Genre: Action, Drama, Humour (some)
Pairings: 1x5, others tba
Warnings: Violence, language, sex, adult situations
Spoilers: Yes, quite a lot for end of series (no EW though)
Feedback: Please! Particularly what you like/don't like about the fic.
Disclaimer:Gundam Wing belongs to its owners (Bandai, Sunset, and a whole
host of others, none of which are me) and I'm not making any money off
of them. Not a single peanut.
AN: Some people were wondering when this relationship was going to deepen
already! Well, in that last chapter, I tried to show you a moment in time
of stability in the arrangement and the partners' lives. Being who they
are, the state of affairs of last chapter could have gone on until their
retirement, without any change in their relationship. You don't see it?
Well, remember these are two war-scarred, teenage guys with a lot
of emotional baggage and the communication abilities of ten-day-old roadkill.
Think about it...But fortunately, fate (as personified by this evil, meddling
author) will not let them stay in their comfortable rut and will drag
them out, kicking and screaming (and shooting and swearing and bleeding).
Ready for the ride?
AN2: I'm normally not this chatty...but a word on languages. I'm assuming
English - or a very bastardized version thereof - is the international
language of the future. Now don't squawk! I'm half-French, I have my reservations
about this too, but seeing how polyvalent and adaptable English is - and
how it's being integrated into other languages at an alarming rate - I
think it's a workable assumption. Plus I write in English so it makes
things easier for me. I'm assuming other languages are still kept up,
more or less, as local dialects, something you'd speak at home or among
friends of the same nationality. Hence the conversations are peppered
throughout Arrangement with Japanese, French, German, Chinese and so on,
though I don't let it proliferate. Yes, there is method behind my madness...
Arrangement + Chapter 17
War Wounds, Part I
“The lotus root may be severed, but its fibered threads are still connected”
Wufei shook himself. A splatter of water against the curtain sounded like
a drum, a counterpoint to the trickle still dribbling from the shower
head. He wiped his eyes and reached out blindly for a towel. It landed
in his hand before he got as far as the rack.
"Thanks." He grunted. There was a muffled 'Hn' from his partner and the
sound of a toothbrush resuming its work.
The towels were decadently soft and fluffy. Much better than the rather
coarse ones they had back in their own small bathroom. Wufei rubbed the
water clear of his face and found himself looking at an equally fluffy
white bathrobe that sent all the alarm bells ringing in his mind.
"Are you sure this room is being paid for by the Minister's lot?"
"Yes." Heero said through toothpaste before grabbing a glass - a real
glass, not the plastic tumbler they had back at the house - to rinse.
"You'd better be right. Or Anthea will be going after our respective balls
with a blunt spoon."
"Do you even know how much a room like this cost at a five-star hotel
like this? Especially here, in Berlin central?"
Heero shrugged in complete indifference. Wufei rolled his eyes, slipped
on the bathrobe and went to get his gear from the cupboard. He glanced
at the clock in passing. 5 AM. They had to be down in thirty minutes to
review the last security details.
Wufei put his uniform on the bed, glaring distastefully at the tie. This
would be the first time he actually wore the thing. He slipped the bathrobe
from his shoulders, shivering a bit in the cool air. The room was old
and elegant and seemed to stare at his nudity with a maiden aunt’s disapproval.
Wufei's eyes trailed over the walls decorated with woven satiny wallpaper,
solid, expensive furniture, two double-beds. The latter at a respectable
distance apart, fortunately for the sake of two very light sleepers. The
sheets had been thick and soft, the mattress too, a bit too much so -
Wufei stretched after slipping on and belting his pants, trying to work
out a kink. He slipped his shirt over his shoulders and buttoned it up
quickly, leaving the uniform jacket to one side for now.
Heero walked out of the bathroom; he hadn't even bothered with the second
"Hurry up; Sanderson will have commandeered some food from the kitchen
for us." Wufei told him. Heero went to get his own uniform in the cupboard,
still without a word. Wufei's partner was never a chatterbox but this
was unusual even by his standards. He shrugged mentally and put his carrier
case on the bed, flicking it open with a practiced snap. He slipped on
the shoulder holster and buckled it over his shirt, toyed with the tie.
It wouldn't be very visible under a flak jacket, maybe he could skip it...
Heero grumbled indistinctly and Wufei glanced over. His partner was over
by his bed fastening his pants, which, even to Wufei's eyes, looked a
"Not worn your uniform in awhile, have you." He commented dryly. Heero
Wufei let his eyes roam over the familiar body. They had both grown in
the past few months, now that they were no longer fettered by the chains
of war. These days, they had the chance to rest well, eat well - mainly
thanks to Wufei who actually believed in vitamins that didn't come in
a tube - and exercise well without straining themselves or being continuously
injured. Their bodies were catching up for lost time, rushing towards
a slightly delayed adulthood. Since the war Heero had grown a couple of
inches, and his daily regimen of exercise, in conjunction with the aforementioned
food and rest, meant that his muscles were finally having a chance to
bulk out a bit. He was never going to be built like a door, in fact to
the casual eye he still looked rather slender, but a pro could easily
spot the growing muscles running through his arms, his thighs, his abdomen
now circled a bit too tightly by his uniform pants. He was due to go up
another size in clothing.
Wufei passed hands down his own chest after he tightened his holster,
smoothing his shirt and tucking it into his belt. He was growing too,
but it looked like he might have inherited his father's build; short,
tough and wiry rather than muscular. Well, considering how he'd been able
to sneak through a broken air-duct two weeks back to get around Mad Mundson
before he blew them all to Hell in little bits, it was probably a good
thing...He hoped Heero wouldn’t grow much taller than him...though he
couldn’t really imagine either of them as adults...as usual, the ‘future’
was the end of this mission and the start of the next.
A rap at the door made him pause as he was about to get his semi-automatic
from the case. Heero frowned at him, puzzled, then put his back to the
wall out of line of shot of the doorway - the soldier's paranoia was still
as healthy as the rest of him - and asked, loudly: "Yes?" His fingers
gripped the gun he'd kept under the thick hotel pillow. Wufei shook his
head derisively, not for the first time; his partner seemed unable to
sleep without that frickin’ Glock in the bed with him. Pa-ra-noid. Not
like Wufei, who kept his Luger on the bedside table like a reasonable
Wufei and Heero exchanged puzzled glances. "We didn't order anything."
"Says here, room 1045. Continental deluxe for two." The voice was muffled
by the door but sounded honest.
The partners exchanged another look then Heero snapped: "It's a mistake.
Take it away."
"Oh...sorry to have bothered you, sir." They heard the wheels of a trolley
Heero took two quick steps to his laptop sitting on a table by his bed
and flicked the mouse to get rid of the screensaver - still the same dancing
scythe Maxwell had installed ages ago. Apparently Maxwell had implanted
a virus in Spacenet that sought out Heero's email and IP as soon as he
contacted the database the pilots used to keep track of each other, and
installed the screensaver on whatever machine Heero was using. Wufei thought
it a rather extravagant effort to go through for so little but it was
somehow typical of their strange colleague.
"Yuy, it was just a mistake. Forget about it." He muttered before Heero
could break into the hotel's computer system to see where that breakfast
had come from.
Heero hesitated then turned back to the bed to fit on his tie. He had
a first-class scowl on his face. Wufei watched him carefully.
He thought Heero would ignore him...then his partner scrubbed a hand through
his messy bangs.
"I don't like these missions." He grumbled.
Wufei fumbled the charger he'd been checking. Heero didn't often express
a like or dislike. Saying something like that about a mission...Wufei
felt like drawing the curtains back to see if the sun was rising in the
West this morning.
"They're boring...and they make me tense." Heero snapped, tightening his
tie with a jerk.
"Yuy..." Wufei fished around, trying to figure this one out. "Not two
weeks ago we were in an L2 slum, where even the rats would have mugged
us for our shoe-laces, tracking down an insane bomber with four K's of
semtex derivative and a death wish. Are you saying that watching a bunch
of politicians fuss around is more stressful than that? I'll concede the
boring." He added.
"Yes. The problem is, we had license to shoot Mundson, while we have to
protect these VIPs.”
“I’m glad you’ve mastered that distinction.”
“Don’t you start...Politicians seem unable to follow even basic safety
procedures; the fools break away to speak to reporters, to shake hands
with members of the public, they always want low profile security and
a full room and they talk way too much."
"Well, yes, they-"
A knock on the door again, much softer than the first. Wufei and Heero
stared at each other and even Wufei reached for the Luger this time.
"Yes?" Heero was back in his previous position, where a shot through the
door wouldn't nail him.
There were three thunderous seconds of silence and then Wufei tossed the
Luger down with a snort while Heero went to wrench the door open, after
darting his palm over the spy-hole through force of habit.
"Relena? What the hell are you doing h- where's your escort?!"
"Escort?" The soft voice turned into a squeak and there was a rustle of
skirt. Wufei imagined his partner jerking the Minister inside. "I left
them by my door. This floor has security."
"Only standard hotel security, Relena!" Heero snapped. "They have waiters
and maids wandering all over the place!"
"Uh, those are hotel staff." Relena appeared, propelled forward by a firm
hand on her elbow, talking to Heero over her shoulder. "I'm sure they're
not-" her words ended in a hiccup as she looked around and spotted Wufei.
"Minister." He rose and gave a minimal bow - the stupid woman was a VIP
and he had to behave accordingly. When she did nothing more than stare
at him with her mouth open he sat back down and continued dismantling
and checking the semi.
"Who-..." Relena cleared her throat and her voice was a lot more sophisticated,
though still slightly off-pitch. "Erm, Heero? Could you introduce us?"
Heero had dropped his gun on his bed and shrugged on his uniform jacket.
"This is Chang Wufei, my partner."
"Oh. Oh right! Yes, I remember Lady Une mentioning him." Relena made it
clear from her tone that she had not expected the partner to end up in
the room she'd set aside for Heero. Wufei saw her eyes flash over the
two beds. The two unmade beds. She visibly relaxed while he found himself
tensing. Great, great start to the day.
"My, you're awfully young to be a Preventer." Relena said, and the Darlian
charm was finally recovering from its shock; the smile she gave him was
sweet and winning. Of course, what she'd just said wasn't going to win
her any points. Out of the corner of his eye Wufei saw Heero scowl briefly
as he stuffed his Glock in its back holster.
"We were never actually introduced, but I was the pilot of the Gundam
05, Shenlong." Wufei informed her.
"Oh!" Relena pinked, but then the smile that followed was more genuine.
"I'm sorry, I didn't recognize you. I should have, we did see each other
on MO2, very briefly. We owe you so much. I am sorry."
She looked at him; Wufei found himself on the edge of fidgeting.
She was gazing at him, Chang Wufei, as if he was the savior of the human
race instead of a hound of battle and a multiple murderer. Wufei wanted
to drop the semi and stand up and well, do something - preferably leave.
She wasn't unpleasant - actually now that he looked at her up close instead
of through news print he realized she was rather pretty - but the way
she was looking at him made him fundamentally uneasy, as if he was passing
himself off as something he was not.
The cornflower blue eyes turned towards their primary target. Wufei nearly
breathed out in relief, and felt a slight pinch of compassion for the
subtle tensing that only he would notice in Heero's shoulders as his partner
became the recipient of that intense gaze. He suddenly began to understand
why Heero could want to protect Relena with his life, fight a war for
her, but not want to spend more than a few hours in her company, however
nice and honestly friendly she was trying to be.
"Did you find the hotel room comfortable, Heero? Did you sleep well? I
heard you got in late last night."
Heero shrugged. This didn't seem to discourage her. Well, she was used
to it. "I got up early this morning hoping to see you. We've not had an
occasion to chat for months! Er...how have you been?"
Wufei caught her gaze flicking over the room as if looking for something
and he put it together. No longer caught by the spotlight of her eyes,
he felt a tiny surge of his usual cold temper - resenting the moment of
discomfort he'd experienced. This woman should know better than to try
to distract Yuy! Not only was that impossible, but he was also the head
of the close security team that were reinforcing her regular bodyguards
on this visit, after the very precise death-threat she'd received. Distracting
him was not advisable.
"I apologize, Minister." He said coolly and Relena started a bit as she
glanced back at him, his presence had apparently been forgotten. "We sent
"W-what?" Relena pinked a bit again. Heero hadn't caught on yet, he was
staring at Wufei, visibly puzzled.
"The breakfast. For two." Wufei said for his partner's benefit though
he continued to address the Minister. "We didn't know it was from you.
We sent it back."
"Oh...oh that's okay." Relena was downright flushed now.
"Relena did you send that?" Heero snapped. Relena turned back to him but,
to her credit, didn't flinch or fall back. Wufei knew grown men who would
dive for cover at that tone of voice from Heero. Well, Relena was probably
used to that too. "You should know better. We would never eat anything
that had been taken up to us unsupervised."
To us? Oh wake up and smell the coffee we sent back, Yuy. It wasn't 'for
us', it was for you two. Oh well, he'll figure it out...eventually...Wufei
tuned out the excuses and the harsh explanations on security and such
that followed, checking his barrel and putting his semi back together
again with a quick and practiced movement. Relena's eyes kept darting
towards the assembling weapon. If the rebirth of a gun was making the
Peace proponent nervous, Wufei realized he could live with that. Besides,
they really needed to get ready.
Heero knew it too. He interrupted Relena mid-sentence by grabbing her
elbow again and hauling her to the door. "Chang, I'm walking the Minister
back to her suite, be ready in five minutes."
"I'm ready now, Yuy." Wufei drawled. That got him a scowl too, then, with
a last distressed squeak, Relena was pulled through the door and Wufei
Heero had been right; this was boring, Wufei reflected, yet also stressful.
Wufei had a better grasp of the politicians' thought process than his
partner did; he realized that a death-threat was a distant thing, something
that would follow them most of their career, whereas a photo opportunity
with the charming, photogenic Minister Darlian was a much more immediate
concern. It didn't help him be any more patient than Heero when some idiot
tried to drag Relena near the window to get a better light for the picture,
or had a genteel argument about changing his seat at the last minute because
there was a breeze, or some fan broke through the security cordon for
an autograph, not to mention the press's shenanigans. He could almost
feel the tension radiating from his partner. If Heero had his way, the
open debate and conference on the final abolition of world-wide frontiers
would be held in a bunker, with the representatives in bullet-proof glass
aquariums, and the guests listening to the speeches lying flat on their
stomachs with their hands on their heads.
Sanderson and Tomoka nodded to them as they took their place on the other
side of the low stage, giving him and Heero a ten-minute break. The partners
cast one last look around the large, elegant hotel conference room before
slipping into the wings. Waiters were moving among the tables with chilled
water and fruit juice, and clearing up the breakfast buffet. A piano had
been shoved off to one side of the stage and covered. Relena was at the
speaker's podium talking about something or other - Wufei had quickly
tuned her out for the sake of his own sanity; he might believe in peace
now, but as one who regularly shed his blood and shot people to defend
it, the asinine generalities were giving him a headache.
He shrugged his flak jacket, trying to ease the rub at his neck, and put
the bottle of water from his pack against his forehead briefly. It was
hot in the conference room under the spots, if you were wearing a uniform
and protective gear. He offered the bottle to Heero who shook his head
without glancing at it.
"Let's go to the lounge.” Wufei said after taking a drink. “I want to
fill this up while we have the chance."
"So...did she persuade you to go to dinner with her tonight?" Wufei murmured.
This was their break after all, and they were alone. A little sparring
would relax them. Well, it would certainly relax Wufei.
Heero stumbled. "How did you know she asked me to dinner?!"
"I'm psychic." Wufei sneered, keeping his voice low as they passed behind
"I told her no, of course, but she insisted and said she'd ask me again
later when I was in a better mood." Heero snapped sotto voce. "I don't
know why she keeps doing this. Every time I guarded her previously, before
you came back from University and we started getting proper missions,
it was always the same thing. I always said no and she-" He bit down on
the unusual flow of words as if suddenly annoyed by the whole subject
but Wufei caught a glance out of the corner of Heero's eyes.
Wufei was rather nonplussed. He thought his jab would lead to one of their
little put-down matches, not a confession. If he didn't know better, he'd
think Heero was asking him for his help and advice in the situation, in
his own direct and charming way. Well Wufei had a bit more experience
in this domain than Heero had, having to turn down giddy girls at University,
but he thought Relena was probably a special case. He wasn’t sure she
was after Heero for romantic reasons, though that might be in the mix.
But he thought there was something more...security? Comfort? A link back
to a time that was simpler, where she didn’t have the weight of the world
on her shoulders? The attention of somebody who treated her the same as
he had during the war, well, minus the death-threats? Who wasn’t impressed
by her status, job and reputation?
"I don't know what she expects.” Heero continued grumbling. “She looks
at me like..." He lapsed into silence again. Yeah, I know, Wufei thought
somberly, unable to put the feeling into words as well but knowing exactly
what Heero meant.
"I don't know-"
Wufei's bottle thunked against the floor. He had his semi out the next
Heero had flattened himself against the wall with his own weapon drawn
purely on instinct, but his eyes on Wufei were confused. "What."
"Where's Emmet?" Wufei whispered, edging forward. The Preventer was one
of their team, guarding the entrance to the backstage area of the conference
room. He was not the kind to leave his post for anything unless relieved.
"K'so. Check." Heero turned and headed back toward the conference room
at a silent, deadly run. Wufei poked a cautious head around the corner.
Nothing was out place...at first glance. But Wufei had a very good eye
for detail. He noticed a picture slightly askew on the wall Emmet had
been leaning against when he'd last seen him an hour, ago before the conference
started. No blood but slight signs of a disturbance. And, as he got nearer,
a very slight smell in the air, scorched cloth and burnt hair. A tazer?
Someone had gotten close enough to an old hand like Emmet to take him
out someone whom he would not be immediately suspicious of - hotel staff?!
Wufei had spun on that flash of intuition when a shot rang out. Muffled
screams. Doors being slammed. He ghosted back towards the conference room,
leaned around the corner to the long hallway leading towards the stage.
Heero was crouching at the other end of the hallway, at the room's entrance.
Someone shouted, words indistinct to Wufei. Heero glanced back at him,
one warning look, then stood and, semi pointing towards the ground, stepped
out into the conference room.
Shit! Wufei couldn’t see what was happening but he could imagine...someone
must be threatening the VIPs. As he watched, Heero leaned forward slowly
and slid his semi towards an unseen shooter.
Wufei turned, the hotel blueprint flashing through his mind. The mezzanine.
It was cordoned off. The small nook near the high ceiling to the left
of the stage would give him a good view and a shot. He thrust the semi
back into its thigh holster and ripped open his flack jacket and uniform
to dig out his Luger, preferring its precision to a lethal spread at this
point. It wasn’t regulations to carry it concealed but that had never
stopped him. He knew Heero had his Glock squirreled away as well, though
he doubted his partner could draw it unless Wufei provided a distraction.
The guard - one of Relena's regulars - who had been on the door to the
mezzanine was missing, of course. That left the three Preventers in the
conference room itself, and Heero. All other personnel were positioned
on the ground floor, as the VIPs had insisted they did not want high profile
security. But these were teams who knew what they were doing, they had
the area loosely under surveillance. Damn it all, how had the bastards
Shooter in the mezzanine.
Wufei darted back into the stairwell. The man hadn’t turned. He was dressed
in a waiter's uniform, with a short riffle pointing at the people below.
Wufei leaned back against the wall, took a breath, stuck the Luger in
his belt and drew his boot-knife.
His body remembered; every infiltration, alone against hundreds of armed
and trigger-happy troops. Tread in silence. Move in shadow. Time your
steps to your enemy’s breathing. Erase your presence from his mind. Until
One hand over the mouth; the blade stabbed into the base of the skull.
His knife hand darted away from the hilt to catch the falling riffle.
Wufei let himself fall back loosely, the jerking body toppling onto him
to avoid it rattling against the floor. Warmth of blood on his chest.
A smell he'd never forget and never get used to. A gurgle from the man's
stomach as bowels clenched and then loosened. The body stilled and Wufei
took his hand away from the mouth after he felt the last rattle tickle
Leaning carefully over the edge of the mezzanine, he took in the view
in one glance. Bad. He was opposite the wall where Heero was crouched,
hands in the air, blue eyes flickering over the scene looking for an opening.
Wufei lifted his head once more until Heero spotted him. Sanderson and
Tomoka were on the ground, weapons thrown away. Dupont was lying on the
floor near the main door to the conference room, probably downed by that
earlier shot, in a small pool of blood from somewhere on her body, status
unknown. The civilians were all on the ground, except for a few who'd
been grabbed by the hostiles. He'd counted five. A quick glance confirmed
it. And, most unfortunately, one of them - one of the waiters - was holding
Relena in front of him with a gun to her head.
A flare of absolute anger. Just like OZ with the colonies - threatening
the innocent to disarm the strong - in war, the weak didn't care about
casualties - Heero had self-destructed to protect the colonies back then
- the anger burned bright as he saw his partner made helpless by a cowardly
threat, fed by his worry for Heero and the sixty innocent people in the
room who might get caught in the crossfire; then all emotions were quickly
suppressed by the warrior within.
Wufei bit his lip as the shooter holding Relena came into his sights.
He could nail the guy but...it would be an unacceptable risk to the Minister.
Damn it how-...the waiters had been checked. The other hostiles were dressed
like civilians. How had they gotten weapons past the metal detectors?!
If there were leaks in their own security...he might not be able to rely
"You. Come here."
Wufei glanced over the balustrade again, puzzled. He had crept against
the side of the mezzanine, so he couldn't be seen by any of the hostiles
in the main part of the room; the man on the stage holding Relena was
looking the other way. Another man was near Wufei's position, just below
the mezzanine, holding a journalist to his chest, a gun to the man's jaw,
but he was looking at the stage...it had been Heero they'd said that to.