Beneath: The Murder Cherry
disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing
Duo held his lunch tray as his lips squished up. The last place he wanted to sit was at the table with the only open seat. Relena had first lunch. Quatre had promised that he and Trowa would transfer into the school too. He hoped Heero would join them too, and Wufei if he could get out from under his family obligations. They were all family and Duo didn’t want any of them too far away.
His stomach growled. He considered just standing where he was leaning over and eating his food just like that. It wasn’t like he hadn’t had unusual eating patterns before Maureen decided to make him a real boy. Everything felt wrong now. No matter how nice the clothes were, they didn’t feel like his. They felt too small.
He sighed. Nothing felt like it mattered.
He’d carried the note from Heero in his pocket until it disintegrated. The daydreams he’d had about Heero loving him had faded too. Relena’s reassurances felt hollow.
The only open seat in the whole cafeteria was right in front of Hank and that just felt like it summed up his whole life at the moment. With another sigh, he made his invisible way across the room. Maybe if he was invisible enough, he could get there, sit down, eat at least some of this food, so he’d keep his promise to Maureen, and be done with it.
Maybe it was melodramatic sighs that made a person invisible. At the table, he kicked the girl’s chair. “Move over.”
“You can’t sit here,” she said, “You’re a cockroach.”
There were so many words on Earth that just weren’t used in space. “You don’t want to wear this tray of food, you’ll move the fuck over.”
“Let him,” Hank said with a smile that worried Duo.
“Fine. I was done anyway,” she pulled her tray to the side with a glare.
“Crissy, wait,” Hank said, still smiling. “How’s classes, Duo?”
Duo glared, stabbed some chicken parmesan with his fork and bit the end off of the patty.
“Gross,” Crissy complained.
Duo turned to her and made show of licking sauce from his lip.
Across the cafeteria, at his back, where he couldn’t see, a new student entered, also carrying a tray. His hair was neatly trimmed, but still wanted to stand on end, thick and dark. He had blue eyes and he scanned the cafeteria like he was on a mission. It wasn’t like Duo was hard to spot, so he was soon headed in that direction.
“I have something for you,” Hank said, elbow on the table, as he reached into his jacket pocket. He pulled something out, long and red with a stem, but no leaves. “You do like fruit, right?”
“Sure,” Duo said, forkful of pasta on its way to his mouth. “What kind of fruit is it?”
Hank’s smile went thin and wide. “It’s a cherry. They do have cherries where you’re from?”
Duo shrugged. He’d never seen a cherry in person before. Cherry was a favor that came out of pouches. It was okay. “Why you giving it to me?”
“Well,” Hank said, holding out the baggie. “I just want to help you get used to being here, to fit in better.”
“Yeah,” said Crissy, very interested in staying now.
They were up to something. Duo was sure of it, but he wasn’t going to be afraid of whatever it was. He held out his hand. “How do I eat it? Is it like a spice? Just just a little?”
“Just pop it in your mouth and chew,” Crissy said.
At this point, several other kids had gathered.
Duo took a deep breath, let it out slowly. They were all watching him. If it was that bad, someone would say, right? Maybe it would kill him? He didn’t think the odds were very high. Holding the long slightly rumpled ‘cherry’ he honestly couldn’t say he felt a whole long of anything.
Then he put it in his mouth. He refused to stop chewing. Tears gathered in his eyes. He swallowed what was left whole, shrugged, and loaded up his fork again. “I thought cherries were sweet.”
Hank’s face had gone pale.
The kids around them were hooping and chattering. Honestly, Duo couldn’t really hear them over the raging explosion in his mouth and throat.
Heero carried his tray around to where he was standing behind Hank.
His movement finally caught Duo’s attention and he looked up. Seeing Heero spread a smile across his face, making the tears slide over his rounded cheeks. Love rushed through him, attraction, hope, and Joy.
Heero smiled back and Duo’s heart swelled. “Hi Heero!”
“Hi Duo,” Heero said, forcing his way into the table, just sitting down and if Hank hadn’t have slide over, Heero would have sat in his lap. “Why are you crying?”
“I ate a murder cherry.”
“What did it taste like?”
“Sorrow,” Duo said solemnly.
“Who the hell are you,” Hank snapped.
“I’m Heero Yuy. I’m Duo Maxwell’s boyfriend. Did you give him a pepper?”
“So what if I did,” Hank sneered. “What are you going to do about it?”
“You’re my boyfriend?” Duo squeaked.
“Is that okay with you,” Heero asked.
“Yeah! That’s great!”
Heero turned to Hank, eyes cold and way more adult in their threat level than a child’s should have. “Apologize before you become my enemy.”
“Fuck him,” Duo said, reaching out to very cautiously touch Heero’s hand. “Where are you staying?”
“Maureen offered me a room.” Heero said as he deliberately and intentionally slid his fingers between Duo’s holding his hand with all the love and commitment of a marriage ceremony.
“Cool,” Duo said softly, violet eyes all Heero’s. “My mouth hurts. We should go to the nurse’s office.”
“Hn,” Heero agreed. “I’m glad to be here with you.”
Duo had never ever been more glad of anything in his life.