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Let's see if I can flex some writing muscles.  I've been wanting to do a Christmas advent again for a couple years now.  And this year is probably a terrible idea because I'm incredibly busy with work and homelife at the moment but we'll give it a go and see how far I get.

I'm using some old prompts and some new.  Feel free to toss me more if you have an idea.  (Also LJ is very different from the last time I used it and and I'm having to relearn how to post stuff so hopefully this isn't too wonky...

He seemed so small, a dirty little ball of skin and bones, nothing much more than a pair of giant wide eyes peering out from under a filthy nest of hair.

The Doctor glanced at me and then chuckled, “Don’t let his appearance fool you, he’ll bite your hand off sooner than accept a hug.”

“He doesn’t look strong enough to hurt a fly, let alone do what we need.”  I crouched down and studied the child more closely.

“I’m strong enough.”  He glared and made a fist, baring teeth at me which were surprisingly straight.  “I promised the Doc I’d do the job and I don’t go back on promises.”

I sat back on my heels and smiled, not really believing him but amused nevertheless.  “Well then, I guess you’re going to try.  You know why you’re here?”

He nodded.

“Good.  First thing we need to do is get you cleaned up.  That means doing something about your hair.  Then I need to take some blood.  I hope you don’t mind needles, you’re going to see a lot of them in the future.”

He shook his head and I stood up, offering him my hand.  He looked at it and then me with eyes so old and scornful I took a step back.

“I’m not a baby.”

“Okay, I get it.”  I shrugged and started to walk away, expecting him to follow.  “What’s your name, kid?”

He sprung up and fell into step beside me, jogging to keep up.  “It’s still new.  I’m not ready to share it yet.”

I raised an eyebrow over that cryptic remark but decided it didn’t matter.  He was just a street kid.  Best not to get too attached anyway, none of the other attempts had worked and he was the youngest the Doctor had found so far.  He’d probably die, if not from the training, then the course of injections we’d submit him to.

“That’s fine.  I’ll just call you Kid.”  It’d be easier that way.

No attachments.

He’s in pain, I can tell.  We’ve put him through simulations that grown men, trained soldiers, couldn’t handle.  I watch him blink back tears gathering in the corner of his eyes as the pressure increases, but he doesn’t say a word, just grits his teeth harder.

I watch him through the video feed at nights, shivering and pacing around his room, trying to walk out the muscle cramps and aches that are a result of the injections he received that day.  A cocktail of stimulants and genetic recoding designed to strengthen his bones and increase muscle growth.  The Doctor hasn’t told him that forcing his body to focus on bone density, muscle strength and flexibility means it doesn’t have the reserves to spare for typical growth.  He’ll be shorter than average his entire life.  Strong but slight.  Perfect to fit in the cockpit of a war machine.

Watching him pace and shiver, grit his teeth and pace some more, I’m not sure he’d care anyway.

Stubborn child.

The Doctor was shocked, I could tell.  Mid-simulation the kid reached out and reconfigured the coordinates for the projected flight path.  They’d been uploaded earlier after carefully being calculated by the men working the console, complicated math calculations that required time and focus to accurately work out.  Somewhere there had been a mistake.  It happens.  Nobody expected the kid to lean forward and quickly tap in the correction, though.

Later I overheard the Doctor grilling him, “How did you do that?”

The kid just shrugged like it was obvious.  “It’s just numbers.”

Contrary to all expectations.

The others avoid going near him in the weight room.  They watch his slight form, no more than 60 pounds, lift weights twice his weight and look away, uncomfortable.  It’s too late to feel squeamish over what we’ve done now.  He doesn’t know how old he is but I’d guess about twelve.  He’s fast.  The fastest we’ve ever seen in the simulations.  The others can’t keep up, he out maneuvers them before they can react and is ruthless in his destruction.  He’s the best pilot we’ve ever seen.

He asks the Doctor for harder simulations, grits his teeth against the g-forces and each day, gets stronger, grits less and demands more. That’s why they’re afraid.

The Doctor decides the kid needs to learn physical combat as well and has Marco provide the instruction.  Marco has lost to the kid in every flight simulation they fought in.  He takes the opportunity to teach the kid a lesson rather then provide one.  It’s ugly and when it’s over the kid props his bloody broken body against the wall and grins at Marco who’s panting.  “Feel better?”

Marco doesn’t reply, just walks out.  He barely makes it to the nearest toilet before he throws up.  The next day he starts showing the kid how to block and how to strike and they don’t ever speak of the broken arm and nose I set, or the blood stain that smears the far wall of the training room.

We may have created a monster.

He’s forever finding things to tinker with, bits of wiring.  His room is a mess of tools and half completed gadgets.  Eventually he starts leaving small objects, tucked away but clearly intended for a specific person.  A tiny flashlight for one of the technicians who’s constantly crawling under simulation panels when things cock up.  A delicate wire bird, shaped to look as if it’s flying, is left for the cook who seems to keep an eye out for the kid and slips him an extra piece of cake on the rare days he’s allowed to eat in the cafeteria.  My tech assistant even receives something, perhaps because she’s always the one to offer a Band-Aid and sympathetic smile after I’ve delivered the latest batch of injections.  It looks like a metal rod, not much bigger then the length of a man’s hand but when she snapped her wrist, the rod extended out with a pop, a coiled spring on a magnet that dealt a wicked blow.

A generous but deadly boy.

The day before the operation was to commence, the Doctor finally told him the real plan.  I never heard the kid say no to anything before.  He never balked at anything we threw at him until this.  He wasn’t the tiny little child anymore, taller, strong and willowy.  He wasn’t twelve anymore either and his eyes which could smile at you so wide, could still turn on you in a flash.  He said nothing to the Doctor then, just looked at him with those judging eyes, turned and started to walk away.

“I’m going to need some clothes.”  He kept walking but somehow I knew he was addressing me.  “Something a priest would wear, with more pockets.”  I wanted to ask why and he seemed to know without looking.  “It's only right if I’m to be the God of Death, I look the part to deliver last rites.”  Then he left the room.

I think the Doctor knew what the kid would do.  And he was okay with it.  You had to develop a flexible approach to morality to do what we did for so long but even I was relieved.  So the kid was going to steal the Gundam.  Good luck to him.

“You’re not going to stop me?”  He peered down from the cockpit, fingers flying across the console programming some coordinate I couldn’t follow.

“No.”  I swallowed and for not the first time, felt guilt swell up and threaten to overtake me.  I remembered a conversation held long ago.  “I was wrong, you are more than strong enough to do what is needed.”

His expression flickered and I could see he remembered as well.  “I made a promise to the Doc and I never go back on my promises.  I just don’t think their plan is a very good one.  I’ll get it done some other way.”

I nodded and stepped back, preparing to go behind the blast door as he started to seal the cockpit.  “Hey kid, you got a name?”  I couldn’t help the question as it flew out, one last parting shot.

He leaned forward as the hatch closed and smiled.  “It’s Duo.”

I forgot to mention it was Gundam Wing.  Of course!  :)

Date: 2016-12-02 02:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm so excited for this! As much as I love writing GW it is really nice to sit back and read too.

Prompts: Trowa/Quatre - Sunshine and sand
Wufei - honor
Hilde - I win

That is an amazing fic! So intense and painful to read and yet the perfect back story for Duo. I can feel his pain and determination.

Date: 2016-12-02 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! I haven't written in the GW world for quite a while so we'll see how it goes! I confess this story is one I've had partially finished on my computer for awhile and just finished it finally. The real challenge will be moving forward! LOL!

Thanks for the prompts, too! I'll see what I can do. :)

Date: 2016-12-03 12:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
GW seems to be one of those fandoms that people leave, but always seem to come back to time and again. There is something comfortable about it.

Looking forward to reading them.

Date: 2016-12-03 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
gosh. so easy to slip into the world you write and get absorbed!

Date: 2016-12-03 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I'm rusty but hopefully it'll get easier! :)

Date: 2016-12-03 03:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Awesome! Yay for the advent fics, and yay for starting with Duo, who is my fav. I like how you showed his determination and grit, not to mention his brains. Love it.

Date: 2016-12-04 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! It's been fun getting back into writing and especially getting back into the GW world. I missed my boys! :)

Date: 2016-12-04 12:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was such an amazing character study. I love how they underestimated Duo, and how he was so nonchalant about fulfilling all the challenges he was given. You can tell that something dark is driving him. I'd be scared, if I didn't know that his heart really is in the right place.

Also, thanks for showing how smart Duo is. I think that got lost in the fandom, back in the day.

Date: 2016-12-04 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

The loud-mouthed baka trope was definitely a popular one back in the day and every time I came across it, it rubbed me wrong. I mean you can't be stupid and pilot a Gundam. And they showed him doing all kinds of whiz things with technology and Heero even admits (in Endless Waltz maybe) that Duo is the better pilot. Duo is a sarcastic, flippant loud-mouth but you can tell it's to cover some serious rage issues. lol...

Date: 2016-12-08 10:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been out of town and away from LJ. You can't imagine how excited I was to come home and find this!

What an amazing story! So much packed into it, great background for Duo!

Thank you!

Date: 2016-12-09 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Merry Christmas!? LOL! Hopefully the writing will get easier to crank out, today wasn't too bad (the 8th) and this weekend I might be able to get a stockpile so I'm not writing for the day when I get home from work at 5pm! Man, this was so much easier back when I got to leave work at 3:30, had a five minute walk home and no husband who insisted on having a proper dinner!

Date: 2016-12-11 01:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am horrible at keeping up with anything lately, but I've been devouring these and look forward to the new one each day.
And you give me hope I can maybe pull off at least one more 12 days....
This is just utterly wonderful... if you haven't written in a while, you sure as heck can't tell it. This is perfect, and I love the character you show.

Date: 2016-12-12 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm so glad you've been enjoying them! I felt super rusty at first but I'm starting to get back into the swing of things. I can't wait to see your 12 days!!
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