead would be a permanent reminder of the misguided duty bound self-destruction.

 

Again indecisiveness rendered the talkative Deathscythe pilot mute. However, since Heero seldom conveyed more than need-to-know communiqués, Duo was forced to breach the uneasy silence. “Hey.”

 

Holding the tent flap aside so Duo could enter, Heero stated. “We can talk in here.”

 

Of course the interior was Spartan. One bare light bulb dangled from an orange extension cord connected to the trailer’s electric hookup. A simple cot, travel trunk, wooden chair and small table hidden under a hodgepodge of books, vid-disks, a laptop and personal hygiene items crowded the limited space.

 

Heero rotated the chair, smoothed out the rumbled sheet and blanket and settled down on the cot that creaked in protest.  Duo placed the skull and crossbones helmet on the grassy floor and sat opposite 01 with mere inches preventing their knees from bumping.

 

Another wordless hesitation.

 

Outside an engine revved followed by tires grinding on gravel. Fragments of conversation wafted on the sporadic breeze. The Airstream’s door whined then shut with a muffled thud and a chorus of barking confirmed the dog act was a nearby neighbor.

 

This time Duo’s obstinate determination not to instigate their tête-à-tête compelled Heero to inquire out of curiosity rather than criticism, “What in the hell are you doing here?”

 

“Came to see if you and your stubborn pride were still in one piece.” Duo stated with a feigned sarcastic grin.

 

Unpredicted somberness clouded Heero’s cobalt eyes as he whispered hoarsely. “I almost didn’t make it.”

 

That anxious admission verging on panic was frightening. With no concern about an unpredictable counterattack Duo leaned forward and took Heero’s hands that were trembling like willows in a windstorm.

 

Surprisingly no berating or battering was unleashed. Instead Heero breathed a sigh so forlorn it broke Duo’s heart. The Perfect Solider, the intrepid warrior with inhuman endurance, “life is cheap” ideology and balls of steel in battle was vulnerable after all.

 

Duo had to give Dr. J’s prodigy credit. The callous charade had been flawless, the armored facade almost indestructible. Yet Duo felt no disdain, no arrogant satisfaction in discovering Heero Yuy was indeed fallible.

 

******

Corporal and psychological wounds still tender, Heero was dispirited and disillusioned. He’d risked his life for the colonies and self-destructed Wing out of some fucked-up sense of loyalty. How pathetic, at the circus, in a borrowed tent with the oftentimes manic Duo Maxwell holding his hands.

 

No awe-inspiring Gundam.

 

No glorious warfare.

 

Heero wondered. “Will I ever be fearless again?”

 

“Look at me.” Duo demanded.

 

Linked with twin amethyst centers of sight, as his pale face was mirrored in midnight pupils, Heero stared in a wide-eyed fusion of amazement and trepidation.

 

Suddenly sparks flickered. Tingles of energy rippled over Heero’s hands, gathered intensity up both arms then radiated across his chest with such potency the fiery waves threatened to steal his breath and halt his heart.

 

In an incredible flash of clarity Heero perceived Duo’s true essence—the earthly personification of death. Oddly he was not afraid. Even now gazing into Shinigami’s hell-spawned soul he was utterly peaceful and absolutely content.

 

Fervent resolve in full force, Duo affirmed his and Heero’s indomitable comradeship. “From this moment in time my demon-winged Deathscythe Hell will meter out Death’s vengeance and you will command the white-winged avenging angel, Wing Zero. Together we will be invincible.” he pledged then claimed his lover’s lips to seal their eternal bond of body, mind, spirit and soul.

 

OWARI

 

Contract Complete—Karen Hickman—October 2012

 

Thank you for reading!!

Leave a Reply