author: 0083
genre: AU
pairings: 1x2, 3x4
warnings: angst of the relationship kind.
notes: who knows why i made duo so screwed in the head? but the fact is, i will make it right one day.
disclaimer: gw is not mine.

Special + Part 9

-The Eighth Encounter-

Have you ever had one of those weeks where work turns into a monster with large teeth and vicious claws that dig into you to eat you alive? If you have, you understand just about where I am.

The talk, the look, the smile I had from Heero that early Sunday morning had given me an airy feeling of floating for all of Sunday. I had come into work on Monday with that same feeling, smiling like a loon and making my secretary worry that I was on some sort of hallucinogenic drug. I had sat down at my desk at seven in the morning on a Monday ,for the love of god, feeling happy.

Then the world decided to conspire against me.

First, there was a case that chose that exact time on a Monday to shed its skin from being moderately easy to next to impossible. Then there was the meeting on Tuesday that turned my working day from nine hours of purgatory to fourteen hours of unadulterated hell. Hell, it seems, does exist on earth and I am in the painful process of wading through it.

And it's Friday already. All week, I had gotten calls at one in the afternoon from Heero, suggesting that we go out for lunch and talk. Each and every time, I had to apologize and turn him down in favor of keeping my current mode of employment. He understood, of course, and even sympathized with me since he could see how work could become the focal point of one's life even when one did not wish it.

Suffice to say, I have not seen Heero since Sunday morning and I was feeling a bit irked by that.

Heero wasn't the only one calling and asking for my presence at lunch or dinner or whatever meal people ate. Quatre called, Trowa called, Wufei and his adorable wife Meiran called. Like Heero, I had to decline all their offers for company and they had all understood. But it did not phase them from trying on a daily basis to rescue me from my impromptu hell.

So comes today, Friday. It is usually the last day of the work week when I could kick back and relax. Not this Friday, though. It seems that my work has piled up even higher somehow, defying all logic of physics and sanity. I was looking at an all nighter and perhaps even an all-weekender.

I wish, not for the first time, that I could just tell my clients to plead guilty and go to jail like happy little criminals that they were.

Eight o'clock on Friday. I know for a fact that my friends are all out on the town, probably having a great time and drinking my favorite mixes. They had called earlier to invite me out, but again, I had to tell them that I was buried in work. They had sighed, called my clients and bosses unpleasant names that even I won't repeat, and then had told me where they would be if I happened to finish my work by some miracle.

However, I was still at work. My secretary had gone home, all the paralegals had shot out of the building as soon as the clock hit six and my bosses were either at their beach house or boinking their respective mistresses in some expensive hotel. Yet here I am, still hard at work, not eating, not moving, not doing anything that was not work related.

Around nine, my cell rang and I had to dig around my paper cluttered desk to locate it. The caller I.D. flashed 'Heero' back at me happily and I decided that five minutes of break time to talk to Heero was well deserved, if not necessary.

"Heero," I breathed as soon as I picked up, "you have no idea how good it is to hear from you."

"Is that so," Heero replied, an unseen smile lacing his voice, "then I suppose you are still at work. How goes it?"

"Terrible! I have so much work that I'm going to end up spending the night in my office. Some Friday, huh?"

We fell into an easy rapport, our conversation relaxed and friendly. We had not laid eyes on each other since Sunday last, but I think for me, that made the talking easier. After all, over the phone, I wasn't held in a spell cast by his strangely intense eyes. Not that I minded his eyes, not at all, but I like to think clearly somewhat when I'm talking to someone.

Heero told me that he had just finished with his last patient of the day, a hard case of intractable repressed memories and some such. I listened with great interest, nearly forgetting about my enormous work load, just enjoying the way he told a story that could have been boring. I chuckled when he pitched his voice higher than normal to pretend that he was his anal-retentive secretary telling him to get some lunch or she'd quit. I laughed outright when he then related a story of his secretary's odd obsession with his nutritional intake.

What I had intended as a pleasant five minute break turned itself into forty minutes before I knew anything had happened. All I know is that I looked at my watch, gasped, cursed and told Heero I had to go back to work.

He said bye to me in a low tone, conveying that he was disappointed but that he understood. I was reluctant as well to hang up, but the harsh mistress of work was calling me back into her thorny embrace.

My eyes started to blur a tad when eleven o'clock came around, reminding me of how tired I was. My stomach grumbled in unison with my throbbing eyes, telling me on no uncertain terms that if I didn't eat, it would start to digest the nearest organ for nutrition. Since the nearest organ to my stomach happened to be my liver which I depend on for life and joy, I decided that I should raid the vending machines for food.

I stood to appease my stomach and sighed a deep one. I had intended to spend time with Heero this weekend, I really had. I was also going to tell my friends about the beautiful and eerie thing happening to me and Heero. I had labeled this weekend as the confessions weekend for I was going to admit my blossoming feelings to Heero as well as my friends.

Plans shot to hell, I should really be getting used to that.

I was nearly at the door to my office when there was a knock on the other side. It was firm, the staccato of it spaced evenly and perfectly. I almost knew who it was, but even so, when I opened the door and it revealed Heero, I was still surprised and my heart beat faster.

Yeah, I must be getting it bad. Whatever the 'it' was or whether or not it was truly bad, I had yet to determine.

"Hi."

Heero's greeting was simple yet it lifted my spirits a ton. He was really there, standing right in front of me in his slightly wrinkled suit and his hands holding.. a bag from a deli.

He brought me dinner.

I usher him into my office, taking the bag from him and rummaging around to see what he had brought me to eat. I don't think I'd have cared if the bag had been filled with monkey brains on toasted rye because it had been so damned thoughtful of him. He sat on the couch usually reserved for clients and other associates of mine, looking at me bemusedly as I slowly took the seat across from him.

"Wow, Heero, this is so great, I mean, here you are, here I am, there is food.."

I continue to babble over how great it all is and realize that I should give up the small hope I had of my voice and my brain working in tandem in Heero's presence. It didn't matter though because Heero didn't seem to mind that I was going off on a babbling spree.

"You sounded so tired on the phone and I wanted to see you.. so, here I am and I brought gifts."

There is that saying that a way to man's heart is through his stomach. I will believe that one whole-heartedly at this moment in lieu of my other clichéd motto that a way to man's heart is between the third and fourth ribs. The deli sandwiches were not gourmet nor expensive, but I think as gifts go, it was probably one of the best.

Right behind Heero's wanted presence, of course.

I took out a sandwich and a soda from the bag and started unwrapping before I saw that Heero was still staring at me. I'm one of those people who can't eat very well when someone's staring, so instead of taking a wanted bite, I focus on Heero.

"What?"

"Nothing," Heero replied, a slight blush staining his cheeks, "it's just that.. I know it has been only a week.. I know I haven't known you that long.. well.."

I raise an eyebrow. I guess the condition of babbling uncontrollably was not a disease relegated solely to me. Who knew that Heero could do it as well?

"Yes?" I prompt him helpfully.

"I missed you."

It was a sentence comprised of three much used words. First came the subject 'I' which signified Heero. Then came the verb 'missed' which had meanings that ranged far and wide, anything from a sense of deep loss to a need to see someone. Finally, the sentence ended with the object 'you.' As in Duo Maxwell who was holding the sandwich with enough force to dent the delicately toasted bread.

"Oh."

On the heels of my pleasant surprise is warmth. A soft, glowing kind of warmth that seem to make the edges of reality blur.

Heero smiles at me once again and takes a sandwich for himself as well. We eat without saying anything, the silence broken only by eating noises. It wasn't a comfortable silence, but it was.. nice. Lovely.

It is a Friday night. I have a mountain of work begging for my attention on my desk, deadlines breathing down my neck and I'm still in my office. But now, it doesn't seem so bleak because there is an intruder of the most unexpected kind in my office sharing a sandwich and a soda with me.

After we were done eating, Heero picked up the garbage, tossed them into the bag and left my office with a gently whispered promise to see me soon and I went back to work. Unfortunately, paying attention to it was rather hard because I couldn't shake loose the thought that had lodged itself in my head as soon as Heero had left.

I think, just maybe, that my project of being special is merging itself with another interest that entered my life just as swiftly and unexpectedly.

I believe that Heero might be the one who could fulfill my goals. He could be the answer to my search. He already thought I was special, so what did I have to lose in believing that he is the one I've been looking for?

The answer comes to me in a moment of terrible clarity and I shrink back from the enormity of it. If Heero was my answer.. if he was the one I've been seeking.. if he was the person who would make me feel special.. then I'd be risking the one thing that I thought I never had to put in the line of fire.

That pesky thing I have called my heart.

Why hadn't I considered what I could lose when I started the damn project? Why didn't I realize that when I found someone that I deemed special that I'd be at the risk of being.. hurt? Why couldn't I see that Heero had the potential to break me before I realized what he could become to me?

I don't know those answers, but I do know one thing for certain now. I know, without a doubt, that being special isn't all about gentleness, love and cuddly moments. It is also about being hurt, feeling pain and loss of one's heart.

I am truly scared.

Knowing that, knowing myself as I do.. there is only one option left to me.

I must abandon my project to be special.

And to do that, I must abandon Heero as well.

All of my internal organs lurch when I come to that conclusion, but I ignore it and dive back into my work with renewed fervor.

[part 8] [part 10] [back to 0083's fic]