Author: Sunhawk
Warnings : Shounen ai. Weird humor, OOC, Heero POV. No real cats were harmed in the making of this fic.

Deleted Scene from Nothing

I did not used to hate children. Did not, in truth, give them much thought one way or the other. Until Duo and I bought a house together and moved in next door to the devil incarnate.

His name, if you can trust the shouting voices of his parents at all hours, is Damien. I swear I'm not making it up. Unless, of course, they're calling for some poor dog that ran away from home approximately eight years ago on the birth of said devil spawn, but I don't think so.

Duo and I, in private, simply refer to him as 'The Brat'.

If anything happens within a three block radius that involves soap, wax, silly string, toilet paper, rocks, glue, spray paint or dog poop in a paper bag... whoever is on the receiving end will naturally assume the bearer of afore mentioned gift was Damien.

I suspect the child's father carries some sort of special rider on his home owner's insurance that covers small child induced claims. I doubt a week goes by that he isn't paying to replace a window or some type of landscape item.

He's bought us two new forsythia bushes and we've only been living here for three months.

Yes, I learned to hate children inside of three months.

The Brat seems to find us... of great interest. I think he is a bit confused by two men who live together, somewhat disdainful of our Preventer uniforms, and utterly in contempt of Duo's long hair. Or, the 'girly rat tail' as he likes to call Duo's braid. Don't ask me; I don't understand adolescent humor.

At first, Duo tried to win the kid over. He's really quite good with children... normally. But Damien, we have discovered, has no redeeming qualities what-so-ever. He is loud. He is obnoxious. His sense of humor runs to the gross and disgusting. And he is spoiled beyond human endurance. Things that lead to all other life-forms in the neighborhood avoiding him like a particularly virulent form of the black plague. Which means he's always around... and always bored. It took Duo a week to go from attempts at 'winning' to attempts at not strangling.

Which isn't nearly as bad as it sounds... it took me a matter of hours to get to the strangling stage.

But if there is one thing I have learned living next door to Damien the Destructor, it's the fact that you should be the most afraid when it is the quietest.

We were in the midst of a long weekend, Duo and I. The weather had promised to be nice, and we'd taken a couple vacation days to stay at home and do some of the repairs around the house we'd been meaning to do since we'd moved in. It's not a huge place... we don't need much, but there was some painting and some upgrading that needed doing, and we were determined to make inroads on it over the course of the four days we had. Duo was outside painting trim, and I was inside installing the new washing machine we'd just brought home.

I had just finished leveling the machine, when it suddenly registered past my concentration, that I had stopped hearing the God-awful annoying sound of Damien using his cap pistol to work the Jameson's dog into a frenzy. I'd been hearing the 'pop pop pop' and accompanying howls for the last hour and it just suddenly hit me that it was quiet.

I can't describe to you the strange foreboding it gives you to realize you don't know where The Brat is, or what he is up to. There is some safety in having the child occupied, no matter how annoying the occupation.

I dropped everything and headed outside, exiting the house through the back, automatically easing the door closed and slipping soundlessly around the side of the house in search of Duo.

I was moments too late.

I knew even as I shouted, 'Damien, don't you dare!' that it was a lost cause. The unholy light in the child's eyes would not be denied. He'd obviously worked too hard to get himself in position, and he wasn't about to stop. Not for blood, money, or furious Gundam pilot.

He had managed to catch poor Mrs. MacTaggert's cat, which was surprising enough since the beast is usually cannier than that, and knows to stay out of Damien's sight. More surprising was that The Brat had managed to position himself at the base of the ladder Duo was at the top of, without my housemate noticing him. And the most surprising thing of all was the firecracker he had managed to attach to the cat's tail. The one a lit match was poised next to.

I started running, even though I knew I wouldn't make it. 'Damien!' I bellowed again, and only got a wicked grin for my trouble. Duo did hear me though, and I finally realized how The Brat had snuck up on him, when I saw him reach up and pull his MP3 player's head phones off. 'Heero? What...?' I heard, but my focus was on the demon spawn in front of me.

Match touched fuse, the cat was tossed at the ladder, and Damien took off for the dubious safety of home in the next split second. I understand, when watching The Brat, why Dr. J began training me so young... nothing is quite as quick and merciless as a child that age.

The firecracker went off before Damien made the property line, or the cat quite made up its mind if it was going to get off the ladder or not. The crack of the bit of fireworks made the decision for it, and it shot up the ladder like that cracker had been a rocket launcher. I had to revise my opinion about the speed of small boys and decided that it was too bad that cats could not be taught to pilot.

Poor Duo was still trying to figure out what in the hell was going on, when the cat left off climbing the ladder and began climbing his leg. The ladder... shook. The cat suddenly seemed to realize where it was, panicked completely, and somehow ended up on Duo's front. The inarticulate cry of pain that was somewhat high-pitched gave a clue just which route the beast had taken. It was somewhere around that point that Duo, cat and ladder all came tumbling down.

I could hear Damien's maniacal laughter through the slats in the fence, and for two damn seconds I considered leaving Duo to his own devices and going after The Brat.

But then I realized Duo was trying to save the damn cat, and with the animal attempting to wrap itself around his neck, the odds of him landing well were slim.

'Catch!' I shouted, the code for an assisted fall, and was gratified when I saw him go limp.

Or... as limp as one can while sky-diving with a terrified feline attached to one's face. I had flashbacks of that damn Alien movie Duo likes so much.

Then I was under him and catching him and his arms were a steel cage of protection for that stupid cat and we were tumbling to the ground and the howling, spitting cat was suddenly fleeing and...

And Damien was laughing fit to split a gut.

I was so furious, that it was Duo who rolled us out of the way just before the ladder came down on top of the both of us.

By the time the sound of crashing aluminum and spattering paint stopped ringing in our ears, the kid had run for the hills and all that was left was the two of us lying side by side in our now green and white grass, panting like we'd just come off a mission.

I couldn't fathom that less than five minutes prior, I'd been on my knees in the house with a wrench in my hand.

I really hate children.

'That's it, Heero,' Duo said calmly, lying on his back and staring up at the clear blue sky. 'We're moving.'

'You're letting that little bastard win?' I grumbled, staring upward with him.

'Well, you won't let me kill him,' he complained.

'That's frowned on in polite society,' I explained. Again.

'I don't think that kid is part of society, and I've never been polite,' he returned, as our breathing began to slow to normal.

'Well,' I reasoned, even as I was imagining the joy of chasing the little shit down and pounding him into the pavement. Or...maybe turning him over to Mrs. MacTaggert's cat. 'His parents, at least, would frown on it.'

'Says you,' he jeered. 'I wouldn't want to make book on it. They might just thank us.'

I snorted and turned my head to take stock of my partner. 'Are you all right?'

'Dunno,' he told me blandly. 'I'll let you know after I've gone in the house and checked to see if my balls really did get turned into filet mignon.'

I elbowed myself up to get a better look, and winced. I was probably going to have to make a run to the store for a bigger bottle of disinfectant than the one we owned. 'I don't know about filet mignon,' I sighed, 'but your face looks a little like a pound of bacon.'

He experimentally scrunched his face up and muttered, 'Ow. Little rat bastard. Are you sure I can't at least maim him?'

I shook my head. 'No, but if you're feeling up to it, it sure wouldn't hurt to go straight over to Damien's house and let his parents get a look at you before we clean you up.'

Duo nodded absently, but I could tell his mind was somewhere else, so I waited for him to get it worked out in his head. 'Heero...' he suddenly blurted. 'Did you just get my back against an eight year old?'

I smiled. 'Yeah... I guess I did.'

He chuckled. 'God, that's so... twisted somehow.'

'Think about it though,' I said, putting it into perspective for him. 'What were you doing when you were eight?'

His amusement left him and his expression hardened. 'Yeah. Aint' nothing quite as dangerous as those who know no fear.'

'Maybe it's time we taught Damien the meaning of a little fear,' I said, climbing to my feet and turning to offer Duo a hand up.

'What do you mean?' he asked suspiciously, as he gingerly got off the ground, wincing the entire way.

'I think The Brat needs to deal with the consequences of his actions for a change.'

Duo gave out with a snort, taking a hesitant step with an odd, splay-legged gait. 'Heero... if the kid's parents ever made him face the music, he wouldn't be the most feared individual in the city.'

'Well,' I smiled benignly. 'Let's see if Daddy will see to it that Damien cleans this mess up and apologizes to Mrs. MacTaggert and her cat, if the alternative is us filing charges. You could have been seriously hurt.'

Duo glanced up at me from where he'd been tugging carefully at the crotch of his jeans. 'You think this isn't 'seriously'?' he asked indignantly.

'Not as serious as a broken neck,' I told him bluntly.

He sighed. 'Yeah... I suppose. Just pretty sad that I'm a damn Preventer agent and the worst I've been hurt in the last six months is at the hands of an eight year old.'

I turned to lead the way across the yard. 'It's ok,' I grinned. 'I won't tell anybody at the office.'

Duo waddled slowly after me. 'You better not, or I'll tell how you really got that scar on your chin.'

I spared him a glare, but it was hard to maintain while actually looking at his blood smeared face. 'Come on,' I said instead. 'Let's get this over with so we can go get you patched up.'

It ended up not being that difficult, after we discovered that Damien's mother can't stand the sight of blood and she fainted dead away at the first look at Duo.

Pretty much capped the prank for Damien's Dad though, and The Brat spent the entire weekend at our place, cleaning paint off the sidewalk, window and ladder. Kept the kid busy and tired enough that he really wasn't too much trouble. If you kept a close eye on him. I actually thought Duo might get over wanting to hang the kid by his heels from the tree in the backyard.

Until some of his cat scratches got infected and his testicles swelled up like an eggplant.

After that, Damien seemed to finally find something in life to fear, and decided that it was much more fun to torment Mr. Nord down the block.

I don't think we saw him again that entire summer.


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