death is the ultimate equal-opportunity employer
Prompt: Gundam Wing. 1x2. "All things are equal in the eyes of Death."
Note: Mild crossover with Supernatural, but you don't need to know it to understand. Imagine it's just an AU.
Word Count: 1,131
Heero was taking a shot of whiskey to wash away the remains of a werewolf hunt when he heard a commotion over by the pool tables. He turned his head to see a burly hunter in a flannel shirt and tattoos loom over a slim young man and growl, "You fuckin' little hustler – "
"I ain't no hustler, assface, back the fuck off and learn how to play the fucking game before you go hurling accusations," grinned the young man. He leaned on a cue, one hand on a cocked hip and every inch of his black-clad body screaming reckless confidence.
"Think you're a big fucking hunter, don't ya – dust a couple of ghosts and you think you're the shit, who the hell let's toddlers play with the big boys now – "
"Last I heard, hunting don't got an entrance exam. Now, we can be grown-ups about this little spat and finish our game, or we make this a grade-school pissing contest and take it out back. Me, I'd rather not give Ellen a reason to kick my ass to the curb."
Heero cut his gaze to the bar's owner, a middle-aged woman who was watching the argument with sharp eyes and a shotgun near to hand as she dried a glass. The burly hunter seemed to notice the same thing and he snarled, "Fine, but fuck off, I ain't babysitting your thieving little ass."
"But what a fine ass it is," the young man smirked, twirling the cue and letting it fall smoothly back into the rack. A long brown braid whipped around after his movement. "No problem, assface, worked up a bit of a thirst anyway. Excuse me, gentlemen," and he pushed through the small gathering of seasoned hunters like he was walking through a carnival crowd. Heero snorted under his breath and turned back to gesture for another when he sensed that same presence coming up behind him and dropping into the next seat.
"Two Jacks, please, Ellen," the young man said with a charming smile.
"You don't keep your mouth shut, Maxwell, you're gonna get it shut for you." But she slid over two glasses, expression distinctly not amused.
"Aw, but they love me too much. Their lives would be so much less interesting without me."
Ellen raised a brow but didn't answer, turning away instead to another patron. Heero silently accepted the second glass of whiskey and made sure the M9 Beretta at his side was in easy reach.
Maxwell put his elbows on the counter and leaned forwards, letting his spine arch like a lazy cat. "So, Heero, I hear you're the quiet stoic type."
Heero narrowed his eyes and Maxwell laughed mildly. "Well, seems the gossip of hunters is still as strong as ever."
"Why were you asking about me?"
"Because, my Virgo orphan friend of Japanese descent and far too much idealism, I've got a business proposition for you. And unless you wanna start something in a bar full of twitchy hunters that make a living off hunting the things that go bump in the night, I suggest you take your hand off that gun under your jacket and hear me out."
Heero withdrew his hand from his leather jacket and took a casual sip of his whiskey.
"Good boy. Now, I've got a little problem, and I need your help to take care of it. You ever heard of L2?"
"It's one of the ghettos in the Chicago area," Heero answered promptly.
"Hole in one, babe. Now, here's the rub – there's some shit goin' down there that shouldn't be, and only four other hunters know about it. Ellen's one of them, though she don't know I know that," he said, tilting his glass in the woman's direction. "Think of it as a plague, as much as something demonic can be called something so mundane. It's starting out small, but it's only a matter of time before it starts hitting the big city."
"Why are you asking me and not one of these other hunters, then?"
"Heero. Babe. Look at me."
Heero glanced at him and immediately froze. Instinct had him reaching for the Beretta again, common sense was telling him not to start shit in the Roadhouse, and good old animal fear had his heart pounding with adrenaline.
Maxwell smiled slow as syrup, crinkling the corners of eyes that had gone the deep purple of twilight, swallowing up the sclera until he looked like a violet-eyed demon. Sudden stillness seemed to hover around him like a cloak, as though the sounds of regular chatter and clinking of shotglasses were muffled by an invisible wall around their little corner of reality.
"I know you," Heero whispered. He was five years old again and kneeling by the bodies of his parents, blood soaking through the knees of his pajamas, the howl of a werewolf still echoing in the master bedroom. The world had gone still and silent, just as it was now in a bar in the middle of Nowhere, America, and little Heero had felt the weight of violet eyes on his bowed head.
Maxwell leaned his head on a hand, eyes gone half-lidded and heavy. "Don't feel bad, Heero. Sooner or later I come for everyone, nothing personal. But right now I'm all yours."
"I thought it was a werewolf," and though Heero's lips were numb, his voice was as steady and flat as a board, no weakness there, he'd had years of practice hiding that kind of thing.
"Oh, it was, don't get me wrong. Her name was Hilde, just your average college student heading for an average life until she got her ass bit."
"Like I said. In the end, I come for everyone. Including your parents. Now, normally I don't say a word about plagues, they're totally natural and they keep me in business like you wouldn't fucking believe. But this one, this is someone muckin' around where they shouldn't be muckin'. And you, Heero Yuy, are the kind of guy that can make my life – such as it is – a fair sight easier, which is why I'm sitting in this pretty little meatsuit in a rundown bar hustling the cash from broken-down hunters."
"Why should I help you?"
Maxwell rolled his eyes. "If you need me to actually answer that, then you really don't deserve that reputation for being such a damn good hunter."
Heero glanced around the bar once more, seeing the money passing hands as the pool games went on, Ellen discussing something in a low tone with one of those insane Winchester boys, the general buzz of human life that had somehow managed to survive thus far. Draining his glass, he stood, rolled his shoulders, and followed the reaper out of the bar.