A/N: Inspired bythe morbid Modest Mouse song, "Satin in a Coffin" and dubbed after a Snow Patrol song. 2005 OTP 25k Co-Winner. I don't want to give anything away, so enjoy the read! Warnings: As usual, Duo's language, some bloody violence.
How to Be Dead
'Are you dead, or are you sleeping? God, I sure hope you are dead!'
Part 1 "Dark and Stormy Night"
It was a Friday. Death was merciful tonight. It was a pleasant surprise in the East Central Morgue and it gave Duo the opportunity to watch a few late-night Grade B horror movies.
Currently, he'd picked up somewhere in the middle of an odd horror thriller about a colony of disproportionate and bloodsucking flies infesting a hospital and the janitor had just stumbled across a nest of maggots, each as long as he was tall, writhing in a storage closet.
As cheap, suspenseful music poured out of the set, Duo's fingers picked hungrily through a bag of potato chips and he grinned lopsidedly at the tacky attempt to scare him with a close-up of the maggot's masticating, slimy face. The combination of water and glue that looked like the topping on old cinnamon buns was interesting but did little to evoke fear in him. Instead, he had a sudden craving for Cinnabon.
The janitor who had stumbled across this horrific find stumbled back from the closet, but soon, through the snowy reception, it was clear that the maggots had caught his scent and started gnawing on his leg, drawing him helplessly into their nest of ooze.
"Chrriiist! Oh, god, can anybody hear me? God, please—someone! Help!"
Duo just snickered as five wiggling, overgrown lards devoured the poor, overacting man from the feet up. "Oh please," he grinned, digging his fingers through the chips like he was stroking the spinning lottery numbers. "Who does he expect to come to his rescue at that hour? The geriatrics?"
The janitor let out a scream as bones started crunching loudly. More gratuitous shots of slimy maggot faces made him laugh again.
" 'Help, someone!' " Duo mocked. " 'I'm being devoured by a pack of fanged anuses!' " He laughed again, simultaneously devouring and crunching the handful of potato chips between his teeth as if it were a helpless custodian.
He laughed at and mimicked the low-budget film for another ten minutes, kicking the rabbit-ear antennae when the signal fizzled out in a flurry of dissonant snow and yelling out in jeers at the characters, as they were oblivious to the unstoppable creatures lurking behind them. When he had finished the bag of chips during a commercial break, he balled the trash up and, still reclining in the chair behind the desk, attempted to make the shot across to the wastebasket.
As the charming tip of his tongue peeked out he said to himself, winking one eye close to aim, "Maxwell lines up his shot… it's down to the wire; what does he think he can do at that distance? Folks, if he can make this shot, he'll have just made history here in New York and single-handedly carried his team all the way to the playoffs! He jumps, he shoots!"
The crumpled plastic wad flew from his hand in a magnificent, a perfect arc that flew gently down toward the metal wastebasket with promise and Duo sat up in his chair sharply. "Hold your breath, folks!" he narrated. "Three seconds to go, your beloved hometown team down by two and—"
It hit the rim of the basket and unceremoniously flopped to the floor.
"He chokes." Duo brought both of his hand up to cup around his mouth as he made the wailing noise of the final buzzer sealing the fate of his fantasized game. "Well, folks, time to spit out those hot franks and go home."
He sighed and dutifully pulled himself from the chair to go pick up his fumbled shot and toss it successfully in the basket. He dusted off his hands and meandered back to the desk to pick up the pop can that sat, half-emptied, by the fuzzy television. As soon as he got near, the reception cut out and he groaned.
"Ah, shit. How am I supposed to see the hot doctor get killed if you keep ducking out on me, buddy? I'm nothing but nice to you, and this is how I'm repaid?" he grumbled, setting down the can to wrestle with the antennae. It was hell-bent on disagreeing with him and, in the end, won the battle.
The horrible reception only worsened and when Duo finally told himself, "To hell with it," it had become a thick blizzard of hissing snow. Defeated and grumbling, he turned it off and sauntered back to the desk.
Before he had taken three steps, lightning flashed in the window glass of the doors at the entrance and lit up the dimmed hallway leading up to the bright space where Duo stood. He stopped to watch the dark night outside momentarily light up in sharp, skeletal-white relief before it disappeared with a rumble of thunder. It was raining in sheets down the windowpanes and he swore under his breath as he went to sit back down.
He kicked the chair leg angrily before falling into it and slumping down. "Lucky me. I'll be driving home in the storm of the century tonight," he complained dully, reaching up and snatching a pen off the disarrayed pile of files.
"Knowing Trowa, he's probably eaten everything in the house, too," he complained with a sigh, twirling a ballpoint between his fingers as he stared at the malfunctioning television. He made a very displeased face. "Wet and hungry. I can see already this is just going to be a great night."
Sitting alone and a pen his only source of entertainment, his mind was left to wander. It settled eventually on the fact that he was spending his weekend working by himself in a morgue, and that he really should quit the graveyard shift. He was afraid, as he watched the whitewashed walls and kept inhaling that awfully sterile smell of disinfectant into all hours of the night, that he was going to loose his mind in here.
Luckily for him, he would have something to do very soon. Sometime a few minutes later, someone knocked on the back door, leaving behind a body on the steps.