"They broke my
“Well,” Duo said, watching the dust trail left by the retreating Theodorian forces, “that was an anticlimax.”
“Considering that a proper climax would have had us going ‘boom’,” Christy shrugged, “I’m fine with anticlimactic. For once.”
The two pilots were sitting on the top deck of Henderson’s APC, leaning on its bent main gun. The reinforcing Serpent suits were in gleeful pursuit of the Theodorians, along with Cobra 6’s few remaining undamaged vehicles, leaving the walking (driving?) wounded to hold their rear. Nobody expected there to be anything they needed to hold it from, but Duo had Deathscythe’s scanners set to alert him if anything turned up, just in case.
“I told you Pet needed mechevac choppers,” Duo grinned, returning to an earlier discussion.
“Yes, yes, you’re right, we’re getting them, go you,” Christy sighed, rolling her eyes. “I don’t know why you’re so smug about it; I’m pretty sure you lot never had mechevac choppers either. Did you?”
“--but we were lone-wolfing it, figures of terror appearing out of the darkness and vanishing again,” he continued, waving ‘spooky fingers’ at her. “Not one of the main battle forces of a multinational coalition with all the backup that implies. Mechevac choppers would have been out of character.” He paused, thinking, and shrugged. “We kind of had a mechevac ship, but Howard was a special case.”
“Cool guy with sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts, salvage expert who showed up to pull our butts out of the fire and fix our Gundams once in a while,” Duo told her. He sighed. “I really miss him, actually. He kind of adopted me when I was a kid.”
“...Sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts?” she blinked. “What in Ra’s name is a Hawaiian shirt?”
“Oh, yeah, you guys probably don’t have Hawaii. I mean, you have Hawaii, you just call it something else. Really bright short-sleeved shirts with flowers and stuff printed on them, good for bumming around on the beach in. Olwyn’s wearing one, come to think of it.”
“Frangers,” Christy shrugged. “You get them in the Franciscan Free State, mostly, though they’ve kind of migrated to anywhere with good weather. The Franciscan Head Honcho wears them when he’s vacationing on his private island; his favourite one has a volcano on the back. So your Howard guy wears sunglasses and frangers? Sounds like someone I know,” she grinned. “Does he have black hair?”
“Balding and grey, actually,” Duo told her, eyeing her strangely. “’Frangers’. Sheesh.”
“Don’t look at me like that, I didn't name ‘em!”
“I wish you had! You would’ve come up with something better.”
“I generally call them ‘hideous’, actually, so I’m fine with the current name. Oh look, your idea has arrived.”
“Awesome!” Duo cheered, twisting around to wave at the distant helicopter. It was immense, with two massive rotors and some complicated lifting gear visible dangling below its belly.
“Those usually carry tanks and shit, and they’re overspecced enough to carry them fast,” Christy told him, standing up with a grunt and stretching with her good hand planted in the small of her back. “I just hope it’s overspecced enough to carry my baby at all!”
“Pet wouldn’t have sent it unless it was,” he soothed, patting her shoulder.
“Pet believes what engineers tell him without checking their calculations,” she muttered, then turned her head and bit his patting hand.
“Be glad I like you enough not to shoot you instead. Now get over here and help me threaten them into putting the slings under my baby in the right places.”
“Oh calm down. At least you have your Dyadya to help you put Hades’s knee back together.”
“Your Dyadya now too, I heard you calling him that. He’s going to make you stick to it.”
“Huh.” Duo blinked. “What does that mean, anyway?”
Christy snickered. “Welcome to the family, Duo.”
Half an hour (and a lot of swearing, threats, and two attempts by Christy to threaten people with a gun) later, the massive heli was inching its way into the sky, engines straining as Hades slowly lifted off the ground.
“Breathe,” Duo suggested, poking Christy in the ribs. “If you go blue and pass out, you’ll get sand down your boxers again, and I’m not gonna help you get it out.”
“My poor baby,” she almost crooned, ignoring him.
“Yes, yes, poor immense Gundanium construct,” he sighed, rolling his eyes. “You can put a band-aid on its knee and kiss it better soon, honey.”
“Like you wouldn’t act the same way if it was your Deathscythe,” she huffed, eyes still fixed on the heli’s burden. “You bitched just as much as me when I dinged--”
With a long, drawn-out groan of stressed metal, the lower half of Hades’s right leg bent at the knee, twisted, and fell off.
* * * * *
< < Damned if I’m going to stick around here for the last of the cleanup, > > Mel sent, studying her screen. < < Cobra 9’s got pods out to the perimeter, the last Theo armour is over the horizon... it’s all over bar recording the surrenders, and that part is boring. I’ll be coming back to have that little chat with Gutierrez-- > >
“I’ll be joining you on that,” Quatre said grimly.
< < --and you’ll be welcome, > > she grinned coldly. < < Right now, though, I say we head over to Cobra 6 and make sure the Twos don’t need a hand. That sound good? > >
“Sounds just fine,” he agreed, and punched the button to give him the base’s channel. “Cobra 9, if you’re all set we’ll be heading off.”
< < We’re set, > > the operator sent back, sounding far more cheerful than they had during the fight. < < Many thanks to you both for saving our collective asses, and we’d like to know when you plan to visit us again-- or shall we just let you know when Captain Gutierrez gets back? He’s due tomorrow morning, if that helps. > >
< < You guys want seats with a good view, huh? > > Mel’s grin was positively evil.
< < Unconfirmed scuttlebutt says ringside tickets are being sold. One hundred credits a pop. > >
< < Eight AM sounds good to me. How about you, oh-four? > >
< < Put it in your diary then, Cobra 9. See you then! > >
* * * * *
< < Right! > > Jay’s voice echoed from Trowa’s speakers. < < Round One is done! Time for Round Two! Ooh, this is gonna be fun. > >
< < Uh... not that I really want to argue with you, ma’am, but all the Theos are dead or surrendered, > > one of the Serpent pilots commed, sounding confused. < < Who are we fighting for Round Two? > >
< < Oh-five! > > she said cheerfully, Gundam pointing one heat shotel at Wufei’s mech. < < Remember, he promised to kill us all to keep his love life secret! You Serpent dudes protect the prisoners, and oh-three and I will tackle Handsome. I’ll grab him high, you get him low! > >
“No, really, I’d hate to steal your fun,” Trowa replied, keeping the smile out of his voice with an effort. “He’s all yours.”
< < Yoicks! Tally-ho! View halloo and all that! Heads up, Justice Boy, it’s Gundam sand-wrestling time! > > And with an immense clang, Dyscalculia tackled Nataku.
< < Get off me, you psychotic loon! > >
< < Psychic, not psychotic, I keep having to remind people of that... > > Loud bonging noises announced that the blunt side of one heat shotel was being used to beat Nataku over the head. < < Oh come on, Titanium Tush, I’m going to win on a technicality if you don’t fight back! The judges don’t issue points just because they like you, no matter how enthralled they are by your masculine beauty-- WAUGH! > >
*CLANG!* *THUD* *CLANG*CLANG*CLANG*CLANG*CLANG*
Wufei had catapulted Dyscalculia over onto its back by the simple expedient of jamming Nataku’s Dragon Fang underneath the other Gundam’s chin and triggering its punch attack, rolled to his feet and triggered several more rapid-fire punches at the torso.
< < Ooh, that’s loud, > > Jay commented muzzily.
< < Yes it is, isn’t it?! > > Wufei snarled. < < Are you done with this idiocy? > >
< < Erm... Uncle? > > Dyscalculia held its hands up in a sheepish-looking gesture of surrender.
“Oh-three to Serpent commander, do you have communication up with Cobra 7?” Trowa asked, having got his snickering under control.
< < Ah, that’s a roger, oh-three, we’ve got a couple of personnel over by the admin building using their suit radios to relay, > > came the choked reply. < < They say thank you, and they should be fine from here. > >
“Good. We’ll be heading off then; please pass that on, and thank you for your help.” Switching channels, but leaving the video link off to hide his grin, he commed just the Gundams. “Shall we head over to Cobra 6 to join Christy and Duo? They should have the Theodorians properly terrorised by now.”
* * * * *
< < Well, one thing you can say about our battlegrounds; they’re colourful! > > Dan pointed out.
“That wasn’t exactly the adjective I was thinking of, but I suppose you’re right,” Heero snorted. Theodorian mobile suits were painted in a rainbow of bright colours, and the OZ Serpent suits were nearly as gaudy. The shrapnel scattered over the dunes would have been quite pretty if it wasn’t for the burn marks.
< < What were you thinking of? Bright? Flashy? Picturesque? > >
“Eye-searing, or possibly psychedelic. Haven’t you people ever heard of camouflage?”
< < Yes, but it’s unsporting to use it on things that can move, > > Dan shrugged. < < It’s better to encourage your enemy to shoot at things that can dodge. Besides, the bright red ones go faster! > >
“That’s... a theory,” Heero said dryly. From the snicker he got back over the com, Dan had noticed the complete lack of adjective in that sentence.
< < If you two are done, I’d like to get back to base, > > Asuka said shortly.
< < What’s the hurry, mon cher sauvage? The climate control in Morkeleb is better than the base’s AC, just saying. > >
< < I can get a drink back at base. And privacy. > >
< < True, but you don’t get to help Two traumatise Theos. We’ve run out of trauma-targets here, unless you want to start on the Cobra personnel. > >
< < Too late, > > somebody muttered over the local channel. < < We’re already as scared of him as we can get. > >
“I recommend you don’t tempt him to see if he can do better,” Heero advised them. “Are you clear to get back to your previous base site?”
< < Ah, yes sir, the Serpents are going to come along to provide additional cover until we can rebuild the perimeter, > > Cobra 8’s operator said quickly. < < We’d hate to delay you any further. > >
“In that case, I’m heading to Cobra 6’s current location,” Heero informed them. “One, Three, if you want to come along you’ll be welcome; if not, I’ll see you back at base.”
< < Hn. I might as well go see what Two’s broken now. > >
< < Are you expecting her to have broken herself, the Theos, or the landscape? > >
< < Yes. > >
< < Then I’ll tag along as well, > > Dan said happily. < < Whither mon cher sauvage goeth, thither goeth I, just in case I can persuade him to come skinny-dipping in a convenient oasis or something. > >
* * * * *
The converging parties arrived on scene in time to see Hades being airlifted away (minus one appendage), a group of Cobra personnel examining the dropped leg to find out if it would fit in the main bay of the APC parked nearby (with an artistically bent main gun), and Duo sitting on Christy, using both hands to keep her good arm -- and the gun she was firing -- pointed straight up.
“Let go, Mort! I’ll kill the bastards!”
“It’s not their fault!”
“Yes it is! They dismembered my Hades!”
“It’s the Theo’s fault for shooting him in the knee! They’re trying to help!”
“Well they’re not managing it! Let go! I’ll shoot their rotors off!”
“Christy, if you actually manage to shoot that helicopter down with a 9-mil -- not that I’m saying you can’t manage it, understand -- first it’ll drop Hades, and then it will crash on top of him! Now calm down before I have to dislocate your shoulder and get Dot pissed off at the both of us!”
“Like you could manage-- OW!”
“Don’t make me twist it that last inch, babe.”
“That’s it, you’re out of the will!”
“I didn’t know you had a will, Christy,” Mel said, strolling over. “Apart from that one you scribbled in crayon when you were drunk, leaving all your guns to Pet.”
“Mel! Shoot down that damn helicopter! They broke my baby!”
“Ah... no. No, I don’t think I’ll be doing that,” she mused.
“Mel, if you could disarm her please, I would really appreciate it,” Duo rasped through gritted teeth.
“Strong, isn’t she?” Mel grinned, reached over, and popped the clip out of Christy’s gun. “Yank her trigger finger.”
“There you go, she’s out of bullets. Good enough?”
“Only if you know where she keeps her spare clips. And the second gun I know she’s got,” Duo panted. “Heero! Give me a hand here! You’re probably the best one to frisk her, I haven’t found your backup piece yet...”
“Heero! ‘Fei! Get your boy toy off me so I can shoot that damn heli down! Mel won’t do it for me!” Christy howled. “They broke my baby!”
“It’s out of range,” Wufei pointed out calmly, and Duo heaved a sigh of relief.
“Now I just need to keep her out of everybody else’s Gundams until it’s out of rocket range, too,” he muttered, eyeing the growing crowd of looming mecha. “Hi guys, did you have fun too?”
“Apart from when Dan kept trying to give me relationship advice, yes,” Heero grunted, bending down to pat Christy over. “’Scuse me.”
“C’mon, Heero, be a pal,” Christy begged. “Be a buddy. Get in Wing and shoot it down with your big bangy thing-- oh gods, I’m channelling Jay again. See? See?! I’ve been traumatised! I won’t get closure until I have wreckage to dance on top of!”
“Duo’s right,” Heero shrugged, pulling a small holdout gun out of the back of her shirt. “You’d just get re-traumatised when it dropped your ‘baby’ and blew up on top of it.”
“How many holsters do you have, anyway?” Duo asked, eyeing the growing collection of weapons Heero was gathering.
“Enough to find a gun and shoot you with it if you don’t let me up now, you traitor!”
“Mel, you finish frisking her,” Heero requested, walking a few steps away with his armful of blades and guns. “There are two potential hiding places left, and I’m not sticking my hand in either of them.”
“Nah, I’m pretty sure you got them all,” Mel said cheerfully. “She doesn’t hide weapons in her cleavage or down the front of her pants unless she’s going on a stealth mission. It’s too easy to get rattled around in your Gundam and accidentally shoot off a boob otherwise.”
“Christy, hon? I’m going to let you up now,” Duo said gently. “No hitting!”
“Oh, I won’t hit you,” she hissed, getting to her hands and knees and glaring venomously in his direction. “Just don’t even think of sleeping tonight-- ooo. Sand.”
“I warned you,” Duo sing-songed under his breath as he scuttled behind Heero. “Okay, if you’re waiting until I’m asleep to smother me or whatever, I guess it’s safe for me to offer you a ride back to base?”
“I’m riding with Henderson!” she yelled back over her shoulder as she stalked towards the APC. “He loves me! He woulda shot it down for me if I hadn’t bent his gun!”
“Ayup,” the sergeant drawled, waving her in to sit in the main bay. “I know my place. Missy, the leg won’t fit, so we’re gonna be dragging it. You okay with that?”
“I guess,” she sulked.
“It’ll be all right, missy,” he said soothingly, patting her on the head as she stomped past him. “You’ll get it fixed good as new. I hear Nathan’s due, he’ll help.”
“Did you see that?” Duo asked Mel. “How come he can pat her on the head without getting bitten?”
“Beats me,” she shrugged, blinking. “I’m as surprised as you are. Jay? Did you know she had a pet sergeant?”
“Yo! Jay? You in there?”
< < Er. Um. Oh, sorry, I wasn’t listening, > > Jay’s voice came from Dyscalculia’s external speakers. < < I say, mister Extreme Eyelashes, did you know you seem to have locked me in here? > >
“Serves you right,” Wufei snorted, smirking.
“...Jay, what did you do?” Mel asked, eyeing the dents in Dyscalculia’s chest. “Are you saying your door is jammed?”
< < I believe that’s what I was getting at, wot, > > the Vaterean pilot chirped. < < Wufei threatened to kill us all, so I tackled him to protect the Cobra personnel. Honest! > >
“Amazing as it may sound, that statement could be considered to be broadly true,” Trowa confirmed, snickering. “In the process, Jay discovered that Gundam sand-wrestling is never going to be a lucrative spectator sport.”
< < Oh I don’t know, old chap, there are mech fetishists out there. > >
“Yes, but the repair bills for dented Gundanium would take up all the ticket revenue.”
< < Bugger, you’re right. Trust you to point out the flaws in my plan. Oh well, I’ll have to go with hidden cameras in the hangar to catch the next explosion of hormones instead. > >
“Trowa?” Quatre said politely, unable to suppress a grin. “Please tell me you recorded all this?”
“Full vision and sound.”
“Oh good. I’ll make popcorn when we get back.”
“Movie night!” Duo cheered, managing a sort of limping bounce towards Deathscythe. “Jay, we’ll retransmit to you if you haven’t managed to get out of Dyscalculia by the time we start. I’m sure we all have good bits to share!”
* * * * *
“Where’s Christy?” Duo asked, looking around carefully as he settled onto the couch between Heero and Wufei.
“Camping out in the hangar next to Hades,” Mel told him, passing the popcorn.
“She’s not coming to watch? Maybe I should take her some snacks...”
“I wouldn’t bother,” Mel grinned. “She has a tent, inflatable mattress, sleeping bag, new cast, campfire -- that she had to buy the wood for, but she said she wanted it authentic -- marshmallows, chocolate, sweet crackers, you name it. She’s making s’mores. Oh, and she has jaegerbombs, but I haven’t told her that Dot switched them out for non-alcoholic versions. I’m fairly sure that one of the marshmallows has sleeping pills hidden in it, so you can probably sleep safely even though she’s still pissed you wouldn’t let her shoot down the mechevac chopper.”
“Is she ever going to actually realise that I saved her ‘baby’ from worse damage by doing that?!” Duo protested.
“Eh, she just doesn’t want to admit it yet,” the tall girl shrugged. “She’ll calm down soon enough. It was the shock.”
“Does she behave like that every time something falls off her Gundam?” Heero asked curiously.
“I think this is the first time it’s happened, actually! Scratches, dents, breakdowns, she throws a hissy and then fixes it. Loss of major appendages? She hasn’t had to deal with that before.”
< < I say, old chaps, could you save some popcorn for me? > > Jay’s voice came plaintively from the radio. < < I think I’m going to be in here for a while, what. H is talking about cutting the door, and you know how long that takes. > >
“Why don’t you just blow the bolts?” Asuka suggested boredly.
< < Oh I say, I didn’t think of that! Probably because I’m not the self-destructy type. Christy would have done it ten seconds after discovering the dent had jammed the door. > >
“Blowing the bolts, or self-destructing?” Trowa asked.
< < Bolts. Probably. And then she would have gone after the Titanium Tush for making her ding Hades more than it was already, > > Jay decided.
Asuka rolled his eyes. “So are you blowing the door or not? If we don’t start the movies soon, I’m going to the officers’ mess.”
< < Well I would, don’t’cherknow, but I’ve got half a dozen technicians on scaffolding here, and they’re kind of in the way. Oh well. > >
“So tell them to get out of the way. Or don’t. The explosives work even if they’re still there.”
< < Terribly sorry, Asuka old bean, but I’m not as casually murderous as you are. Oh! Speaking of you and casual, do you suppose you could induct the Han Hero into your less-is-more clothing philosophy somehow? I’d pay you! Fifty credits for every article of clothing you get him to take off, wot! Bonus of a hundred and fifty if we get tush. > >
Wufei opened his mouth, closed it again, considered for a moment... then smirked. “Jay?”
< < Er... yes? You sound awfully smug all of a sudden, did you know that? > >
“You do realise you can’t see me right now, don’t you?” he purred.
“Wahou!” Dan cheered, flinging himself into a convenient chair and grabbing his own popcorn. “Free show!”
< < Oh I say, not fair! Not fair, chaps! Somebody get a camera! > >
Leaning in close to the microphone, Wufei tugged the fabric of his shirt taut with one hand, popping buttons one by one with the other, then stripped it off and rustled the fabric loudly. “You owe Asuka fifty,” he grinned.
< < I do not! That’s only if he makes you take it off! You did that all by yourself! Rat bastards, all of you! > >
“Do the pants next,” Asuka ordered flatly.
“Hundred-fifty, Jay -- no, two hundred, fifty base for the pants plus tush bonus. I want it tomorrow or I’ll be hunting you down.”
< < Noooo~! No fair! > >
“I can’t believe you actually did it,” Duo snickered, hopping into the room and flopping onto his enlarged bed.
“I’m going to see if Asuka will give me some of that cash,” Wufei grinned, following him in. “Is your leg bothering you?”
“Eh, only a bit. I checked earlier, I haven’t popped any stitches this time.”
“Good,” Heero said emphatically. “After the way she reacted when Christy turned out to need a new cast, I’m pretty sure Dot would have locked you in the infirmary or something.”
“Nah, then she’d have to put up with me. She would’ve used my ass as a dartboard or something, though. And speaking of asses, yours is awesome, ‘Fei.”
Wufei groaned. “I don’t mind you and Heero appreciating it at all, Duo, but it’s not free-range. Tonight notwithstanding, I’d rather not share it with the world.”
“Oh, so it’s our private ass, is it?” Heero purred, sidling up behind him and copping a feel. “Good. We don't want to share.” Nuzzling into the side of Wufei’s neck, he took an experimental nip. “Hmm?”
“Guys, coming in!” Mel’s voice yelled from the hall. “’Scuse me, I need to fetch something. You decent, or is Wufei showing tush again?”
Suddenly two steps away from Heero and blushing furiously, Wufei grimaced. “I’m never going to hear the end of that, am I? Come in!”
“Eh, don’t let it bother you, ‘Fei,” Mel said cheerfully, opening the door and making a beeline for the closet. “We only tease you because we love you, and I for one will mainly be making the jokes at Jay’s expense, I promise. Besides,” she grinned, “I got my eyeful, I’m happy.” Yanking the closet open, she scanned the ranks of plushy toys and grabbed Anubis.
“You taking that to Christy?” Duo asked, comfortably sprawled.
“Yeah, I figure Dot’s sneaky sleeping pills will have hit by now, so I’ll make sure she’s tucked in and stuff. Sleep well!”
The three of them looked at each other as the door slammed behind her.
“...In other words,” Heero said, a slow grin spreading over his face, “we’ve got this room to ourselves for the night. Hn. Where were we?”
* * * * *
Quatre fought his way out from under Trowa’s arm and a tangle of blankets as his watch alarm buzzed, slapping it off and yawning hugely. “Hm. Coffee,” he muttered blearily, peering at the display.
“Quatre?” Trowa emerged from the blankets beside him, rubbing his eyes. “Why the alarm? I didn’t think we had anything scheduled today.”
“We in general don’t,” Quatre told him, stretching. “Mel and I have a date with somebody who needs an attitude adjustment.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“Scuttlebutt has ringside seats going for a hundred credits each. I’ll bring back video and we can have another movie night,” his lover grinned, then yawned again. “Argh. Coffee!”
“Enjoy,” Trowa told him, and resubmerged. “Don’t trip over Christy’s tent ropes in the hangar.”
When Mel and Quatre got there, both carrying cardboard takeaway cups, there were two tents. Hades and Dyscalculia were both in the repair bays, surrounded in scaffolding and equipment, some of which had guy ropes tied to it -- presumably because the concrete floor wouldn’t take tent pegs.
“Huh. That’s new,” Mel commented, skirting the burnt-out remains of a campfire. “There was only one tent here when I tucked Christy in.”
“That’s because you lot are a bunch of dirty rotten stopouts,” a muffled voice complained, and then Jay’s tousled head poked out of the second tent’s flap to glare at them. “Meanies. Depriving me of any chance of tush photos. I bet the Han Hero will never strip again!”
“It’s a lovely tush,” Mel told her. “Don’t you think he has a lovely tush, Quatre?”
“Yes Mel, it is quite nice. I have a personal preference for Trowa’s, but Wufei’s is very aesthetically pleasing,” Quatre agreed, hiding his grin behind his coffee.
“I hate you all,” Jay pouted, retreating back into the tent.
End of Warped Mirrors
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