by Bronze Tigress
Sherbet + Prologue
Prologue: Tuesday afternoon
: An Unusual Conversation
The long, glass-walled corridor on the third floor of the Preventers HeadQuarters
in Sanq is empty except for a lone figure strolling along. At nearly 1500h
on a Tuesday, that's hardly a surprise, given that everyone in both Covert
Ops - at one end of the hallway - and the Anti-Terrorism Squad - at the
other - is normally busy with their own projects at this hour.
//Tuesdays are good. So orderly, compared to the rest of the week. Nice
weather today, too - sunny, and warm for October. Nothing a light jacket
couldn't handle - and this uniform jacket is certainly light enough. What
were they thinking when they picked this fabric for them, anyway? Not
that it needs to be heavier, with the way these wings are set up. I'd
never need to go outside at all if it weren't for cases.// The young man
pauses to look out the window, at the courtyard below, and the back side
of one of the Residential wings on the far side of the grassy area, nearly
squinting to look towards where his own apartment is just out of visual
range behind the buildings.
//Yes, a nice day indeed! Life is good, and... I'm happy. Ancestors! Happy!
Me, able to say I'm happy with my life. Who would have thought
it possible?// A small, slightly incredulous smile breaks over his otherwise
serene face. //Work is good - and working with my friends is even better.
Having friends again is a good thing all on its own. And they
are happy too. Well, Quatre wasn't too happy about us teasing him over
how his voice kept breaking all summer - although that baritone he's settling
at is certainly nice enough to listen to. I think I may have to revise
my estimates on Duo's becoming the tallest of the five of us; the little
blond isn't staying so little. At least he's staying blond!//
Pulling away from the window, the young ATS Agent continues walking slowly
down the hall, a rather dreamy smile beginning to spread over his face.
//Triton's slowly finding his past, and I'm finding a chance to love again.
After everything that happened - losing my wife, my family, my colony...
aiee; after marrying my wife in the first place. That was certainly
an experience... Never, ever would have thought it would be like this,
though; he's not... he. Me, falling for a man.// Wufei shakes
his head slightly as he walks, suppressing an amused snort. //He's not
the easiest person to live with, but he does keep me on my toes - sometimes
a little too literally. I suppose it's a good thing he doesn't mind my
being shorter than him, because it seems we'll be stuck with it. But I
can't remember anything better than Duo Maxwell having ever happened
Dorothy, coming up behind him, is surprised to see the vague and almost
wistful expression on Wufei's usually sober face. It isn't an expression
she would have thought the stern Agent capable of wearing, but it does
give her a bit of hope that she will, in fact, be able to speak with him
on a certain matter. She had been hoping to run into one of Triton's friends.
Not Duo, though - this is, well, a private concern. And not Heero; she
had discovered that his grasp of social interaction was severely limited,
and, well, this is sort of a social problem, she supposes. Certainly,
it's an interaction problem. And to be quite honest, she doesn't want
to run into Quatre again. She never did figure out why everyone thinks
him so charming; she always found him even more lethal than she herself
had been at the peak of her war-mania. No, she had decided, she really
did want to speak to Chang Wufei about this matter. Especially since he
might have some insight that none of the others would. So what if he was
insufferably rude and apparently unapproachable? At least, if she spoke
to him, it was unlikely that anyone else would hear about it. And perhaps,
he isn't so unapproachable after all...
"Excuse me, Agent Chang? Could I speak with you for a moment? I'm so happy
to have run into you like this.."
"Eh?!" Wufei, startled out of his reverie to discover himself no longer
alone, immediately slams down the inert and remote mask he usually employs
for discouraging casual flirtations and annoying interruptions. "What
can I do for you, Miss Catalonia?"
"Oh, well... it's a rather personal thing... if you don't have time it
"I am on break for another seven minutes. What is this about?"
"Ah... You are Triton's friend, yes? I'm not even sure I should be asking
you this, but... I was just..." She trails off, uncertain as to how to
phrase her problem without sounding silly, now.
"I am that. Is there a problem that I should know about?" He is beginning
to become curious. It is not every day that he is approached about one
of his teammates, by one of their girlfriends. Looking about quickly,
he reaches out to take her elbow and steers her towards an empty conference
room at the end of the hallway as he continues walking.
"Ah, I, that is... I don't know? I was hoping you could tell me, actually..."
"Perhaps you had better explain..." He steers her into the first empty
chair, moving around the table to seat himself opposite her, not quite
incidentally placing himself where he can also see down the corridor.
Taking a deep breath, she begins, "Okay... you know we've been going out
for a while now, right? Do you know why? Because I'm beginning to wonder
if it's not some sort of a joke."
"A joke? That seems most unlikely..."
"Well... Maybe I'm asking the wrong thing. He does like girls,
right? I know he seemed awfully close to Quatre at the end of the Eve
Wars, but... he's the one who asked me out first, so
I thought surely... or maybe he's just really shy? I mean, it's been almost
six months and he won't even kiss me... Did he just pick me because he
thought he needed a girlfriend and doesn't want me after all? Or maybe
I'm just doing something wrong, but if so I don't know what..." Dorothy
sounds perilously close to tears by the time she has meandered through
this recitation of her woes.
"I am not entirely certain how to answer that, but I do not believe he
would trifle with your affections, Miss Catalonia. And - I have seen him
kiss you quite frequently."
"Oh. Oh, well... This is so embarrassing. Um, well... you were married,
right? I mean, you must have some experience, with, ah... you
know. That sort of a kiss..."
Wufei blinks, and raises an eyebrow. "You are asking me for bedroom
advice?" He sounds a little bit surprised that anyone would even consider
him as a source of such information, let alone request it of him.
"Ah, not exactly, but... um..."
"Ah. You are encountering difficulties in getting there, then, Miss Catalonia?"
"Er... Please, it's just Dorothy."
"As you wish, then, Dorothy. Have you considered that perhaps he does
not wish to push your relationship to that level?"
"Oh dear... You don't think I'm pushing him, do you?"
Wufei blinks again before answering. "Dorothy. Surely you know that none
of us pilots have had an easy time of adjusting to life after the war,
because of what we each went through before and during it. It is quite
likely that Triton has some issue of his own to resolve before he becomes
that close to you. I have it on very good authority that he loves you,
and it seems you feel the same. It will work out; it just may take some
time, that is all."
"You're sure, Wufei?"
"Life is never sure, Dorothy, but it seems most likely. Trust in your
feelings for him - and his for you. All will be well. Now, come... I still
have a few minutes, and you could probably use some tea." At that, he
stands, takes her elbow, and gently leads her towards the staff cafeteria,
escorting her firmly through the halls with an expression on his face
that speaks of misbehaved children to any passersby.
Wufei guides Dorothy quickly through the empty line at the cafeteria counter,
watching as she places a cup and teapot on her small tray, and suggests
that something to eat might be wise as well. Dorothy pleads a fairly late
lunch, however, and moves off towards the seating area. A quick scan of
the area shows no-one there with whom Wufei would entrust the girl, but
he reasons that she has withstood worse fits of confusion before, and
directs her towards a quiet table at the side. Having seen Dorothy to
a seat, and after assuring her once again that all will be well and enjoining
her not to worry too much about it, Wufei turns smartly on his heel, and
makes quick time back to his office.
When he gets there, his partner is out on an errand that is liable to
take the remainder of the afternoon, according to the note stuck to his
monitor. The brief meeting with Dorothy is odd enough to keep him thinking
about it for the rest of the day, however. As far as he can recollect,
no one has ever asked him a question even remotely like it. He really
hasn't been a contributor to casual office gossip or pillow-talk discussions.
In fact, most people would not approach him for a conversation at all.
That he would be asked for such intimate information, concerning a fellow
pilot? All in all, this has been a most unusual Tuesday afternoon...
[ch. 1] [back to Bronze