Plastic 17

Trowa had reappeared in Heero’s living room the next morning, looking, if not exactly healthy, at least a good deal better for the sleep he’d gotten. He didn’t seem much happier, though; evidently yesterday’s research hadn’t accomplished much.

“Breakfast?” Hero offered as he got the coffee started. Today he’d made sure to dress before emerging so that, if Duo distracted him again, he could at least dash out the door the moment he realized it had happened.

Trowa looked at him a little blankly, as if he’d forgotten what ‘breakfast’ meant, and Heero was half-hoping he would decline the offer. Heero didn’t make bad money, but it would probably put a strain on his budget if he had to start feeding someone else full time. He’d pretty much only offered because he was attempting to keep jealousy from marring his treatment of Trowa.

Yes, you want breakfast, Trowa,” Duo prodded. He was turning out to be something of a nag where Trowa was concerned, and Heero was trying his hardest not to find this adorable. “I’d like some breakfast too, thanks, Heero,” he went on, “but only if you hand-feed it to me while I recline on a silken divan and Quatre fans me with one of those big leaves.”

“You want me to hand-spoon cereal onto your head?” Heero wondered dryly. Not giving Duo a chance to answer he said to Trowa, “I have honey Cheerios or Frosted Flakes, or toast, or maybe–” he glanced into the freezer– “yeah, toaster waffles.”

“Oh, and dancing girls,” put in Duo. “I want dancing girls too.”

“Toast sounds perfect, thank you,” Trowa said.

“What do you want on it?” Heero asked as he put the bread into the toaster and then looked for his own breakfast.

“And live music,” Duo continued. “From Spain, maybe.”

“Just butter, if you have it,” said Trowa.

Heero poured himself a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal and, leaning against the counter, simultaneously watched the toaster and began to eat.

“And I want a swimming pool of SG-1 boxed sets to swim in, and, Heero, you are so not listening to me.”

With a slight laugh Heero turned to deal with the toast. “No, I’m taking careful notes,” he assured Duo. “Trowa, do you want coffee?”

“No, thank you.”

“You know what you could get me, though?” Duo said next. “Some real clothes. Not that you haven’t done a great job with the paper towel, but it isn’t very sturdy, and I don’t really think it goes with my fabulous hair.”

Despite the frivolity of this word-choice, Heero got the feeling Duo was serious about this request. It seemed strange on the surface, but he supposed it made sense, really; a lack of proper clothing was probably just one more way for Duo to feel less like a person and more like an object. Heero wished he’d thought of it without having to be asked. As he came out of the kitchen to the couch, bringing Trowa his butter toast on a plate, “I’ll see what I can do,” he said.

On and off throughout his nine hours (including lunch) he pondered this issue, and by the end of the shift had decided that he wouldn’t go home again without clothes for Duo. As he wasn’t entirely certain where one went to buy doll clothes, he waited for Quatre to finish being a workaholic for the day so he could ask him.

“Wal-Mart?” Quatre suggested with a tilt of his brows. “Why did you expect me to know this?”

“You have more sisters than I do.”

Quatre gave him a skeptical look. “Well, we’ll try Wal-Mart.”

In the back of his head Heero had always been aware of the existence of that all-pink aisle that seemed to be found in every Wal-Mart in the country; even just walking past the toy section it was impossible to miss. He hadn’t really given it much thought, however; if he had, he probably would have decided he never, never wanted to go there. But here he was entering the headachey lane of brightly colored doom, half determined and half embarrassed out of his wits.

“So I guess this is it,” Quatre was saying as they looked around somewhat helplessly at the aisle’s unfamiliar products and one other shopper. The latter, a little red-headed girl, had obviously been watching them since they stumbled into her territory, but was pretending she hadn’t.

Heero nodded, feeling increasingly out of place with each moment that passed and trying to get his eyes to focus on something — anything — on the racks in front of him.

“I feel like I’ve accidentally walked into the ladies’ room,” Quatre murmured. And it did feel very much like that… they weren’t welcome here.

“There aren’t any Barbies in the ladies’ room,” the little girl said, sotto voce and disdainful.

“They’re all staring at me,” Heero muttered, having got his eyes to focus and not liking it much. They just hung there in their boxes, unmoving, identical, and looming.

“They’re just dolls,” the red-headed girl replied, again under her breath but a bit louder this time.

“This was a bad idea,” said Quatre, seeming to shrink into himself as if to get as far from either side of the aisle as he could. “We should never have come here.”

“Duhh,” said the little girl.

Heero looked desperately from one blank, vapidly-smiling face to another, feeling as if he was going colorblind. “They’re all female…”

“The Kens are over here.” The red-headed girl was now speaking at a normal volume, still utterly contemptuous, and pointing to a spot on the shelf a little further down. Wordlessly, hesitantly, Heero and Quatre approached to look where she indicated.

Seeing that here was, indeed, what they sought went a long way toward lifting the glamour of terror and inadequacy that had fallen over them the moment they set foot in this alien world. But as Heero stared at the single Ken outfit for sale — some type of powder-blue polo-like affair with a grey-and-white sweater-vest attached and matching blue loafers — he felt with sinking heart that this whole dreadful experience might have been a dreadful waste of time.

Quatre reached for the outfit, but Heero stopped him with the stony announcement, “I can’t see him wearing that.”

Quatre seemed glad to pull his hand back empty, but he did protest, “It’s the only one.”

“Well, the dolls have to come with clothes on…” Heero crouched, putting himself face-to-face with the only actual Ken the store seemed to have. The doll stood stiffly, grinning foolishly, in a narrow box that looked for all the world like a pink coffin. If Heero hadn’t already gotten past his disbelief that Duo had once been human, this might have done something to convince him; there was a frightening soullessness to Ken’s eyes that was, thank god, entirely absent in Duo. Also, he was wearing a pink suit coat.

“No,” said Heero.

“You notice he doesn’t even rate an actual tie…” Quatre remarked in a hushed voice, horrified and fascinated. And, indeed, the purple tie adorning Ken’s chest was painted onto a shirt-front that Heero didn’t think was even a separate piece from the jacket. He imagined taking this monstrosity home to Duo, shuddered, and pulled out his cell phone looking for Mapquest.

“You should go online,” the little girl was advising. “There’s a much better selection there.”

“We kinda wanted it right away,” Quatre explained.

Heero wasn’t looking, but he could almost hear the expression the girl was giving them both.

“It’s for a birthday tomorrow,” said Quatre weakly. It wasn’t like him to make up pathetic excuses; moreover, there was a wariness to his words that sounded like it could blossom into panic at any moment. Clearly the aisle was getting to him.

“You’d be better off getting a Barbie horse or something,” the little red-head replied wisely, though there was still a hint of suspicion in her voice. “Nobody cares what Ken wears.”

“But…” Quatre faltered.

“Come on,” Heero declared, not entirely free of panic himself but with a brief thrill of triumph as he found what he was looking for. “There’s a Toys’R’Us on 32nd street.”

Previous (Part 16) | Chapter Index | Next (Part 18)

19 thoughts on “Plastic 17

  1. that was wonderful – the best description of grown men shopping for girls dolls i have ever read. i’ve witnessed this and you portrayed it perfectly. i almost wish you could write them buying tampons or something too. and when the little girl said no one cares what ken wears i was so amused.

    1. Thank you, thank you! I thought the idea of Heero and Quatre cowering in the Barbie aisle at Wal-Mart with a little girl lording it over them was pretty hilarious. Tampons would probably be easier, but that might be funny too :D

  2. awwww, Duo’s such a (truly for want of a better word) cutie! I was kind of wondering how long he’d have to be a super trooper in his paper towel. maybe it could get splashed on or something in the changing process (not that Heero hasn’t had an eyeful already, but *now* he’s got a *thing* for Duo).

    And two men perusing the Barbie aisle. Lack of clothing issues aside, I think a more pertinent issue might be lack of gene pool choices for Barbie and her friends!

    1. Well, the changing process will definitely involve removing the paper towel.

      My friend and I go down the Barbie aisle every not-infrequent time we’re in Wal-Mart, and we decide which of the Barbies are lesbian with each other. So the gene pool is not a subject of concern :D :D :D

  3. haha OMG Wal-Mart! They hit Wal-Mart to get Duo clothes. Poor Quatre and Heero having to put up with the barbie section…and only have one selection of Ken’s outfit -snerks-
    That was amusing!
    Thanks for the update! =D

          1. haha! I did too XD Was freaking hilarious! I loved the subtle flirting/sexual stuff with Barbie and Ken…and yes. Indeed Buzz and Woody (seriously?) were even gayer XD

            1. I loved that Ken had so many traits that are stereotypically associated with gay men, but he was in a het relationship. It’s always so nice to see the tropes undermined. And Buzz and Woody (I know, right? XD), seriously! It was played for humor, but Buzz kissed him… and that part where Buzz reached out to hold Woody’s hand, and it was played up all dramatic and meaningful? Oh, man. After I saw that movie, I came straight home to look up fanfiction about those two.

              1. ahahaha I know OMG that was freaking hilarious. And then when he was having fun with all of his clothing. Oh gawds -snickers-
                I think my favorite part was when Buzz was in “Spanish mode” OMG HILARIOUS! XD
                haha So I’m assuming there’s a butt load of fanfiction then? XD

                1. There’s not a huge amount of fic (or at least there wasn’t the last time I looked), but one I found that I particularly liked was The New Normal by Kayt; very sweet. Seriously, though, that movie made me ship those two so hard that I was tempted to write fic. My off-fandom stories almost never get finished, however, so I restrained myself XD

                  1. Awww sadness. haha I’m sure that not many people are going to want to write fanfiction about toy dolls in a Disney movie o_O

                    I mean…it’s not like Gundam Wing is even close to that XD

  4. You actually have me feeling so sorry for poor Ken. No doll should have a choice between only those two outfits.

    I love the way Heero kept from laughing when Duo was being so cute with his requests. I don’t think I could have held back. :-)

    1. Yeah, Ken definitely gets the short end of the stick in the Barbie universe, poor guy.

      I think Heero was probably a little stiffer than he otherwise would have been because Trowa was there. But you know he’ll remember Duo’s adorableness forever and dwell on it in secret :D

  5. Omg, this part is too hilarious. I was snickering all over from the breakfast conversation wherein Duo flirts his way over Heero’s head XDD to the part where Heero and Quatre are buying doll clothes for Duo. I’m actually laughing at the scene where they’re horrified about the clothing selection of dolls and the little OC girl’s interjecting comments. *diesdiesdies*

    1. I’m glad you found it hilarious, because it was supposed to be! And I’ll tell you a secret! Secretly, the little girl isn’t an OC at all… but, shhhh, don’t tell anyone! ;D

        1. Yes, it totally is :D :D This isn’t at all important to the story, which was why I didn’t go into detail about her, but we’ll be able to see it clearly once I get to draw an illustration for this part :D!

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