The roads begin
*I do not own any Gundam Wing characters or any Buffy characters. I have a list of the characters I made up down at the bottom.*
Never too Late (For a Second Chance) Chapter 1
He looked briefly at the two small forms curled up in the back seat. Sighing lightly he continued to drive down the highway toward the next spaceport and on to his next mission. He still wondered in the back of his mind why in the name of whatever god existed did he decide to pick up two small children to care for. Sure, they certainly gave him a harmless cover story and were a major asset in that way but he was probably the worst person in the world to raise the toddlers. The little boy and girl looked to be about two or three years of age and were obviously twins. As he glanced back to see the small ball of bodies huddling under his jacket, the driver sighed. He was positive that they were her children and since she was dead they were obviously alone. It was no use wondering what had become of the father, their age fit perfectly with the last time he had seen her- the last time that they had been close. Of course the little boy’s eyes were a dead giveaway. Looking into those eyes he swore he was looking into a mirror that was judging him to his very soul, his own eyes in a little body of innocence.
Shaking his head almost sadly, he turned down the exit that would take him right to the spaceport. He wasn’t looking forward to having to wake the kids in a few minutes. Though, he mused, being seen as a single father of two fussy toddlers would probably earn him some sympathy points from the employees and clerks while making him even less suspicious in the eyes of security. Preparing his cover as a single father of twins looking for work, he was surprised to see that the little girl was stirring and waking up in the rearview mirror. Rubbing her eyes, which were a scant few shades of blue lighter than those of her twin, she spoke in a small but remarkably clear voice for her age.
“Otousan are we almost there?”
“Yes sunshine we are. Can you wake your brother up please?”
“Hai. Otouto, wake up. We’re almost to the space ship and you gotta get up so you can see it.”
Waiting for his turn to appear, the driver had to suppress a chuckle at the soft groan coming from under his jacket. Slowly the little boy sat up in the back seat, a small fist rubbing one eye as he woke. It was obvious by the frown on his face that he had wanted to stay sleeping, but the weary look turned quickly to one of excitement when the child glanced out the car window and saw a shuttle taking off from the spaceport. The man laughed as the little one went from zombie-like to bouncing in his seat in less than five seconds. As the rental car that they were piled in turned into the parking lot, the man realized that he had truly come to love these twins and the simple pleasures that brought into his life. His only hope was that he could protect them from losing the innocence in their souls to the horrors of his world
He winced as he stepped on yet another sharp rock, the wagon rattling down the road as he pulled it. The worst part about living on the streets, he thought, is that there is always something that hurts to step on. Though he had no shoes, the seven year old was smart enough and strong enough to tend to himself and a multitude of other small children. Walking from door to door day after day wasn’t even close to his idea of fun; but if he could beg off some scraps of food or do a small job and get some money for food, he would wander the streets for eternity. One thing he was thankful for was the fact that the streetwalkers liked him and the other orphans enough to help him feed the other kids. They even got their boss-the kids all called him Mr. Cane- to get blankets and clothes for the twenty odd homeless children squatting in the warehouse that he operated in front of.
The boy was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of sniffling. The mysterious noise seemed to be emanating from the alley that he was passing. Turning in the direction of the sniffles, he found a small child of roughly three hiding in a dilapidated cardboard box that had obviously seen better, not to mention drier, days. Reaching into a box on the wagon, he pulled out a slightly stale roll of bread that he had gotten and offered it to the huddle mass of child.
“Hi there, this is for you. My name is Solo and if you want to come with me I can take you someplace a little nicer than here.”
Having said this with a smile on his face, Solo couldn’t help but stare when violet eyes rose to meet his own chocolate ones. There was something so familiar about this child, who Solo soon realized was another boy like himself. A tickle of a hint of a memory buzzed in the back of his head, but he squashed it down and threw a brilliant smile at his small new friend. Turning the wagon back around, Solo felt a strange sense of relief when he felt a little hand grab hold of his own. Looking down at his new charge Solo announced that his was time to head home for the day.
“What does Solo mean?” the little boy with violet eyes asked shyly.
“Well it means to be alone. Like just one person doing something on their own.”
“Oh. But you aren’t alone now that you found me are you? Is there a word for that?”
“Yep. Now we’re a duo ‘cause there’s two of us.”
“Can I be Duo? I never had a word to be called before.”
“Duo is a great name, and it’s all yours. From no on we’ll be brothers, ok? That means that we stick together and help each other out.”
“Ok! I never had a brother before. Then again I’m not sure if I ever had a mommy or a daddy either.”
“Of course you did. Everyone has a mommy and a daddy. Mine just couldn’t take care of me or something so I ended up out here on the streets. But I think they still love me even though we aren’t together. I bet your mommy and daddy are like that too.”
By this point they were within sight of the warehouse and Mr. Cane was handing out fresh blankets and jugs of water to the ragtag group of children. The streetwalkers had brought carts of food and clothes. Solo was happy to see the grownups helping his little family out like that, it was always nice to get help taking care of all the others. One of the women looked up and spotted Solo and Duo and the wagon that they were pulling along. Rosa, as she was called, walked over to the boy and scooped Duo up into a warm hug.
“What’s your name cutie-pie?”
“D-Duo. Who’re you? You smell nice.” Startled and a little shy he hardly looked Rosa in the eye when he answered her.
“Well hello there Duo, my name is Rosa. Thank you for the compliment by the way. Did Solo bring you here to live with him and the others?”
“Yes I did Rosa. Thank you for helping me take care of everyone.”
As Rosa walked to boys over to the group of orphans and prostitutes she told Solo how much they all enjoyed looking after the children. Upon reaching the door to the warehouse Rosa gently set Duo back down and began to unload the wagon Solo was pulling even as the boy protested to the best of his ability. Despite still being an orphan living on the streets Duo, for the first time in memory, felt that he was at home.
Oh how that fire looked warm, the little boy thought. As a shiver rippled violently down his spine the small boy stumbled forward into the camp. This wasn’t exactly a great move as all the mercenaries who had been bustling about the camp snapped to attention and turned their rifles on the interloper. As their leader stepped forward toward the dirty child the men lowered their arms and went back to whatever they had been doing previously. Picking up the small bundle into his arms, the leader of the group was surprised by the deep emerald color of the child’s eyes.
“Do you have a name son?”
“No. Do you have any food? My tummy hurts and I haven’t eaten in a long time. Your fire looks really warm, may I sit by it? I promise I won’t take up much space.”
The leader of the group could not deny the little boy in his arms who reminded him of his little brother that had died years before. Carrying the child to sit by the fire and calling for one of his men to bring some food for the boy as well as some clothes that could be wrapped around him. Looking down at the boy as he tried not to inhale his food, the man talked gently to the little one.
“You’ll be one of us from now on, but we’ll call you no-name until we figure out something that fits you ok? My name is Ryan but you can just call me Captain like the others. In the morning I’ll start teaching you how to fix things and help out so that you can pull your weight around here alright? I’d drop you off at an orphanage next time we get near a town, but that would be dangerous for my men since we fight against the Alliance forces.”
“Ok. I don’t want to be a bother so I wanna try to help however I can Captain.”
“Sounds good No-name. Get some sleep and we’ll start in the morning.”
Otousan: Japanese word for father.
Otouto: Japanese word for little brother.
Hai: Japanese for yes.
Mr. Cane, Rosa, and Captain