Heero emerges from the house and squints in the sun. He surveys the
yard and runs a hand through his wet hair, which is only a little less unruly
then when it is dry. I think he's looking for me. He spots me under his IROC and
suddenly he bolts off the porch, shouting at me.
"Hey! Don't touch my car!"
"I didn't do anything to it!" I nearly squeak as he roughly pulls me out from
under the car.
"You drove it," he fumes. I sit up to defend myself.
"Hey, you should be thanking me! I got it off that big rock for you!" I
argue, crossing my arms. I wobble on the old skateboard and quickly lower my
hands to the driveway to steady myself. "Besides, I'm not the idiot who was
drunk off his ass and left the keys in it."
"Yeah? Well, keep your hands off now, got it?" he threatens as he looks it
over. The way he strokes the body of the car would be mildly disconcerting if I
hadn't been doing exactly the same thing five minutes ago before he got out
here. It's a sweet automobile. If you want 80's Muscle, it doesn't get any
better than this. V8, manual transmission, those kick-ass removable glass roof
panels, vented hood... man, I could go on. I will probably start thinking about
his car in the shower instead of his girlfriend.
"What year?" I ask of the Chevy while he's checking the jack to make sure I
did it right.
His eyes cut over to me and he scrutinizes me for a moment before answering,
"The front bumper is dented, and I think the engine really grated over that
rock, you might want to check that out," I offer. He only glares at me. I
grumble and get off the old skateboard I was using to get under the car and
offer it to him. He gets on and rolls under the car as I dash to the garage and
grab my other old skateboard. I don't know why I have two of them, my skateboard
career was brief but physically scarring enough to last a lifetime. I get down
on the board and scoot in next to him. He glares at me again. At least he smells
much better now, which is a big improvement in itself. My shirt is tight on him,
it kind of makes me embarrassed. I can see why he skipped the jeans.
I helpfully point out the scratches and dents to him on the underside of the
bumper and a few of the pans under the engine. Good thing that rock wasn't any
bigger, he'd have had serious problems. When he's seen enough, we roll out again
and he lets the car down off the jack. I pop the hood for the second time this
morning and lean over it. I've been wanting to ask him about this, the engine
can't be original to the car. He comes over and pulls the rod down as if he
means to close the hood right on my fingers. I put my hand up to hold the hood.
"So, what'd you do to it?" I ask, undeterred by his dirty looks. He's done
something to the engine all right, but I can't quite figure it out. Granted, I
don't have a lot of car experience, but I know the basics. His engine is
definitely not basic. He must have modified it.
He shrugs. "Just a few alterations," he says evasively.
"Like what?" I persist.
He shoots me a dirty look but locks the rod again and goes to the tool box I
brought out. He certainly is well-practiced with killer glares. His ice blue
eyes can probably make most people shut the hell up, but this is me we're
talking about. Plus, after being so nice to him last night, he can't really be
mean to me. Right?
"Come on, I know a thing or two about cars, I can 'follow along' if that's
what you're acting so stuck up about," I say sarcastically. "Why don't you just
He just narrows his eyes and ignores me as he selects a wrench and bumps me
out of the way so he can have a better look inside the car. Something occurs to
me as he works. I'm on his right, and I can see his left wrist now. Sure enough,
there's a scar to match the one I saw last night. This couldn't have been just
some 'cry for help' type thing, he's obviously tried to end his life before. It
makes me kind of scared. Scared about what he was doing last night, out driving
so drunk. He could have gotten himself seriously injured... or killed.
I watch what he's doing for a while, and I begin to figure out what he's
done. Suddenly, I get it. I explain it to him, and he just looks at me like he
can't believe it.
I smirk at him. "I'm right aren't I?" I say.
"Un-hn," he nods.
No wonder his car runs so nicely. "Where'd you learn how to do this kind of
stuff?" I ask.
He shrugs. "No where really," he says, still focusing on the car. "I read
some books... just mess around now and then..."
Just 'mess around'?! Jesus. And learning it from books? Sure, I understand
what he's done, but I could never do it myself. I just don't have the skill.
Satisfied that everything's in working order, he carefully closes the hood,
this time making sure all observers are out of the way. He swears when he sees
the slightly dented bumper.
"I don't think I have anything to fix that with," I say.
"I can probably do it, but it's a real pain in the ass," he grumbles. Oh my
god, are we having a conversation? He squats down and runs his fingers over the
indentations. "Yeah, do-able..." he mutters absent-mindedly.
"And it runs. So there you go," I say, expecting him to take off now. I start
picking up tools and putting them back in the box before putting it away in the
garage. I come out and he's still standing there. I give him a questioning look.
What else does he want? Lunch? Or maybe I'll get a thank you, that'd be nice.
"What about the yard?" he asks, looking over at it and grimacing. He looks a
Well, this is a surprise. "Oh, you noticed," I say with a teasing grin. He
frowns and looks at the ground. "I was going to take care of it," I tell him
with a shrug. I go back into the garage and get a shovel and some other
lawn-care implements. Before I even know it, he's standing next to me. He grabs
the shovel from me. I pick up the rest the stuff and we wordlessly trudge to
the end of the driveway. He smoothes out the tire tracks while I collect the
iris bulbs and the strewn mulch and replant them. We finish and tackle the fence
last. It's a simple peg and hole design and we reassemble it easily together. None of
the pieces were broken, just scattered. He braces the posts as I push the
horizontal pieces back it.
"Did you mean that about your family?" he asks suddenly as he rights a post
and stomps the ground around it to hold it in place.
"Yeah," I answer, glancing up at him for a second. He's not looking at me. He
just nods, and then after a moment he says very quietly, "I won't... do that
again." It's weird, he didn't say 'sorry' or 'thank you', but it seems like
enough for some reason, and I believe him too. It's weird that I might
We get done quickly, and he silently follows me back to the garage to put
things away. Neither of us has said anything in a while. Silence may be normal
for him, but it feels odd to me. "Looks much better," I try to fill the quiet.
He nods. I really don't know what to say now. He's looking at me expectantly.
"Ummmm do you want lunch or anything?" I ask, unsure of what else he could want.
"No thanks," he says, still looking at me.
"Oh!" I laugh at my stupidity. "Car keys are in the front seat."
He nods his head again and opens his car door. He looks at
me briefly through the windshield and the IROC roars to life. I give him a
half-smile and go back into my house as he backs out of the driveway.
My aunt notices the residual tire tracks where the grass is missing, but
doesn't say anything about the fence or the flowerbed. And they look good, if I
do say so myself. She thanks me for taking care of the tire marks and I let her
think what she will. Heero leaves me alone at school. That's a relief. I don't
have the guts to actually say hi to him, but sometimes we make comfortable eye
contact. Maybe he'll nod slightly. Wow! Visual confirmation of my existence!
Whatever. It's more like some kind of mutual understanding. Maybe he's grateful
that I haven't told anyone. Contrary to what people will tell you, I can keep my
mouth shut. I don't think they'd believe me anyway. My friends still make fun of
me. Sometimes, when they see Heero coming down the hall, they shout, 'Run!! RUN!'
and then bust up laughing. But the funniest was when Heero heard Nikol do it and
slammed HIM into the lockers! He did it harder than he'd ever done it to me. It
was so great, he just walked by, stuck an arm out, and kept walking. It was my
turn to nearly fall over laughing.
But that's not even the strangest part. I'm doing homework on a Tuesday
afternoon two weeks after Heero crashed in my yard. There's a knock on my
"Yeah?" I ask, turning around in my seat.
Aunt Helen pokes her head around the door. "There's someone at the door for
you," she says with a smile. That's weird, cuz if it were any of my friends,
they'd have chatted with my aunt, and then just bounded into my room, sans
formal introduction and dying to catch me doing something embarrassing like
looking at internet porn or lip-syncing to pop music. Yeah, I love my friends.
At the door I find none other than Heero Yuy glaring disfavorably at the pot
of pansies on our front step, which appear to be withering under his
"Uhhhhh hi," I say, bordering on shocked-into-silence. Maybe he left
something here? I never found anything.
He looks up at me now through his dark mass of hair, his look practically
daring me to tell him to fuck off or something. Like he's half expecting it.
"C'mere," he says, turning on his heel. Wow, he just made the sentence, 'Why
hello, Duo, you look well, won't you please come look at this?' sound like one
word. He's amazing, folks.
I trot after him to his car. "Hey, way to park in the driveway this time," I
quip. He ignores me and opens the hood
Shit. I'm in trouble. Did I fuck up his car? Does he think I did? That'd be
just as bad. Is he here to collect on that ass-kicking?
"Whadya think?" he asks, jerking his head toward the engine. I blink at him.
He blinks at me, a totally serious expression on his face. I check out the
engine, looks like he's been playing with it again. Shit, this guy's good.
"Pretty cool," I tell him.
He cocks an eyebrow at me. "You usually have more to say than that," he says,
making me laugh. True.
"You really want to know what I think?" I asked, finding it difficult to
believe. He nods earnestly. He asked for it. I do have a few thoughts, come to
think about it, so I launch into them. He listens to me and answers a few
questions and shows me something else. He even asks me a few things. And he
doesn't look bored.
"Hey, want a pop?" I ask after a little while. He throws me an odd look, then
shrugs in a 'Sure' kind of way. It's scary that I can read these things. "What
do you like?" I ask him, wiping my hands on a rag. The shrug he gives me this
time says, 'Whatever.' I shake my head and make for the kitchen.
"Dr. Pepper ok?" I call as I toss him a can.
"Yeah," he says, catching it. "Pop," he contemplates the can before cracking
it open. Then he looks at me dubiously, "It's soda."
I laugh at him out of pure surprise that he might have a humorous side.
"Welcome to the midwest, asshole, it's POP here! Oh shit shit SHIT!" I swear and
jump back as my can fizzes out everywhere.
He smirks at me hopping around like an idiot, and almost laughs. "Dork," he
snorts. He doesn't get mad that I called him an asshole. I can call him that if
he keeps calling me 'dork' right? That's fair.
We tinker a bit and before I realize it, my aunt is calling me in for dinner.
She asks if he'll stay and he politely declines. I have to stifle a laugh when
he her calls her 'ma'am'!
"That was Heero Yuy, right?" Helen asks as she passes me the green beans.
"The boy who lives down the street?"
"Mm-mm," I answer, nodding with a mouth full of pork chops.
"He seemed nice, not nearly as bad as I've heard," she comments.
"Wha 'ave oo 'eard?" I ask her. She totally understands what I say. Gotta
"Well, I've spoken to his uncle now and then," she tells me. "He's lived here
for several years before Heero moved in with him. He's a scientist. Yes, a
physicist I think. Worked for the military for a long time. Anyway, last time I
talked with him, he and his nephew weren't getting along too well. He makes
trouble in school, doesn't keep up with his classes, gets into fights, drinks,
smokes. I'm sure you know more than I do, you go to school with him."
"Yeah, sounds right to me," I say with a shrug.
In a fashion I should expect from him by now, Heero Yuy isn't done surprising
me yet. He comes over a few times after that. It's totally weird. He pulls into
the driveway, rings the bell, and asks for me. I get him a pop, he tells me it's
soda, we hang out by the car and look at the stereo or the new exhaust line or
the engine. He even lets me sit in it! He's not showing off or anything. He
wants to get my opinion on something he's done, or ask what I think of a new
idea. He barely talks, he'll suggest something, and then just let me blab on
about it, which I do at length. Sometimes, we mess with my car, but let's face
it, that thing is beyond help. You should have seen the look on his face the
first time he saw it! Anyway, the whole thing is totally strange. He always has
this serious, concentrating look on his face, like he's actually listening to
what I say. And that's funny, 'cause I don't think anyone really takes me