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fic - one man's junk [dorm] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - one man's junk [dorm]
Title:  One Man's Junk
Series:  Moments in a Dorm Room
Summary:  Heero Yuy.  Warrior.  Philosopher.  Geek.

~ One Man's Junk ~
A Moment in a Dorm Room

He felt out of place among the quiet shelves, but the sensation wasn't exactly new to him.  He dealt with the uneasy feeling until he found his mark.  "So this is where you're hiding."

Heero didn't spare him a glance as he continued to browse the titles.  "Are we leaving already?"

Wondering if it was safe to lean against the shelves, Duo shrugged.  "Naw.  I got my stuff done, and then I left behind a lively discussion of someone or another's interpretation of some song or another, and how did it stack up against this other's guy remake of that classical piece, et cetera, et cetera, so I figured I'd come hunt you down."

"Ah."  Heero probably would have hunted him down, too, had the situation been reversed.

He cast a half-interested look at the material his roommate was studying in the technical manual section.  "This is where you come to keep your stash up, eh?"

"If you say so."

Since it was a used bookstore, most of the manuals were obsolete, but they still covered a wide range of subjects.  Duo turned around and studied the shelves behind them.  History.  Now there was something that didn't change.  Much.  Recalling the paper he still had to write for his class, he skimmed the spines looking for something that might be useful, but as expected, found nothing of relevance to the matter.  He did, however, spot a book documenting the lives and trials of the first space colonists.  He pulled it out with a mild curiosity and read the blurb on the jacket.

Unable to muster any further enthusiasm for the accounts of people filled with hope and optimism, he put it back on the shelf and wandered down the aisle to another section.  Meandering through two more rows, he made his way back to Heero's side.  "There's really a lot here, isn't there?"

"I've barely made a dent in it."

He spotted a book next to the empty spot Heero had left in the stack when he pulled a book out.  "Check this out.  MSOS one point three.  Man, that's gotta be a collector's item or something."  Extracting the well-used manual, thumbed through the opening chapter.  "Wow, this is so archaic, it still uses that L1-thingy you've got going."

That was somewhat vague.  Replacing the book he was holding, Heero eyed the passages Duo was indicating and caught sight of the characters used in the old L1 idiom.  It was a bastardized set from a language the original colonists had brought with them.  "That's not so archaic.  You can still find it lurking in the depths of the colony infrastructure.  Most of the hardcore engineering geeks will know how to read at least some of it."

Duo snorted as he put the old book back, only passingly interested in old L1 memorabilia.  "Bet that includes you."

Heero admitted to it easily, though he justified it with something other than geekiness.  "It's not good to always rely on translations.  Some of them are rather... iffy.  And we were running a secret project.  We had a lot of hidden routes and storage areas and the like that were in places that haven't changed much since the colony was built.  It was useful to be able to read what all of the signs and warnings said.  I'm sure you're familiar with those ridiculous units of measurement you still find on L2."

"Of course."  He couldn't really take offense at the description of the system.  It was indeed somewhat ridiculous and nowhere near as convenient as the system more commonly in use today.  "I can't believe they still use that crap in some places.  I mean, they have to because all the old stuff was built to those specs, but geez, considering how much of the whole place is so shoddy just because of an incompatibility in units, you'd think they'd find some way to update or something.  Man.  You know, it's really depressing when you think about it that way.  To think the place has sucked for a couple hundred years just because of a standards disagreement.  That's just... insult to injury."

"Things go downhill quickly when people can't agree on something," Heero responded, fingers brushing over the MSOS doc.  Nostalgic as it might be to read, his goal was to learn new things, not review the old.  "That's how it always is.  Everyone's just too damn stubborn to compromise.  You can't be afraid to change."

"No one can see why they should be the ones to change.  They always think that everyone else should change."  This changing business was easy to talk about, but it wasn't always so easy to actually put into action.  "Don't know how much you know about the unit thing, but those guys were the only people left using that system, and you know they actually tried to convince the rest of the world that everyone should convert to their system?"

"It's the same on both sides of the fence.  And I admit, in cases like these, sometimes there is no compromise."

"And unlike cases like these, just because most people agree on something, doesn't mean that it's necessarily the right path to take."

Heero let out a faint sigh.  "Most days, I'm convinced that there is no 'right' and 'wrong'."

"Most days?"

"On the other days, you run into the extreme cases, and there seems to be a clear cut line.  I can't decide which is better."

A rare case of indecision, coming from him.  "Well, if there is no right and wrong, then there probably isn't a 'better', either, so chances are, you're better off betting on 'most days'."

The lightest crinkling around his eyes served as a moment of quiet laughter.  "Just because it's the conclusion of the majority, doesn't mean that it's necessarily--"

Duo punched his arm.  "Oh, shut up."  He crossed his arms and turned around, finding himself face to face with the history section again.  Maybe there was no such thing as 'fact', either.  There was only what was recorded.  Which was kind of a problem when it came to secret underground operations and undocumented pasts.  What would time say about the origins of the Gundams?  "What happened to your project?  After they launched you."

"They shut down," Heero answered, having followed the books a couple of meters farther down the stacks.  He lingered now in the how-to section.  "Too great a risk after we were detected.  They mostly dispersed, though I had the contact information for a few of them, just in case."

"So there isn't really..."  Trailing off, Duo closed the distance between them before continuing.  "I mean, that was pretty much your home, wasn't it?"

Home.  A strange thought.  But it must have been.  "If I had to call somewhere home, I guess that was it."

"Then..."  His eyes caught sight of the books on home improvement.  He looked away.  "You don't really have anywhere... If you went back, after all this.  Where would you go?"

Heero had thought about it, and had never come up with a very satisfactory answer.  "Nowhere in particular, I guess.  I'd just find a place, probably one with something to do, and just start something new.  If I went back."

"You thinking about staying?"

He shrugged slightly, lending the important decision some nonchalance.  "If I stay on Earth, it'd probably be the same thing.  Find somewhere with something to do.  But at least here, it'd be... something new.  Something different."

"You like it here?"  They weren't on Earth right now because they liked it.

He glanced upwards as if he could see through the ceiling and up into the stars.  "I like space.  But the colonies... I didn't dislike them.  But they weren't all I knew.  I'd been to Earth when I was younger.  I probably wouldn't have said I wanted to stay here, but... Earth has its perks."

"So does space.  The colonies.  I think I liked the... not to say that things were 'predictable', per se, but yanno.  You know what to expect up there."

"You're thinking about going back?"

It was Duo's first reaction to shrug the matter off as if it didn't matter.  "Maybe.  Maybe not.  Dunno yet.  You came down here before, huh?"

"Some jobs.  And camping.  With Odin.  Or 'training exercises', you could say."

Now there was something he hadn't had the opportunity to do the previous year.  And he was perhaps glad of it, too.  The forests and stuff were fascinating to look at and maybe even play around in, but he didn't know enough about them to feel comfortable in them.  "Did you like it?"

"It's strange to think that there can only be such woods on Earth because the colonies were built to relieve the overpopulation.  But both in the woods and out in space, I really get that feeling of... humility."

Duo snorted softly.  "Man, you must be one of the few people in the world that likes being humbled."

A pity, that.  "I learned that it's important to realize and accept that not everything is within your ability to control.  Sometimes you just have to go with what the circumstances give you.  Earth and space are like that.  They remind us of how small we are, of how we're simply a part of something larger.  The colonies don't.  As much as I support the colonies, I've always thought there was something... arrogant about them.  The same sort of arrogance that leads to people like Tsuberov and Quinze.  We as human beings simply aren't that powerful."

"Sounds like a no-go for you then, huh?"

"There's nothing wrong with the colonies.  I could live there without being troubled about it.  But Earth... It's a different experience."

"That's for sure.  Kinda hard to tell how much, though, what with where we are and all right now.  Not exactly a good baseline for comparison."

"No, it's not.  I think the big cities aren't too much different from the artificial control of the colonies, though.  But in the end, I think it's what we make of it.  Like I said, my plans so far involve finding somewhere with something to do, and then going there and doing it.  Space or Earth, either way."

"Simple plan."

"What else is there to do?"

"So, what, while you're there, you're just gonna... read?"  He gestured at the books around them.

"It's... a pastime.  I don't think I could do it all of the time."

"You'd probably have enough to do it all the time," he murmured, glancing again at the wide variety of topics surrounding them.  Maybe a bit of that humility thing was creeping up on him now, just thinking about how big the world really was, how much there was out there that he didn't know anything about.  Maybe he was having a rare moment of synchrony with Yuy.  "There's probably even more over at the big bookstore over on Seton.  Why don't you hit that place?"

"That place has a coffee bar."

He waited for more of an explanation, but apparently Heero thought that single statement said enough.  "Then you could drink coffee and read."

"I don't drink coffee."

"You could sit there and inhale the smell of coffee, then."

"And put up with all those people?"  He enunciated the last word with a sharp distaste.

"Yeah, but they've got new stuff.  Not manuals from practically the last century."

"I don't really come here looking for manuals on cutting edge technology."

Duo was about to ask why he was here, then.  But another look at the shelves of books that had seen better days gave him a reasonable answer.  Heero was just a humility junkie.  Among other things.  Heero Yuy, warrior philosopher geek.  He chuckled, prompting a raised eyebrow from his roommate that he just shrugged off.  "You going to find a place with something to do and somewhere to store all these books you buy?"

"Or I could sell them back."  It would be ridiculous to limit his choices based on storage capacity when he was quite accustomed to living out of a Gundam.

Fully aware of the fact that their room was not exactly overflowing with book purchases, Duo still would not really have pegged Heero as a mere browser.  "Anything here you wouldn't read?"

"I put down the book on number theory.  I can't bring myself to care that there are just as many rational numbers as there are natural numbers.  Actually, it sounds like something your demented little mind might enjoy.  On the other side of this shelf."

With Heero's habitually dry tone, it was difficult to determine whether the recommendation had been genuine or sardonic.  Duo took the dismissal and made it his, drifting down the aisle as he scanned the battered books.  When he reached the end of the row, he turned in the direction Heero had indicated, but made it a point to pass over the section.

Heero later found him three rows in the other direction, studying the books on philosophy and religion.  His roommate was just standing empty-handedly and looking pensive.  "You can take one home, you know," he observed.  The government provided them with a reasonable allowance.  It was vaguely galling to use it, but wasteful not to.

With one last look, Duo turned away from them.  "Nah.  I might have been interested in this stuff like ten years ago, and I might be interested in this stuff ten years from now, but right now... No, not today.  Didn't find anything?"

"Not today."

"You know, this stuff is all the stuff that no one else wanted anymore.  I'm surprised you can find anything ever."

"As a colony brat--"

"I should be ashamed of myself, I know."  They knew not to waste things up there.  A good deal of his own youth had been spent dumpster diving.  "I'm not saying one man's junk ain't another man's treasure and all that boring shit.  I'm just saying.  Thought you'd have higher standards than that.  Not 'cuz it's used.  But someone thought it was crap, else it wouldn't have ended up here."

"Just because it's been tossed aside, doesn't mean that there isn't someone else that wants it.  Or maybe there just wasn't any more room on their shelf."

Duo made a non-committal sound, after which the corner of his mouth twisted upwards.  "Hey, look at this.  Someone tossed their Bible."  He pointed it out with a finger, running it slowly down the spine before he shook his head at some private thought.

Heero spotted another book further along the shelf and pulled it out.  "I read this a few years ago."

"Any good?" he asked, glancing down at the cover.

The book was turned in his direction.  "I thought so.  I wouldn't consider it crap at all."

He accepted the offer and took up the book, scanning the summary on the back.  "A warrior philosopher, eh?" he said in amusement, thinking about the title he had bestowed upon his roommate only a few minutes ago.  "He's got good stuff to say?"

"Very practical."

"Practical?"  Figured.  Duo backtracked in his skimming when a few words caught his eye and he laughed at the re-reading.  "Heero, man, you know this guy was tripped out on peyote when he wrote this, right?"


Well, maybe that explained a few things.  Duo looked up and did a quick scan of Heero's bland expression, then returned his gaze to the book in his hand.  With a contemplative snort, he flipped it over once, twice, as he studied Heero for a few seconds more.  Finally, he turned with a bemused smile and toted the find towards the register.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
hostilecrayon From: hostilecrayon Date: April 29th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this glimpse into Heero's thinking. I also love the little jab at the American measurement system, lol. As an American, I find it to be so true - it's very inconvenient to try and convert between the two systems. It's pretty ridiculous.

Heero Yuy - Warrior Philosopher. How fitting. ^.^

I've been reading on my mobile and making replies on there is sucky, so I skipped replying to them. Plus, I feel bad for flooding you with so many replies. XD That, and I got a little lost in the crack!fic drabble battles I've been having, heh.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: April 30th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)
It's interesting to remember that the early colonies were built as independent projects by various nations or allied groups, more or less in competition with the other nations.  The space race all over again.  In thinking about the socioeconomic suckiness in the L2 cluster, I decided there was no reason why this non-cooperation couldn't have been a source of it.  And I wanted there to be a reason besides, '*shrug* it just is.'

I strive to use the metric system in all of my post-canon fics.

No really, don't be obliged to comment on everything just for the sake of commenting, but don't feel like it's an imposition if you do leave comments!  Feel free to comment as you please. ^_^
2 comments or Leave a comment