Time To Feel Good
One thing they never mentioned in my little Gundam pilot training
classes was how often you'd end up flat on your back.
Now, I can already imagine the pictures your little gutter trap mind
has drawn, so let me assure you that I haven't been reduced to
prostituting myself for parts.
Nah, I'm just giving my partner the basic tune-up service, every 6,000
Leos, you know. Some of this equipment is surprisingly delicate to
calibrate. It can take a full force attack with barely a whimper but a
wrong twist with a wrench can ruin an entire day's work. Guess it's
kind of like how humans have a rough time at the dentist.
As much as I don't mind being my own mechanic, there are times that I
sorely miss Howard and the boys. It's not exactly like doing an oil
change, you know? Still, if Quatre and I are going to take our rosy
little butts into space, then you can bet our Gundams had better be in
top form. Unless they've made some big changes since I left, there
aren't any Jiffy Lubes up there.
Going to miss this little safe house though. I have to admit, Winner
has style. A terrorist with a vacation home, which includes your basic
indoor/outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, and, of course, private suites for your
standard well-to-do soldier. Now -that- is class. I mean, hell, my bed
was the size of a football field; the Twister opportunities alone
boggle the mind. It's just a damn shame that I don't have anyone to...
OK, let's not go there, shall we? Don't pick at scabs and all that.
Quatre and I had been hanging out here for a little while now, until we
decided what to do, and I admit the guy has kind of grown on me. After
our rather abrupt introduction, which consisted mostly of me moping
around and about an hour of impromptu mattress surfing, we'd settled
down to be something a little closer to friends, and, you know, if I
hadn't been there and had the bruises the next day to prove otherwise,
I would have still bet money that Quatre hadn't so much as had someone
pinch his lily-white bottom.
Guess that goes to show you what I know.
Anyway, the only bad part about this place is that the one radio
station I can pick up out here in the rough is all cheap-ass oldies,
but I think it mixes rather well with the OZ military line I
hacked into. A combo of some perky little cheerleader who was 'walking
on sunshine' and the sound of OZies getting their asses kicked. Music
to my ears.
From the sounds of it, Zechs Merquise had gotten himself into a little
bit o' trouble. Well, well, well, OZ's golden boy is more like a shiny
hunk of tinfoil, it seems. Big shocker, there. I figure any guy stupid
enough to work for OZ deserves to get fucked up the ass when they
finally bend him over, but, hey, that's just my opinion, and Merquise
isn't exactly pounding down my door for it.
Now, not that this all isn't important, I'll grant you, but I had other
things on my mind, like making sure Deathscythe was purring like the
saber tooth tiger he is. Which is why I almost missed what they said
I was so shocked that I turned the dial I was calibrating maybe a
centimeter too far, which had the bonus effect of squirting what felt
like a gallon of industrial lubricant right into my face.
OK, I can almost hear you snickering, fuck you very much, but let me
assure you that -industrial- lubricant is not the same taste sensation
as, say, strawberry motion lotion.
Even that wasn't going to stop me though, and after I'd spat most of it
out and managed to smear it out of my eyes, I scooted out of the hatch
and into the main freight compartment so fast I'm surprised I didn't
ignite, dragging my hair behind me because three feet of oil-soaked
hair is fucking heavy. All I can say is that this shit had better wash
out. Eh, who knew, maybe it was a good conditioner...
Quatre was already there and I couldn't help but notice that he didn't
have any grease spots on -his- shirt. Pretty in pink, and really, if I
didn't like him so much I'd probably have to kill him on principle.
We just stood there like morons, staring at the battered old radio I'd
jury-rigged to the consol as if it was going to suddenly pull a rabbit
out of a hat or some such thing. And no, it didn't, but let me tell
you, it pulled a better trick than that one.
Through the static on a hacked OZ line, we heard them say, again, that
Gundam 03 had fled from its battle with the Tallgeese...and Gundam 01 assisted
in 03's escape.
It was like I was listening to someone babble in a foreign language,
because I could hear what they were saying, it just wouldn't sink in.
It just hung in the air, poking around my ears while it tried to get my
neurons firing again.
Gundam 01. That couldn't be right. It couldn't be 01 because I'd seen
it self-detonate. Both of us had. I'll believe in a lot of things in
this world but Casper the friendly Gundam isn't one of them. It
couldn't be 01, because it couldn't be Heero Yuy. I mean, he's dead,
Most OZies can't find their own asses with both hands, a tracking
device, and a three day supply of food but their Intel at least was
usually dead on. Must have started going with the lowest bidder if they
could make a fuck-up like that, though. Unless...unless they hadn't
fucked up. And if they hadn't, if it really was 01, that meant Heero
couldn't be dead. Which meant...
He was alive.
Well, hell. I spent a whole day mourning a guy who wasn't even dead?
That jackass, I thought he was supposed to be super human! He didn't
even kill himself properly! Some perfect soldier he turned out to be.
Then the reality of it sort of hit me all at once, with all the subtle
force of elephant on steroids.
He was alive.
Heero Yuy was alive.
Well, shit, yes, he was alive! He's superman isn't he? How silly of me
to think a mere explosion of atomic proportions could kill him!
Suddenly, the clouds parted, the sun came out and all I needed was the
Von Trapp family belting out 'The Sound of Music' to make it complete.
Heero was alive.
I found myself with a sudden armful of Quatre Winner, and I didn't even
fucking care. We were both laughing like fools, and it did have the
bonus effect of giving Quatre a pretty good set of stains on his shirt
from the rather squishy hug he got from little old me. A shame. Yet
another one of the perks of wearing black clothes: if you leave your
stain stick at home then no one else is the wiser.
Heero was alive, and Quatre and I were...
Heero was alive, which rather put me in the uncomfortable position of
having broken one of my own personal rules. You don't boff two people
at the same time, unless you're all in the same room. All right, so I
have a bit of an excuse. I mean, Heero was dead, right? Mostly dead
anyway, and how was I supposed to know he'd pull a Friday the 13th
style comeback on me?
It'd only been that one time anyway, and, well, I'd really needed it.
Really, really needed it. Really, really...OK, so I probably would have
survived without it. No, I know I would have. You don't have to tell me
I should have told Quatre no. I should have. Should have, could have,
So I'd fucked up. Shit happens, and it'll happen again, that was the
one thing in life that I knew for a fact.
But that's OK. This is still fixable. I'll just tell Heero about it the
next time I bump into him. Sure, it might be easier to just try and
hush it up. I mean, I doubt Quatre is going to buy a t-shirt that says
'I fucked Duo Maxwell', but that just ain't the way I operate. One
thing I do not do is lie, and a lie of omission is still a lie.
I'll just explain it all to Heero and it'll be OK. Heero's a pretty
understanding guy, right?
Suddenly, my day seemed about 100 watts brighter and I began to whistle
to the music, figuring I'd spare Quatre the latest version of Duo
Maxwell, live and in concert. Taking a moment to wring most of the
lubricant out of my soggy hair, I swear this shit had better wash out,
I crawled back into my buddy and went back to work. Space was still out
there, as far as I knew, and Quatre and I had a date with OZ.
Even as I worked, though, it was lurking in the back of my mind,
popping out every once in a while and dancing around in my head, making
me grin like the moron I am.
He was alive.