AN: the characters and settings of Gundam Wing AC do not belong to me, I'm just borrowing them to play with. OOC, AU, future Yaoi, and X-over warnings.
When I was little I had an imaginary friend. Pretty normal thing for a kid ta have I guess by what Sally tells me. Thing is I could only see or talk ta my friend when I was asleep an' dreamin', dreams that I still remember. Those dreams are some a the first things I can remember. An' that's something I've never told anyone 'cause this friend of mine taught me stuff. Stuff that kept me alive on the streets for a short time 'til I hooked up with Solo an' he took over teachin' me stuff like pickin' pockets, pickin' locks an' the like. After I joined Solo's gang, an' he took over teachin' me ta survive in the L2 slums, my friend started teaching other things like letters an' numbers an' stuff.
Lookin' back I don't know what ta think. If somebody told me that they learned ta read an' write an' stuff from someone they only dreamt about, I would try ta catch 'em off guard, tie 'em up, an' let the doctors deal with 'em. But still, it's the truth. I first learned ta do that sorta stuff in my sleep. My friend taught me other stuff too. He taught me the basics a fightin', an' settin' traps ta catch rats for food an' Japanese. She taught me stuff like cookin' an' how ta hide an' get people ta ignore me.
That's another weird thing 'bout my dream friend. Sometimes he showed up as a guy with blue eyes an' black hair in a braid in poofy black pants an' a red shirt an' other times he showed up as a shorter girl with the same eyes an' clothes but with red hair sometimes braided sometimes not. An' somehow… somehow I just knew they were the same person.
My dream friend tellin' me ta go outside is one a the first things I can remember. Out side where? I don't know. The other thing I remember is starin' at a building on fire an' runnin' when someone tried ta grab me. I musta been 'bout four or five years old when that happened 'cause that's how old Solo said I was when he found me sleepin' in a box wearin' grubby PJs an' cuddlin' a stuffed ducky. I can remember the ducky, he was yellow an' nubbly, his body was flat an' kinda oval shaped with short legs, his tummy made a great pillow. He had little wings sewn ta his sides an' red triangle feet on the legs. An' his head was round an' flat with black an' white fabric eyes an' a broad red bill sewn on it, an' he had a tuft a yellow yarn on the top a his head.
I carried that ducky everywhere an somehow I managed ta keep a hold a him for at least six years. I can remember Solo makin' me hide him when we went ta steal food an' stuff. By the time Father Maxwell found me an' the few members a Solo's gang that survived the plague, that poor duck was so grubby an' beaten up Sister Helen musta had one hell of a time recognizin' what he was, much less cleanin' an mendin' him. But fix him she did, an' he lived on my bed 'til Maxwell church was destroyed an' he went with it.
Talkin' 'bout Maxwell church, that was where I found the picture a my imaginary friend an' where he got a name. Sister Helen had an' old bible her grandma had given her when she was a kid that had pictures. A couple a weeks after I got ta Maxwell Church I was snoopin' an' found it. She caught me lookin' through it an' hid it better, but before she did, I found a picture a an angel who looked just like my friend. So I tried ta call him Angel but he wouldn't answer when I called him that. He asked me ta keep on callin' him Onii-san, but I still called him angel in my head. My Angel, Maxwell's demon's very own angel.
I'd been at the church for about six months when Father Maxwell found a young man unconscious and bleedin' on the church steps. That's when I found out that my imaginary friend might not be quite so imaginary after all.
Duo knew something was up the minute he successfully snuck back into the church without finding either Sister Helen or Father Maxwell waiting for him. Of course this came as no surprise since not only were all the lights still on even though by now everything was usually dark except Father Maxwell's office, but everyone was still awake, even the really little kids.
bothering trying to sneak, useless since everyone was awake already,
Duo headed towards the hall leading to the front door where most of
the noise seemed to be coming from. Duo couldn't help but be
even more curious when he ran into a batch of kids jammed in the
doorway trying to watch something in the hall but obviously told to
stay away from it. Since he couldn't anything over or around
the crowd of kids Duo resorted to asking a slightly older girl who
one of the biggest gossips in the orphanage what was going on.
The only thing Nate could tell him was that Father Maxwell had brought home an older kid an was patching him up with Sister's help. She added that it was a guy with black hair and yellow skin, and that he was really scrawny like he hadn't eaten in weeks.
Duo didn't have time to ask any more questions as the clot of children in the doorway broke up as Father Maxwell came through them carrying a young redheaded girl with a bandage on her head and liberally splattered with blood.
After the priest, with Sister Helen following, were through the crowd, they all turned to follow him towards his office. Halfway there sister Helen asked Duo and two of the other bigger kids to go fetch a cot, blankets, pillows, hot water, and a towel.
Annoyed at having to leave before he could figure out just what was going on and puzzled by the conflict between Nate's report and what he had seen, Duo headed off with Jason and Erin to fetch the requested bedding. He brightened as he realized that he'd get a closer look at the newest kid when he hauled his burden of blankets and pillows into the office.
wading through the crowd of littler kids outside the office, he had
to tell Nate, Megan, and Davie to get outta his way so he coud get
the stuff Sister wanted through the door. As soon as she
spotted him and his mound of stuff, sister hurried over to asked
about the cot and the water. When Duo told her Jason and Erin where
right behind him she seemed to relax , took the
blankets from him and told him to follow her.
Still curious and confused, Duo followed after with the pillows and nearly gasped out loud as he saw the face of the Red head laying on the floor of office. He was so shocked to see the face of the person he'd called onee-san and only ever dreamt about that he nearly gave himself away despite what Solo had drilled into him on the streets, and his one/onii-san had taught him. Solo told him to never show surprise of fear, that if they know you're scared they'll get you.
Someone who'd sometimes looked exactly like the girl currently knocked out on Father Maxwell office floor had taught him somethin' similar. 'Never let 'em know what you are thinking or feeling. Have a mask that doesn't challenge people or make 'em nervous an' only let it go when you are with people you can trust.' She'd, well, he'd told Duo that long ago. He said that if he'd learned that earlier, his life would have been a lot less nuts.
also scolded him for being arrogant. 'Confidence is fine, but
there's always someone out there who's gonna better than you at
something. So don't get cocky, it'll get ya killed.' was
what she told him. Then she'd grinned, winked, and commented
that pretendin' to be arrogant was somethin' else, good for
annoyin' people, but to be careful, you don't want to piss anyone
off too bad.
So far he'd found what they'd told him useful, but lookin' at her layin' there, he had ta wonder if he really was goin' nuts, listenin' ta people talkin' ta him in his dreams.
No one had been more shocked than Sister Helen Mary Donovan when the boy she'd been bandaging turned into a girl when she tried to wash away the blood drying on his face with the water one of the children had brought her. Father Maxwell's calm acceptance of their patients change in gender did little to calm her. He only raised an eyebrow and hmm'd when the dark haired young man he'd brought inside shrank and changed into a girl with red hair.
as she thought of herself, could only nod and follow Father Maxwell
with big eyes and shaky knees when he decided to move the girl into
his office instead of into the boys dorm as he'd originally
suggested. As they moved through the children gathered in the
doorway her eyes narrowed as she spotted Duo who had snuck out of the
orphanage earlier n the day and had been absent for both lunch and
dinner. She made a note to deal with him and his habit of
with out permission later. Maybe she could have him watch the Father's newest charity case with out being allowed a book as punishment for this latest escapade. She had found that Duo hated having to sit still in one place unless he was reading.
Her mind made up despite the knowledge that Duo would find the gender changing person all too interesting, Helen sent Duo and two of the other older children to fetch a cot and bedding for the young... person in question to sleep in and warm water and towels to clean them up with.
what Sister Helen thought, Father Maxwell was not quite as calm as he
looked. However, he had learned to hide his thoughts behind the
thoughtfully calm mask which he was currently employing. His
brain in fact was working over time. While this sort of
occurrence was blatantly unnatural and there fore supposedly evil, it
somehow seemed oddly familiar, as if he'd heard of something like
it before. It was not until he'd reached his office and
handful of books on legends and mythology that his brother had sent him to read to the children that he remembered why this transformation was familiar.
Earlier in the week, he'd been skimming a book of Chinese mythology for suitable stories to tell the younger children when he'd come across a tale regarding water based curses and a place called Jusenkyo. He recalled that water temperature was important for some reason, but could remember no more. As he lay his burden on the floor, he made a note to look for that particular myth before going to sleep in hopes that it might shed some light on his current problem.
In the meantime, he had other things to worry about.
on, once Sister Helen was satisfied that the girl, once again a boy,
was both clean enough not to permanently stain her clean sheets and
on the road to recovery, she left Duo to watch the older boy while
she and the Father put the rest of the children to bed. Calming
the children and convincing them to go to sleep after the evenings
excitement took nearly an hour and by the time they were done, she
was very much looking forward to her own bed. Yet, her work
as there was one more child to send to bed and another to keep watch over.
was mildly surprised to see Father in a chair, obviously looking for
something in one of his books and keeping an eye on the strange ...
boy, while little Duo lay fast asleep on the floor under the cot
curled around his pillow under the blankets from his bunk. When
she asked him about who would watch the boy and wake him up every
hour he told he to go to bed as Duo had
volunteered to take the second half of the night. She protested, but he told her quite firmly to go to bed an get some sleep. He added that while Duo could take a nap in the afternoon, she would never get the same chance and that he knew she'd been up half the previous night with a feverish toddler.
As she left she barely heard him mutter that it was good Duo was taking an open interest in other people as had not done since the few members of his gang that survived the plague had been split up.
Flashes of light stabbing through his poor head as the hand on his shoulder shook him gently and a quiet voice asked him to wake up and open his eyes for a moment.
Through the pain in his skull he could distantly feel his stomach trying to rebel, but he had nothing to throw up.
Bright searing light trying to split his skull open as he obeyed the annoying little voice and tried to open his eyes even a little. As his eyes began to focus, an oddly familiar face swam into view. A child, a young boy? With brown hair falling in his purple eyes. Duo? He must have said it out loud because the face broke into a grin and the head began a dizzying up and down motion.
His eyes slid shut.
Not a dream. Hurts too much to be a dream...
His mind and the world beyond dissolved as he slid back into unconsciousness.
AN: Remember people, this is an Alternate Universe fic with Out Of Character warnings. If I change things a bit don't flame me, but If I miss something really important, please, let me know. To those of you who read Burning Bridges first, I hope some things might be a little clearer now. To those who haven't read it, please do, some things later on aren't going to make much sense if you don't.
As always reviews are greatly appreciated, and flames will be used as Kleenex.