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fic - detour [haven] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - detour [haven]
Title:  Detour
Series:  Moments of Haven
Summary:  A little detour yields an unexpected find.

A Moment of Haven

Heero flipped through the lists he had made on his palmtop computer and annotated the final item with a satisfied flourish of his fingers.  "Done.  So.  What were our conclusions?"

Duo drummed his fingers on the steering wheel twice as he gathered his conclusions from where they had wandered and lined them up.  "Hardware from the big box store.  Plant life from the nursery.  As much as we can, anyway."

"Check."  Now that they had done on-site recon at both places and compiled their accumulated data on inventory and prices, they felt comfortable enough to start making some decisions regarding their back yard.  "I know you seemed interested in the seeds.... How about a compromise?"

Duo spared him a glance before returning his focus to the road.  "Half and half, maybe?  Yeah, starting everything from seed doesn't really make good sense since we're total noobs when it comes to this stuff, but, well, I just think it'd be kind of cool to start something from seed.  I mean, there's racks and racks of the stuff.  Gotta be good for something, right?"

Heero nodded, pleased that they had both arrived at more or less the same conclusion.  "There seemed to be much more variety in the seeds.  Had there not been, I would have found the seedlings sufficiently labeled.  Knowing that there are apparently dozens of different kinds of beans, however, I have to wonder if the zucchini was merely 'zucchini', or some variant they didn't bother to mention."

"I have to wonder if you can really taste the difference.  So maybe like a main crop from seedling, which can hopefully be the reliable stuff, and then maybe seeds for sort of just for fun?"

Another satisfied nod.  So far, things were progressing swimmingly.  "I think I would like some herbs.  Some of the ones we've already tried and liked."

"Yeah, I guess that's a good point.  I was thinking maybe it wouldn't be a bad plan to advance our herb-tasting agenda, but I guess I wouldn't want to wait months before we could get to it, and what if we didn't like it?  Then we'd have a whole plot of stuff we don't like.  I'd much rather have a plot of stuff we do like."

"They seem like they could go in a pot instead of in the ground.  I don't think they take much space."

"Ooh, good, that sounds like we'd have a higher chance of success.  I've still got no confidence in that hard-as-rock 'dirt' we've got back there.  We saw lots of soil additive type stuff, yeah?  But after tallying up how much we'd need, that doesn't seem too feasible."

"I think we could do it if we're strategic in our usage of it.  We don't need to cultivate the entire yard.  Just parts of it."

"Yeah, I was thinking maybe we could--"  He paused at the sharp sound of sudden braking somewhere ahead of them, cut off very quickly with a thud.  Fortunately, they had been sitting at a red light that had just turned green, so they were stationary and not in any danger.  "That didn't sound very good."

Heero agreed.  It didn't sound loud enough for anyone to have sustained any injuries, but was no doubt enough to put a hamper on their forward progress.  "Did you see it?"

"Yeah, more or less.  Eight cars up.  They were nice enough to leave a gap for driveway access over there."  He wiggled his fingers in the direction of a shopping center to their right up ahead.  "Someone decided to take advantage of it to make a left turn in.  'Course, our light just turned green, so I guess our car that left the gap got a little trigger-happy and decided to start going before noticing he had someone incoming."

"That means there's a car T-ed and blocking both lanes of traffic, doesn't it?"


The corner of Heero's mouth displayed his irritation at the situation, but nothing more.  "Well.  What were you thinking?"

"Huh?"  Duo backtracked their conversation from a minute ago and found his train of thought.  It took a few seconds to get it back on the rails, but he got it going.  "Oh, um... raised beds?  Not like we saw on display, 'cuz really, I don't think we need to pay that much money for a pre-assembled square.  It's like four pieces of wood at right angles.  I think we can handle that.  I'm just not sure we want to buy as much dirt as we'd need -- sorry, 'soil'.  If we buy anything, it's damn well gonna be 'soil' and not anything like that crap we've already got.  But anyway, seems like we'd have to buy a lot of it, and, well, call me stubborn or something, but I hate just giving up on the crappy dirt we've got and just buying our way out of it."

Heero usually tried to avoid calling kettles black.  It put him at a disadvantage in discussion, and often when in discussion with Duo, one needed all the advantages one could get.  "Maybe we can rehabilitate the dirt within the confines of the raised bed.  If we use an additive instead of brand new soil, we can make better use of what we already have."

"Huh.  I guess it'd be like half-raised at that point, but I like that.  Okay.  Yeah.  Okay, we're totally not moving and this sucks."  Now that the car in front of him had anxiously edged forward just enough to give Duo the space he'd been craving for the last minute or so, he twisted the wheel after a quick check for clearance and had them freed to the right side of their right lane.  They couldn't go very far because the accident site had spread to the sidewalk, but he turned off into an alley that looked like it was intended for deliveries to the rear of the shopping center.

Feeling that he couldn't disagree with the move, Heero continued on with their discussion.  "What vegetables caught your eye?"

"Hmmm."  Duo contemplated the question as he headed toward what seemed like an exit.  The rear area of the shopping center seemed meant for employee parking, perhaps, as well as those deliveries, but that didn't mean there was access to a side street anywhere.  He hoped there was, or else he would have to hope Heero didn't say anything about having made their situation worse.  "After visiting the nursery... I kind of feel like we haven't been eating enough veggies."

Heero thought their diet was quite well balanced, thank you very much.  "Are you referring to variety?"

"Yeah!  Like, there was kohlrabi and mustard greens and artichokes and... man, stuff I don't even remember."

"I'm not sure we should grow things we've never tried.  It's the same as with the herbs, isn't it?"

"Well, yeah, I'm not saying we should plant them.  You asked what caught my eye.  But what we should plant?  Hm.  What's common?  Tomatoes?  Zucchini?  From what it sounds like, it's hard to mess those up.  I'm kind of on the fence about veggies where you end up just eating practically the whole thing.  I know they're only good for the year and then we'll probably be tearing them up anyway, but it just seems kind of uncool for you to reward its ripening with death."

Heero wasn't certain whether or not this was a step up from the whole issue of naming the plants.  It was probably maybe a step up from the issue of eating pigs after they had kindly tilled up one's yard.  Apparently self-proclaimed Shinigami had issues with killing certain things to balance out their equanimity in killing certain other things.  "I tentatively agree with you, but for entirely different reasons.  I think plants that can produce multiple fruit or... edible parts?  Is more time and energy efficient than a plant that can produce only one."

Duo rolled his eyes, but didn't argue the point since they were more or less in agreement.  "Aha!  Success," he remarked as he pulled out of the rear parking lot and back onto a side street.  It wasn't one he remembered traveling before, but he knew where he was in relation to where he needed to be, so their unfamiliarity with the immediate neighborhood was not a problem.  "I think some dessert trees would be awesome."

Twisting his ponderings this way and that, Heero still could not figure out what a dessert tree would be.  Perhaps Duo had put an extra 's' in his pronunciation for some reason, but desert trees didn't really make sense either.  Drought tolerant, probably, but a little out of place.  "What do you mean?"

"Or bushes.  Fruit trees.  Berry bushes.  Or, uh, I'm not even sure what those strawberry plants qualify as.  They sure aren't trees or bushes."

Ah.  "Those don't get torn out at the end of the season.  We'd have to be careful where we plant them."

"What, you don't think your planning skills are up to the challenge?  Whoa-ho, what have we here?" Duo asked rhetorically as he turned off into the driveway of a store they'd never seen before.

Heero looked dubiously at the storefront.  "We looked at tillers, Duo, and--"

"-- thought they were a little too expensive for us," he completed as he pulled into a parking space and turned off the engine.  "But there were only two of them, and they had bells and whistles.  This place might have really basic models for half the price.  And they're clearancing things!" he finished, pointing triumphantly at the signage that proclaimed it so.

Heero faced Duo's expectant look with a small sigh and got out of the car.  In return, Duo pulled up beside him as they entered the lawn mower store and gave him a squeeze on the shoulder with the caress of the thumb that was understood to be a stand-in smooch.

The shop was filled with machinery that they had never used, and perhaps some they couldn't even name, but there was still something somewhat homey about it.  Maybe it was just the familiar scent of engine oil, with an undertone of fresh mown grass.  Maybe it was the scruffy gentleman sitting behind a counter at the front of the store, reading the newspaper while a ball game played softly on the radio.

The shopkeeper regarded them skeptically, but without hostility.  "G'Afternoon, boys.  Anything I can help you with?"

Duo smiled brightly at him.  "Think we're just gonna take a look around, thanks."

"Looking for anything in particular?"

Seeing that anonymity and privacy in this establishment would be impossible without being rude, Duo decided to go with the flow.  "Tillers.  Nothing too fancy."

The man set his newspaper down and walked them past lawn mowers and weed whackers and even a couple of chain saws to a corner in the rear of the store.  "Here we go.  They start on that end and get fancier as it goes along.  They'll all get the job done, but this brand here'll probably last longer than you will, if you take care of 'em correctly.  These have got more features -- adjustable width blades, reverse, speed control, etc.  What are you looking for?"

Reluctant to hem and haw so obviously in front of a stranger, Duo put him off with another polite, but dismissive smile.  "We're not quite sure yet.  I think we'll just start looking at these and see what we've got here?"

The man nodded agreeably.  "If you've got any questions, lemme know.  I'll be in the front if you need me."

They waited for the man to resume his post at the front counter before striking up discussion.  Duo pointed at the one with the lowest price.  "I think that fits in our budget, yeah?"

Heero was silent for a few seconds before nodding reluctantly.  "I think it does."


Heero was silent for a few more seconds before completing the sentence he had left open.  "I don't think I like accumulating things we'll only use once."

"Who said we'd only use it once?  We'd probably be using it a whole bunch trying to get everything all set up.  I doubt we'll get everything right with our first go at it."

"Maybe not once as in 'one time', but 'one year', then."

"We can use it next year, too.  And the year after that.  As you keep reminding me, everything's going under at the end of the season.  Whether we pick up some fall or winter crops, or just wait until next year, we could probably use it again.  I somehow doubt our crappy dirt's gonna be kind enough to stay all fluffy and nice for us for very long."

"It may need some refreshing, but I don't think it'll revert back to its original condition so quickly.  Our dirt's probably been like that for years.  It may have been years in the making."

"You didn't seem to mind looking at tillers at the DIY.  Didn't bring up any of this before."

"They were out of our price range then.  End of story.  None of this was relevant.  Now they have something that is within our price range, and while we can afford it, I just think that we could put that much money into something else."

"It's a tool, Heero.  I mean, yeah, I guess we could put in a week's worth of elbow grease and pound the shit out of the dirt by hand, but why not just invest in some equipment to help us out?"

They looked each other in the eye for a while before Heero glanced away to the short row of tillers beside them.  "As long as... we get good use out of it.  I don't want it to be... just an expensive gadget or something."

Duo spent a few heartbeats processing everything about that statement before taking a stab at it.  "Look, I know I like the gadgets.  And sometimes I like bells and whistles.  But I'm not that shallow, yeah?  I can be practical?"

Heero looked back to him and gave him a small smile.  "Yeah.  I know.  You just got that... look in your eye when you started looking into these things."

"Look?  Ah, you mean the, uh, unholy glee look?"

"Yeah.  That one."

"Oh.  Man, you'd deny me the unholy glee?  That's harsh."


"Joking, Yuy.  Just joking."  And even if he hadn't been to begin with, he would definitely have been after spying the look of faint consternation on Heero's brow.  "Okay, so I glee-d out over a new toy.  That doesn't mean I was being frivolous.  And once we see this baby in action, be prepared for me to glee out some more.  But I like to think I got more marbles than air in here, you know," he said, tapping the side of his head.

"Of course," Heero responded immediately.  "You know I respect your... marbles.  I'm just..."

"Making things clear?"  Heero nodded.  "Yeah, okay, I respect your need for clarity.  Moment over.  Let's get back to the toys, because I may have just found the best of both worlds."  Duo winked and turned around to face the back wall, which seemed to hold used and refurbished items.  Only one of the more expensive tillers had been on clearance, but there were a couple of lonely machines sitting back in this row with their prices proudly reduced.

"That one's more expensive than the one we were just looking at," Heero noted, inspecting the one he felt looked worthier of the two.

Duo got cozy with the dirtier one.  "But look at this poor little guy.  He's the good brand, got some extra bells and whistles, and for much much less!"

"Probably because the label says it doesn't work."

He made a disdainful sound as he started poking at the main panel.  "As if that's a problem.  It's an engine with some gears, a belt, and some rotating tines.  I'm sure we can figure it out."  Bending down a little further, he tugged Heero over and pointed.  "Hey, hold this out for me, would you?  I'm gonna take a look inside."

Heero did as he was told and watched as Duo directed the beam from his keychain flashlight into the machine's innards.  He even politely reached out to hang on to Duo's braid to make sure it didn't make contact with anything unsavory.

"Oh, wow, someone made good use of this guy.  Up until the chain slipped and wore a hole through the transmission.  Yeah, I could totally patch this up.  I'd just need to find somewhere that-- What?" he asked, noticing the amused quirk to Heero's mouth.

"We should go toy shopping more often," Heero murmured, rather entranced by the sparkle in Duo's eye, and perhaps the glimpse of Duo's tongue between his teeth as he inspected the tiller.

Realizing the situation, Duo grinned lopsidedly.  "I thought you didn't like my whole unholy glee."

"I do... maybe in theory more than in practice.  But I do."

"Well, one out of two ain't bad, I guess."

"One and a half, maybe."

"Oh, well then I definitely ain't complaining."

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17 comments or Leave a comment
jaefire From: jaefire Date: July 7th, 2010 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Awesome post is awesome! I hope they shop at that little store more often, maybe get to know the owner--that'd be so fun. Like going on a quest in a video game and meeting all these cool people, to tackle the Big Boss that is "Home Gardening," lol.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: July 7th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
After Duo's chat with the owner to ask about good places to get parts, I'm afraid I don't see them coming back to the store all that often.  They just don't really need any more 'gadgets'. ^^ But never fear, there are still plenty of boss battles left for them in this home gardening game!
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: July 7th, 2010 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
They found another Howard! ^____^

That's super! With that little lonely broken tiller, they've just hit a whole bunch of Duo's buttons. There will be unholy glee a-plenty!

I just yesterday - for the first time ever - found kohlrabi in a regular grocery store! I wanted to buy one, but then realized I better figure out what to do with it first. ^____^

I look forward to the first flight of the Tiller. ^__~

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: July 7th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I pictured this guy in a flannel shirt more than a Hawaiian one. ^_^

Now that it's been posted, I guess I shouldn't change it... I had second thoughts about that tiller.  I thought maybe it should have just been broken 'out of the box', so still new but defective.  Now it's used and busted by someone and who knows how much other wear and tear there is on it beyond the obvious, but I guess that just pushes even more of Duo's buttons. ^^'

I've never had kohlrabi, but it's always one of those things that catches my eye.
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: July 8th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
That tiller will become Duo's Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. ^___^ Bet he does some 'interesting' things to it and eventually paints it real spiffy. And Heero will shake his head and smile fondly. ^____^

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: July 8th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lightning bolts on the side panels would probably get covered up by dust and dirt pretty quickly. ^^ But I suppose that wouldn't be enough to stop him.
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: July 8th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
It'll get washed and waxed after every use. ^___^ And probably a name by the time it's running. *snicker*

sunhawk16 From: sunhawk16 Date: July 8th, 2010 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, maybe it was a sad little tiller that was well loved and taken care of by somebody's Grandpa. And handed down. But then loaned out to a cousin. Who did something dumb, like... backed into it with their car. And broke something on the poor little tiller that is too old to find parts for.
Or something like that. So not all worn out and stuff. Just... abused.
Tiller abuse. ;_;
And don't plant strawberries, Duo! My neighbor planted strawberries years and years ago... and they are still all over my damn yard. =_=
This is fun! ^_________^
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: July 8th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha, the tiller needs its own Episode Zero!

I have strawberries.  I keep them corraled in their own little strawberry pots, so they're not going anywhere.  But I don't think they're prospering very muchly, so I may not have the boys using the strawberry pots for their herbs... or maybe I will and it'll be their little learning experience.  We'll see. =)
sunhawk16 From: sunhawk16 Date: July 10th, 2010 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Or they could take over the neighborhood and the neighbors could be all 'arrrgh!' and THAT would be a learning experience too! :D
I really always wanted to give our neighbor lady a lesson, but alas... she moved.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: July 10th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm.  You know, I'd consider it maybe if Suzuhara-san was their immediate neighbor, but she actually lives two doors down, and I haven't a blasted clue who actually lives directly next door to them on either side.  And at this point, I don't want to bother creating any new characters! =D
sunhawk16 From: sunhawk16 Date: July 11th, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
But... but now that you've mentioned it, I'm vaguely curious as to why they don't ever interact with their immediate neighbors...
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: July 11th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
They do... just, um, not on camera. ^^'
erimari From: erimari Date: July 8th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
The newest addition was adorable and amusing, as always. Duo is such a man, getting all excited over 'toys' and doing repairs. And I loved Heero becoming endeared to the glee in the end, despite his reservations. Thanks for the story!
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: July 8th, 2010 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I/Heero wanted to make sure Duo wasn't *too* much of a man, geeking out over gadgets that are meaningless to him. =p I'm not particularly impressed by the guys who always want the new shiny playthings, but then lose their excitement over them in a few days.

Luckily, Duo's glee is geeky enough to appeal to Heero's inner geek. ^_^
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 6th, 2010 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)


I'm not too knowledgable about hardware, but from the lawn work I've seen my dad do and various neighbours, isn't it usually the norm to rent the heavier pieces like tillers and such, rather than actually buy one? Maybe you mentioned it somewhere and I've just forgotten, but given their budget and Heero's tendency to plan and research, it just suprises me that renting one didn't even come up in conversation, if only so we could see it be shot down with a counter-argument.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: August 6th, 2010 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Rentals

Hm.  I actually have a tiller sitting in my garage. ^^ It's my dad's, but still.  I'm generally of the opinion that renting is rarely cost-effective compared to purchasing unless you're absolutely positively sure you're only going to use it for 24 hours and never again later.  (Our tiller's like 20 years old and still tilling.)  So in this matter, I eventually decided that the boys would end up buying one used.  In my head, after visiting the DIY store, they had decided not to buy a tiller, so their options were either renting or lots of hard manual labor.  As the day of manual labor approached, they would probably start leaning toward renting.  But then Duo found his poor stray tiller that needed rescuing, and that was the end of that.

However, I guess since none of that actually happened since Duo found the lonely tiller that needed a home, I guess I never wrote it up anywhere. ^^ So, um, maybe they would have discussed renting, except Duo made it a non-issue rather quickly?  Their decision not to buy new had only been made like half an hour ago before Duo took his detour.
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