Lawless Hearts

Part 10:Scrapman
by Kracken


disclaimer;I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warning:Male/male sex, graphic, language, violence.

Lawless Hearts


Get the number of the virgo that stomped my ass. Every muscle and bone hurt. My head was pounding. I could feel deep cuts, some abrasions, and definitely things sticking in me here and there. My stomach was trying to gnaw itself out of my gut to get itself something to eat, and... I opened my eyes and confirmed what my nose was telling me. My face was buried in someone's armpit... Heero Yuy's armpit to be exact. We may have taken a shower earlier, but the man could stand another...

I sat up, stifling a groan, and eyed my bed partner. He looked on the edge of waking up, his face settling into a slight frown and his body, sprawled out half underneath me and taking up most of the room, beginning to shift. A had seconds to figure out what attitude I was going to cop, what face I was going to show this man when he opened his eyes, and what I wanted him to think that I thought about us 'doing it'.

I was off the bed like a scalded cat, and busying myself getting some pants, on before those blue eyes opened. When I heard him sit up and make noises of pain, I was handing him hot coffee and pulling heat tabs on some meals. Keep moving, I thought, so I could avoid that moment, the one where two people figured out if things were 'hearts and sunshine' or 'where's my shoes so I can get the hell out of here?' I'd always been the one thinking the last line up until now. It was hard waiting for someone else to choose a or b.

Heero sipped his coffee and I felt him looking at me. I opened my meal and started eating, burning my tongue a little, but too hungry to stop and too chicken shit to give Heero an opening.

Heero started eating as well. The first pack disappeared quickly, but he slowly began eating two more. That was going to keep him busy, I thought as I trashed mine, and went to pull on a shirt. I paused to brush my teeth and clean the last of the mud from where we had missed in the shower earlier. I was busily scrubbing a spot hard, just under my ear, when arms slid around me from behind and held me gently. Heero's presence was warm and solid as he breathed against my neck, "Are you all right?"

I shivered. I didn't want to turn around. I put down the rag and blinked down at the sink. There was some toothpaste and spit there. I turned on the water and listened to the pipes groan as I rinsed the cracked bowl of the sink clean. "I... I don't know what to think. It was all kind of... sudden." Yeah, so, there it is Yuy, I thought bitterly, all laid out. I'm scared, dammit, now go ahead and fucking laugh at me.

Heero's arms gave me a brief hug and then he was backing off, giving me just what I needed right then, space. He said, as I sneaked a look at his serious face in the medicine cabinet mirror, "I never thought about anything but the missions during the war. Afterwards, I had a lot of time to remember you, to think about you. I've always felt that I missed something important, a friendship with you at the least. When I saw you again, in that truck full of contraband gyros, I felt... It wasn't friendship I was feeling... and it wasn't... sex... I..." Heero looked away and shrugged and I realized that he was as on edge and as unsure as I was. He hadn't planned this, but, like me, he had wanted it.

We both didn't know where to go from here; how this tremendous thing was going to fit into our lives. It was like an elephant trying to squeeze into a little box. That was how we were both feeling, I think, that it was all too big and too confusing. The elephant either needed to lose some weight or become a contortionist, because, just then, he WASN'T fitting.

"Guess I didn't think about much during the war either," I replied when he didn't come out with anything else. Liar, I called myself and, you know, he was probably saying the same thing to himself. Come on! Fifteen, gay, and in close quarters, sure as shit we were thinking about each other... though to be clear, a relationship wouldn't have been a blip on the radar screen back then. We 'd been too young and too dedicated to dying for the cause.

I did a typical guy thing. Something bugs you, you sidestep it until it grabs you and throws you down. Emotions, touchy feely moments, declarations of... whatever... I just wasn't ready for that. I knew what I was feeling. I knew how much I wanted that guy with the messed up hair and the saggy shorts.

Saggy shorts... I eyed them. They were mine. There's something about some other guy wearing your shorts, maybe for straight guys it would be gross, but for me.... it was a damned turn on. It just made the 'I don't know what the hell to do about this' hunkering Duo psyche whimper.

"We have some daylight left," I said. It sounded like someone else. My voice was all edgy and weird. "Let's see if we can't find some more parts and get them together."

Heero didn't look hurt, he looked relieved. Yeah, a guy thing. Let's pretend nothing happened until we get a better handle on it. "Sounds good," he replied with the same false, weird voice, the neutral, no comment one. "I'll finish eating and get dressed."

Heero suddenly frowned and I tensed as he touched my shoulder. There was a sharp sting and then he was looking at a sliver of metal covered in my blood. It was small, not much, but he was already reaching for my tweezers.

"We should take care of this first," Heero grunted and, by the time he was done pulling crap out of me and patching me up, and I was done doing the same for him, we'd fallen back on the buddy thing. Well, we were way past agent and scrap man stoolie, so, yeah, just buddies helping each other out. Nothing to get excited about.

"Are you going to be okay working?" Heero asked, worried.

I replied with a shrug, "Doesn't matter if I am or not, right? The business has to make some money now, so we have to work, even if we're banged up." Okay, bad choice of words. I heard Heero snort, but I didn't wait for his reply as I grabbed my boots and made my escape, face so hot I could have warmed up my coffee on it.

I spent some time outside, putting everything onto a piece of dirt that wasn't so muddy. The pumps were already droning, drawing the water back into the cisterns for filtering and cleaning. There were still puddles, low spots, and dips in scrap that kept the water back, though, and I had to pick my way around them as I searched for parts that would, hopefully, make a whole machine that I could sell. Everything was damned unstable, scrap tumbling and sliding down from their piles, some weighing more than me.

"Is someone going to bring your machine back here?" Heero asked as he joined me. He was dressed in jeans now and a tank top. I looked away when I saw the bites on the back of his shoulder as he bent to pick through the things I had organized on the ground. Nope, still not ready to cope with 'us'.

"Once the water is pumped away from the field," I told him, "I have to take the claw and go drag Mudhopper out. I'm pretty sure she's not going anywhere on her own power now."

"Too bad," Heero said absently, "I think your machine was superior to anything out there. Together, we could have won."

I snarled, hating that he had managed to stab me when I least expected it, "Well, I rate a man's goddam life ahead of winning a stupid mud contest!"

"Ahead of your own, too," Heero replied, unruffled by my temper. "You could have been crushed."

"Yeah, well..." I shrugged, deflated. "I didn't have time to think about that."

Heero gave me a keen look and then said, as he headed for a particular scrap heap, "I think you did."

I stared after him as he began to climb for a part. "Watch out!" I shouted at him. "It's full of water and unstable!" I saw him nod and continue to climb. He looked so strong and confident, muscles sliding under skin, handsome face frowning in concentration. It made me think about earlier, but not about sex.

I SHOULD have been thinking about sex, about how good Heero had tasted, felt, smelled... how we had come together and 'done it' like... like we'd been doing it forever. Yeah, that easy and familiar. Instead, I thought, 'If you're right, then I was ready to kill you too to save that son of a bitch next door. What did that say, Heero Yuy?' It disturbed me and I found myself going over the event in my mind, again and again, as I tried to remember it perfectly, as I tried to remember if I really had thought it through.

We gathered our parts and I examined them when we managed to get enough together to make something. Unfortunately, the reject pile grew faster than the 'we can sell this' pile. I felt a knot growing in my stomach, getting bigger and bigger every time I heard the clatter and clunk of yet another part landing in the scrap pile. Every reject, after all, was another nail in the coffin of my business.

Bad fuel rods, mostly. Too much rust. Deposits gumming up the works. Burn outs. Bad points. Bad gyros. Bad internal generators. Nothing we had lying around, nothing that I'd been able to afford in some time. Guess that was why I'd never bothered putting them together in the first place. That phenomenal memory of mine had already figured out what Hero was just now realizing. It was all junk, plain and simple.

I crouched, hands lax between my knees and head bowed. I didn't even care that my braid had coiled up in a puddle. It just didn't matter. I could still hear Heero scrambling for parts, not willing to give up yet, not like I had. Thanks, I thought, for giving me a nice afternoon, anyway, before... this.

Then I heard it, a familiar engine chugging and back firing. It was almost covered up by the air scrubbers as they descended and began sucking the thick humidity out of the air as they cleaned. I was up and running, ignoring Heero's shout of surprise, ignoring aches and pains and pulled muscles, ignoring the shooting, fierce pain that felt as if it were ripping my head open, as I thrust my way through the back gate of the lot and charged full tilt down the muddy alley.

The driver of the panel truck slammed on his brakes as I jumped onto the hood, scrambled over to the driver's window, and hung on like a leach while I shouted over the sound of the scrubbers at him, "Micky! Micky! Micky! I am soooo glad to see you! How ya been? How's the kids? How's the ball and chain? Well, enough catching up, you can pull right into my lot and we'll get down to business."

"Get off, Maxwell!" the man shouted back in a bored, irritated voice. He didn't even look at me. "Everyone knows you got 'nothing."

"And everyone knows you don't either," I shot back angrily. When he tried to put the truck in gear and shove me off, I reached in and took his keys. The truck rumbled to a stop, but not before one last backfire.

"I'm calling the cops," Micky warned, still not looking at me, jaw working.

"Yeah, so they can arrest you?" I wondered. "You do still owe Wilks for a pile of rusted, water logged engines, don't you?"

"You don't have any cash," Micky sneered, finally glaring at me. He looked like a ferret; overbite, small, pointed nose, beady eyes, and a thatch of hair. He had the disposition of one too. He'd eat his own for a few credits.

"I have a new partner with some better business savvy than me," I told him, not having to shout now as the scrubbers finished their job and retracted. "You sell to me and you have a good chance of making some credits."

"Look, Maxwell," Micky said derisively. "Telling me your new fuck is running things isn't going to make me trust you enough to unload my stuff."

I reached in and grabbed a handful of his dirty shirt. "Who said that?"

"What?" he retorted.

"That he's-"

"Didn't, just guessed," Micky sneered as he shoved my hand off.

I looked around and saw my competition hanging near their gates. They weren't coming towards us and they weren't going to try and make Micky better offers. That told me all I needed to know. I had him. I grinned. "I'm all you got, Micky. In fact. I bet you were driving to my lot already, am I right?"

Micky turned a shade of purple that made me worry about his blood pressure. A vein actually throbbed in his forehead. He looked down at his steering wheel, ran his hands over the cracked plastic, and then glared at me again. "65% or you get nothing."

"40%," I countered instantly.

"60%," Frank snarled.

"45%," I countered again.

Micky snatched his keys from me and started his engine. He made as if to back up his truck.

"50%," I conceded.

Micky paused. His jaw worked again, and then he grunted as he looked through his windshield, "That your new partner?"

I glanced to where he was looking and saw Heero standing by the front of the truck in a way that made me think that he was ready to jump in and make hash out of Micky.

"Yeah, that's him," I replied with a grin.

Micky studied Heero and then said, "He looks like he has more brains than you. Okay, done deal."

I jumped off then and motioned Heero to follow me as we led the truck back to the lot. Swinging open the big gate, Micky drove the truck inside. Once he was parked, I climbed into the back and had an uncomfortable flashback. It smelled like gasoline, oil, and dirt. I had this image of Heero, all in black, aiming a gun in my face. It was such a different image from the man who climbed into the truck with me and eyed the crates, waiting for me to give directions.

I picked the closest crates and we opened them up. They were filled with junk, some of it doctored so that it wouldn't look like junk to the untrained eye. I picked through it all, catching slivers and cuts from the metal. Finally rejecting the whole lot, I angrily shoved the crates aside with my foot, and started on some more crates. It was more junk.

I ran a hand, that was covered in grime and some of my own blood, through my bangs and wiped at the sweat. Damn, it was hot in the truck. That knot in my stomach returned and tightened up enough to make me feel nauseated.

"Duo?" Heero asked, worried. "I can finish here."

I rolled eyes at him. "You had mudhopper land on you too, so stop trying to be superman, dumbshit."

He ginned at me and helped me with the next crate. Yeah, he could grin, but I was looking as sick as I felt. He could go back to his cushy Preventer job whenever he wanted. I was the one who was going to be left with the ashes and the 'what comes next?'

Finally! I felt relief so profound I had to sit on a crate. Fuel rods with charges, some good parts with only minimal damage, and two engines. For once, Micky had actually been on the up and up and not trying to completely scam someone.... well, me.

"Looks like we're still in business," I told Heero and I was finally grinning too.





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