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: Thanks to my wonderful beta, Dawna, for time, effort and some excellent
turn of phrases. Any errors remaining are due to my own, frantic, trademark
last minute rewritings before I post and should be wrapped around a brick
and hurled directly at me.
Arrangement + Chapter 21
Cover Stories, Part I
hempen cloth to make gowns.”
Heero's mouth - lips closed, hard, forceful - pressed against his; the
kiss knocked Wufei's head back against the wall. A crime-scene photograph
crinkled as it was crushed beneath his shoulder blades. Heero's body surged
against his in a hands-off caress that would have turned Wufei into a
bonfire...if shock and complete mortification hadn't drenched any kindling
Despite his surprise at the unexpected move - and a rough grip tugging
his thigh up against Heero's leg - he managed to keep his hands on Heero's
shoulders, instead of decking his partner out of instinctive reflex.
Heero released him as suddenly as he'd grabbed him, and turned away abruptly.
"There. No problem. See?" He barked. Wufei braced himself against the
wall, kept his face absolutely neutral with some effort, and turned towards
the desk as if nothing had happened.
Une's face was a picture of incredulous shock, predictably enough; she
looked like she'd caught their Gundams boning each other.
"I...I...," she gasped. "Ah, Agent Yuy, I didn't-...That's not-" Her voice
was pitched higher than usual. She turned away abruptly, two ragged red
spots staining her cheeks, and reached for a glass of water on the side
table. Her hand was shaking slightly.
"That wasn't convincing?" Heero inquired coldly.
"Of course it wasn't, chun zi!" Wufei snarled, violently shoving Heero
out of his personal space. "She said, 'I'm not sure you can pretend you're
boyfriends'. She didn't say 'Throw Chang up against the wall and screw
"What? I didn't- Commander, are you alright?" Heero stopped glaring at
Wufei and went around Une's desk. He looked ready to perform the Heimlich
maneuver. Une had gasped most of the glass of water into her windpipe
at Wufei's words, and she was hacking and coughing. However, she still
had a fighter's instincts, and she was edging away from Heero with her
hands raised protectively at this imminent threat. Wufei moved to her
other side reassuringly and patted her on the back, forestalling Heero's
efforts; he didn't want his annoying partner arrested for breaking every
one of their commanding officer's ribs.
"Here, sit down, Commander. Yuy, get her another glass of water. I apologize
for that, Ma'am. But despite Agent Yuy's...enthusiasm..." the two partners
exchanged a glare that could melt lead, "I can assure you that we are
quite capable of fulfilling this mission."
Please, please, please give us this mission! This wasn't something they
were used to, in fact, under normal circumstances, Wufei would never have
contemplated taking this on, despite the three dead officers. But it had
been a couple of weeks since Heero had decided he'd recovered from his
injuries and was now back up to operational capacity, and, to regain his
full combat abilities, he'd been sparring, no holds barred, against Wufei
on a twice daily basis; the L5 Preventer wasn't sure he'd survive this
fitness program, or his partner's boredom, much longer.
"I...Chang?" Une turned towards him with an almost pleading look in her
reddened, watery eyes. She was still coughing, but trying to speak calmly.
"You realize it isn't just the, ah, that aspect. Right?" Cough. "I mean,
I know you and Yuy will, ah, will-" Cough. "You're willing to do a lot
for a mission, but-" Choke.
"Commander, both Yuy and I have performed some undercover operations during
the war," Wufei said quietly, though he didn't add that most of them had
been very short, and, in at least one case slightly similar to this mission,
had ended up with them breaking their cover barely thirty minutes after
infiltrating the base, and fighting their way out the hard way. But in
this case, they weren't being asked to act like teenage prostitutes. Just
a normal couple.
Quite challenging already, but they should be able to manage it.
Une seemed to read the assurance in his eyes. It went unsaid that Wufei
would be the one counted on to decide what 'normal' was in these circumstances.
He hoped he was up to the task.
Heero set a new glass of water on Une's desk and went to glare at the
display on the wall. They'd been looking at the photographs when Une had
dropped her bombshell of a mission outline - and immediately admitted
her reservations about their ability to pose as a couple. Heero had said
something about it not being an issue. The next thing he knew, Wufei had
been grabbed by one shoulder, spun around and slammed against the evidence
wall...Some of the photographs were askew; Heero righted them, unaffected
by the sight of the executed officers in the shots. Three dead bodies:
two local police officers and a Preventer. Heero frowned at the rest of
the information pinned to a wall. Photographs of the man responsible for
the murders, and his entourage. A floorplan of his huge house, taken from
the colony's building archives; four stories, an underground garage, sixteen
rooms...circled in red, the office where the target computer system lurked,
behind a firewall that had defeated their attempts at hacking it to date.
"If you don't think we're capable of infiltrating the locale, Chang and
I could always break into it." Heero threw over his shoulder, fingers
tapping at various weak points in the mansion's security.
"No." Une sighed, regrouping behind her official persona. When she straightened
up, she was Commander Une again. "No." She said more firmly. "Don't get
me wrong, it would be my choice of approach. Faster, and more likely to
succeed. I don't doubt you'd find enough evidence to get this man convicted.
But there's a chance that you could get caught breaking in, and that would
leave us in a very awkward position. The L3 authorities and the ESUN council
have decreed that discretion is the highest priority on this mission."
Une glanced at them and then shook her head, as if wondering why the hell
she was asking Heero and Wufei to do this.
Wufei rather agreed with her unspoken assessment. He sat down in the chair
in front of her desk, arms crossed over his chest, frowning. "Yuy and
I will do our best, Ma'am, of course, but..."
"I know you're neither of you undercover specialists." Une inserted, guessing
what he was about to say. "In fact, this job was tailor-made for Barton
and Maxwell. Unfortunately, Barton is on another mission that takes highest
priority. And Maxwell is injured."
"What?!" Heero and Wufei exclaimed together. Une blinked in surprise.
"Didn't he tell-"
"How did it happen?" Heero barked, spinning away from the information
pinned to the wall, while Wufei leaned forward and asked: "Is it serious?"
"Calm down, gentlemen. He's got a badly sprained wrist and a mild concussion,
and it didn't happen on the job, so I didn't think I'd be the one telling
you. Though I guess I know why he didn't." Une smirked as if enjoying
a private joke.
"He was fine when he left Brussels two weeks ago-" Wufei started.
"He was on leave at Winner's estate on L4 after his mission here." Une
explained dryly. "Winner, who is normally an eminently rational person,
must have succumbed to a fit of madness and suggested they go horseback
riding. Why he ever assumed Duo had ridden a horse before is beyond me;
if they saw that much meat on the hoof in the colony Maxwell came from,
they'd eat it. But of course Maxwell wasn't going to admit that there
was any kind of ride he couldn't master. Apparently, he went about it
as if riding a horse and piloting a Gundam were roughly on par. The poor
horse managed to throw him or it would have had a cardiac incident, I'm
sure. Winner is the one who called to warn me that Duo would be unable
to take on any missions for awhile. Maxwell is fine and recuperating at
Winner's, but unavailable for at least a few weeks, since it's his gun
hand he managed to sprain."
"Oh." Wufei and Une shared a small grin of wicked amusement at the thought
of the cocky Deathscythe pilot defeated by a horse. Heero just sniffed
and turned back to the far wall with its photographs and floor-plans.
"So the mission parameters are to infiltrate the group of clubbers that
get invited to Exeter's mansion? Get invited repeatedly, become known
to the guards, evade surveillance during those encounters, break into
the office, familiarize ourselves with the system and hack open a landline
access to the system." Heero had obviously dismissed the Horse Incident
as if it had never happened. Maxwell was unavailable, so he'd take the
mission in his stead. Good little soldier, Wufei thought, rubbing his
eyes tiredly. He just doesn't have a clue how hard this is going to be...
"Yes. The two undercover police officers had been working this case for
three months, with that aim in mind. You'll be following in their footsteps.
Well, except for the part where their cover got blown and they were murdered
before they could get into the mansion for their first visit."
"Isn't that enough to bring Exeter in for questioning?"
"We don't really care all that much about Exeter," Une explained wearily.
"It's the information on his system that is our objective. He's Syndicate."
Wufei leaned forward abruptly. Besides him, Heero quickly slipped into
the second chair, concentrating on Une's words.
"He's a financial backer, not a top player. But Exeter has information
on high ranking Syndicate members and their financial dealings. This would
get us up close and personal with the ones we didn't bring down during
the Barton incident."
Heero grunted. Wufei glanced from his partner to Une, catching a troubled
look between them. He'd not been involved in that near-disaster, though
it had been his information that had led to the break-up of the plot.
This had been the mysterious leader who had tried to recruit Wufei after
the war, when he'd been wandering like a ghost, looking for a cause. The
name he'd given Heero that day, after destroying Nataku and leaving for
university, had led the Preventers to an L3 businessman by the name of
Dekim Barton; the man who'd financed Heavyarms, as it turned out. Heero
had given Wufei a curt outline of what had happened last December: Barton
- their Barton - had infiltrated Dekim's operation, and gotten the Preventers
enough ammunition to bring the man and his army down. All four of the
active Gundam pilots had been involved in this - Wufei had been rather
put out by that information, he'd not even read about this in the news.
But he couldn't complain, since he'd been the one to walk away at the
It turned out that Dekim Barton had been one of several heads of a hydra
known only as The Syndicate, a group that had infiltrated all sides of
the recent conflict. They were the disease that had set in after too many
decades of war. It was an old story, repeated throughout history. War
forced the worst of the underworld to evolve, structure itself, protect
itself, thereby leaving a virulent, all-pervasive organism behind once
peace was declared. The end of martial law meant that the authorities
could no longer use truly brutal means of repression, and, like a virus
working its way through a weakened immune system, the organism spread,
infecting all businesses and walks of life, and rooting itself in deep.
Human society had taken decades - centuries - to rid itself of the Mafia,
the Triads, and other similar parasites. Wufei didn't think they would
be able to destroy The Syndicate for a long time, until it had grown too
complex and heavy for its own good, and society had formed defences against
But that didn't mean they couldn't try. One of the Syndicate's main sources
of revenue had been providing weapons to terrorists and rebels the world
over. Peace had already been a blow to their finances, hence Dekim's attempt
at destroying it. There was now a state of all-out war between the Syndicate
and the Preventers; a quiet, hidden conflict without shellings and Gundams,
a battlefield of financial manipulations and murders in the dark.
"Exeter has, of course, the usual protections: high ranking politicians,
financial support, and enough lawyers to form an army in their own right.
Most of his businesses are above board anyway. His links to the Syndicate
are mainly for money laundering, and he has top-flight financial wizards
to help him drown out the illegal influx of cash. His colony protects
him almost as a matter of course...No, we'll probably never put Mr Andrev
Exeter in jail." Une looked bitter, as she always did when it came to
L3 and it's tolerance of such corruption. "But we need his information,
and the moment he spots a warrant he'll wipe all of it from his systems.
"Fortunately, Mr Exeter is used to the L3 way of doing things, and the
amenities of a wartime government, when he could bribe his way out of
most trouble. He's careless. This gives us a chance to get in close to
the higher ups in the Syndicate. Preferably before they pull another coup
"He'd have to be careless to invite unknown people to his mansion, if
that's where he keeps this information." Heero affirmed, cold and condemning.
Then he went back to the important business: the mission. Une didn't really
have to give Heero so much background intel; she just needed to tell him
what had to be done. "So we are to infiltrate the objective by posing
as a young couple, such as those he regularly invites to- What precisely
does he want them for? Sex?"
Very briefly, 'Commander Une' faltered and the much more prim Lady Une
threw Heero a horrified glance at his cold, matter of fact question, as
well as what he was implying he'd be ready to accept for the mission.
But she recovered quickly.
"No, Agent Yuy. He just...likes to have them around. He has a small private
club there. Word is, he's bisexual, but he's mainly interested in young,
gay couples, preferably men, erm..." Une was trying not to squirm under
two, clear, hard gazes. "Which is why, well...We don't know how he spotted
the two undercover operatives. They were professionals, and good at their
job. But they were part of the L3 force, which means-"
"Someone sold them out." Wufei snorted in disgust.
"Probably. The Preventers are not local, so the L3 authorities - the reliable
ones - asked us for help. I'm afraid we sent Agent Santoro in blind. He
was really there only for a recon, his cover was a bit light. We didn't
think-...he was just hanging around, as if trying to pick up people at
the club, Désirs. It was too soon after they caught the two cops, though;
they must have been keeping an eye out, and Santoro was, well, he was
thirty, and not really trained for that milieu; he rather stood out."
"Which is why you're asking us." Wufei finished. "We're young enough where
we won't look out of place at this...night spot where Exeter picks up
"Yes. And you'll be going in with a proper cover story. We're working
overtime to build it, so it'll be ready to set in motion if you agree
"Of course we agree." Heero announced, cold and sure.
"Just a minute, Yuy." Une sighed and rubbed her temples. "I want you two
to realize what you're getting into. The investigation into the death
of the two undercover policemen indicated they'd been placed under close
surveillance by Exeter's men, shortly before they were killed. He's -
this will sound strange, but he's not an animal, or a hardened criminal,
though he will kill if threatened. Apparently all efforts were made to
insure that these two men were, indeed, a threat to him before they were
executed. Now he's going to be even more careful. You two may never be
invited to his mansion at all; he may stop that behaviour now. But if
he does ask you over, well, you can expect every aspect of your life to
be under close scrutiny for a few days prior to the invite. He'll want
to be sure you're not plants. And that means, well-"
"He'll have us followed, investigated, and he might bug our apartment.
We understand that." Wufei interrupted calmly. "Don't worry, Commander.
As Yuy just demonstrated, I think we can make it look convincing."
Une frowned and fiddled with a folder on her desk. Heero shifted beside
him as if to add something at this point. Wufei quickly flicked his fingers
on the chair's armrest, catching his attention. Heero's eyes lifted to
his. They exchanged a glance; wait, let me do the talking, I'll explain
later, Wufei indicated. Heero subsided.
"Well...I'm under pressure by ESUN to send in two more agents for another
attempt at infiltration." Une said softly. "Young agents. I have some
new recruits who can do the undercover part, but..." Her eyes lifted to
them, hard, and angry. "But I'm damned if I'm catering to L3's sensitivities
and their wish to avoid a scandal with Exeter, by sending two cadets into
what could very likely turn into a deadly trap. Personally, gentlemen,
I don't think you have much chance of making it into that mansion. I doubt
Exeter is dumb enough to keep on inviting pretty young things to his house
Une's ears caught up with her words and she choked briefly. The 'pretty
young things' - war-hardened soldiers who'd killed more men than Exeter
and all his goons ever had - waited patiently for her to continue.
"Well, whatever. If you can get the information, I'll be very, very happy,
and very, very surprised. But mainly I'm sending you two because if things
hit the fan, I know you can survive it. There's only one thing I'm...worried
"You two..." Une's mouth pinched unhappily. "You're my best. You're the
ones I send in when I know nobody else can do it. You've busted up operations
that I would have normally needed an army to crack. I...don't want to
compromise that. For anything. But I'm aware that putting you into this
kind of situation, months living as a- well, it might stress the...entente
you two have. It's...rather different from what I would normally have
you do. I don't want this to ruin your partnership..."
Once more, Wufei could feel Heero stare at him, waiting for him to say
the few words that would put Une's worries to rest. Once again, Wufei
threw a cautioning glance at his partner.
"Ma'am, don't worry. Yuy and I are professionals. This won't be a problem."
"Very well." Une concluded, resigned. "Sam will brief you. If at anytime
you have any doubts about -" she must have caught sight of their 'mission'
faces and didn't bother finishing. "Do your best. Don't get killed. Dismissed."
Wufei wasn't surprised to feel hard fingers grab his arm and drag him
off into a section of deserted cubicles, away from the main hallway leading
towards Sam's office.
"Why didn't you tell her?" Heero's voice was cold, slightly annoyed but
mainly curious. Wufei felt a touch of something...pride maybe; his partner
trusted him implicitly, and knew he had to have a reason for keeping silent
about the nature of their relationship.
"Tell her what?" Wufei asked patiently, knowing what Heero meant, but
needing him to spell it out before he could take it apart.
"Well, that we won't have any problems acting like a couple, or having
sex even if they bug our apartment."
"Won't we?" Wufei asked dryly. Heero stared at him, surprised.
"I won't say I'll enjoy knowing someone may be watching." Heero cocked
his head to one side. "But that won't stop us. And that's what Une was
worrying about. So why-"
"That was only one detail Une was worrying about. And that's why this
is going to be hard." Wufei corrected him, suddenly uncomfortable. This
was stuff they never talked about. "Look, Yuy...just stop a minute, and
run one of our usual days through your mind. Now, remember we're supposed
to be a normal couple, above suspicion."
A brief moment of silence...
"Oh." Heero frowned. "Well, we can act...I guess." The brief, uncharacteristic
moment of hesitation spoke volumes. Wufei knew Heero hated to admit he
wasn't perfect at every aspect of being an agent, but his partner was
also brutally honest enough to admit that infiltration was not one of
his skills. Not after successfully standing out as, at best, an unsocial
jerk in most schools he'd hidden out in during his wartime career.
"Une's mainly worried that we can't act like normal people, in every day
life, well enough to withstand even a light scrutiny. We're not just supposed
to fool the hostiles by screwing each other in bed while they listen in
over a mike. We have to convince every person we meet, who might be questioned
by Exeter's men, that we're just a normal couple. And we'll be doing this
Heero glowered at the floor, arms crossed over his chest. Wufei watched
the lines of his shoulders expressing the inner struggle; the need to
take on and succeed at a mission on one hand, the admission of a difficulty,
a lack in his own abilities on the other.
"I don't have much experience. With normal." Heero bit out, still glaring
at the floor. "I'm not sure what that entails." Eyes flickered towards
Wufei's. "But you said we'd take the mission." There was a question in
"I think we can do it." Wufei answered, quietly and firmly. "It won't
be easy. But I have enough knowledge about 'normal life', as you call
it, to pass. And...Une underestimates us."
The rest went unsaid. The closeness, the almost telepathic ability to
understand one another, follow one another's near invisible leads in high-risk
situations...damn, they'd managed to delude a live-in Duo Maxwell for
two weeks, they could certainly fool a couple of thugs looking through
a bad image feed for a few days. No, they weren't normal, but in this
instance it was also a strength. Heero Yuy didn't know the meaning of
the word embarrassment, as the demonstration for Une earlier proved; he
wouldn't trip them up by hesitating or recoiling away from anything. And
Wufei thought that, for a mission, and a chance at taking a bite out of
the Syndicate, he could once more be the one who drew the attention away
from Heero, put up the front. Bury his pride, his normal instincts, and
lie to the world without shame, regret or remorse. Besides, if Heero could
do it, so could he.
They nodded, arguments, logic and conclusions unspoken, as always, but
understood and accepted. Wufei turned, but fingers caught his arm again,
more gently this time.
"Still...why didn't you tell Une? That would have set her mind at rest
about this mission compromising our team's integrity." Heero seemed simply
curious this time, trying to understand his partner's reasoning. Wufei
smirked in enjoyment at the thought of Une's face if he'd dropped that
one on her, then he shook his head.
"That wouldn't be wise. You heard her worry about how even pretending
to be involved would get us embroiled into some emotional tangle. I don't
want her double-guessing our competence and detachment from now on, if
we were to tell her we actually are fucking each other."
"Une knows us both well enough to realize that our arrangement will not
interfere with our performance." Heero refuted firmly.
"Une is a fairly good commander, but she's also a woman." Wufei retaliated.
"Women can be good combatants, but they will too easily let their feelings
overwhelm them, and then they seem to forget all their common sense, duties
and even self-preservation. And they tend to assume other people are the
same," he ended with a sneer. Burying the slight pang of bitter regret
as he remembered another woman who should have cared more about her self-preservation
than the life of her unworthy husband-
Heero's eyebrows shot up. "Is that actually an observation, because I
"Noin and Zechs. She was all for stopping White Fang blowing up the earth,
as long as she could do it without mussing up his hair."
"That's not exactly-"
"That brunette, Hilde, and Maxwell. She was with OZ, and she was supposed
to shoot him down; instead she ends up saving his life and doing spy work
"Do I really need another example?"
"Two women don't make-"
"Relena." Wufei laid down his trump card.
Heero visibly winced. "That's not really a valid example." He muttered.
"She has her ideals-"
"I wasn't talking about Berlin. Before she even knew she was a Peacecraft,
you threatened to kill her what, twice? At least?"
"How did you know-"
"Maxwell has a big mouth, and found the whole episode very amusing. He
tells it like its one of his best jokes if you give him half a chance.
You know what I would do if you threatened to shoot me even once, Yuy?"
"You'd get me first," Heero muttered, conceding.
"Right! Women don't have the ability to make completely rational judgments
in combat situations, it's that simple! They think with their hearts,
not their heads. I don't think they should even really be involved in
fighting. They should just take care of business or diplomacy, like the
Peacecraft woman, or they should stay at home and make babies! What?"
Heero's eyes had focused on the hallway behind Wufei and widened in alarm.
"H-hello, Sally," he said, tone and stance a warning.
Wufei stiffened and spun around, bracing himself. He turned back slowly
from the quite empty hallway to glare at the growing smirk on Heero's
face. Good touch, he granted reluctantly, though on the outside he simply
"All I'm saying is that we should not divulge the -"
Heero actually laughed, a twisted little snicker. "You're right, men do
have a better sense of self-preservation,"
"-the details of our arrangement, Yuy, concentrate, I-"
"Maybe we should discuss this whole issue with Une."
"Mission, Yuy. Dead bodies. The Syndicate-"
"But don't mention the thing about the babies."
"- dead fellow officers -"
"She'd castrate you."
"If you're quite finished, Yuy!" Wufei snarled at that smug look, acknowledging
defeat. Score, Yuy.
"Yes." Heero smirked. Then he was all business again, indifferently locking
away the Heero Yuy that Wufei was the only one allowed to see. "Let's
go talk to Sam."
Wufei went to get the next box from the van. Heero wasn't helping; he
was inside unpacking the computer system and the hub, and glowering at
the rather primitive setup he'd have to make due with. Student life sucked,
Wufei thought with a sly grin.
"Mr...Chan Gen Lin?"
Wufei had kept an ear on the footsteps behind him, curbing his desire
to turn around and face the potentially hostile person approaching at
his six. He looked around only when she spoke, turning with the last box
in his arms. Ah, the lawyer. He noted how she'd tripped over his assumed
name and gotten it in the wrong order, but he supposed that she wouldn't
be familiar with Asians and their customs, here on L3.
"Yes? May I help you?" Wufei asked politely.
"My name is Phillipa Scarriot." The young, horse-faced woman in a tidy
green suit was looking at him curiously. "I work for the firm Meier and
"I was very sorry to hear about your uncle, Mr Lin." Not, of course, that
she'd known him, Wufei reflected, or that the uncle had ever existed.
"Call me Chang. It's a nickname." Wufei said easily enough. He'd practiced
saying that for the last week. "Oh, and this is Yuy Summers. My boyfriend."
Boy, that had taken some practice, too. But he barely stuttered anymore.
Heero had come out of the apartment with a scowl on his face, probably
ready to complain about the computer system again. He was now looking
at the lawyer as if wondering if she were armed.
Sam had taken personal charge of their cover story, much to Wufei's relief.
The old Fox knew how they worked. It meant they could still call each
other Chang and Yuy, when the regular information services of Ops were
going to set them up with fake identities using their first names, the
ones they never used with each other. Sam also insured that they both
had a bit of military background in their falsified records - OZ cadets,
ironically enough - and that Heero had left behind him in his previous
'job' a record of being sullen and uncommunicative, an unsocial computer
nerd. It all helped...
Phillipa's eyebrows had jolted a bit at the mention of 'boyfriend', but
she'd covered it over with the promptitude and smoothness of someone with
a job where she was expected to be nice to all sorts of people. "A pleasure
to meet you, Mr Summers. Phillipa Scarriot, from Meier and Konstanz."
"What do you want?"
Shit, Yuy, you could at least make an effort, Wufei thought resignedly,
as Phillipa bridled ever so slightly at the curt demand. He firmly shoved
the box into Heero's arms, and turned towards the lawyer.
"Sorry, he didn't sleep much in the shuttle over. What can I do for you?
I thought I'd signed all the papers already."
"Yes, we just need you to fill in this form here, taking formal possession
of the property and acknowledging that all was left in order by the former
tenant. Take your time checking it, and send it in by fax or mail. You're
settling in well, I hope?" Her eyes trailed after Heero who was carrying
the box upstairs without further word to either of them.
Wufei nodded at the moving van that had brought their few personal items,
well, those items that people in their circumstances were supposed to
have. "We had to buy some furniture, but mostly, we're good."
"I understand that you're enrolled in our university?"
"Yes. Both Yuy and I were taking courses by correspondence and working
part-time back on Earth, but now, of course..." Wufei let the expected
minute of silence elapse in memory of his supposedly deceased uncle, who'd
left him a bit of money, this apartment and a few other properties, allowing
him to attend university full time on L3. Phillipa let the minute pass
with ingrained professional courtesy, then pretended to look interested.
"What courses do you attend, Mister- sorry, Chang?"
"Asian Literature, modern." Wufei didn't have to fake the small smile.
It wouldn't be a drag keeping up his cover; he had enough knowledge to
do so, and he was actually looking forward to a few months of proper courses.
"Yuy is doing a degree in advanced computer engineering." The only difficulty
about maintaining that cover would be for Heero not to let his professors
realize that he knew ten times more than they did. And to handle the boredom.
Heero hadn't been overjoyed at his proposed coursework, but he'd muttered
something about doing some research on AI security programs or something
to keep him busy. As long as he didn't reinvent Zero, or a computer that
would try to take over the world, Wufei wouldn't interfere. A severely
bored Heero would be rather unpleasant to live with.
"Well, I hope you enjoy your stay on L3, Chang. Here's my card. Please
don't hesitate to call me if you have any questions or problems. I think
you'll enjoy it here. This is a fairly nice neighborhood, and it's so
convenient for the University! It's got handy transport to the centre
of town - the night life on this colony is much more exciting than in
many other clusters. Where did you say you were working, before you came
"Ah. Well. Of course, we're just a colony. Ah-" Phillipa might have added
more civilities, but at that moment Heero returned from the apartment.
He stopped right next to Wufei and looked silently at the lawyer. Wufei
could almost read the thoughts going through her mind. Boyfriend; probably
jealous, possessive, and definitely unpleasant. In fact, Heero obviously
just wanted a word with him, and was waiting for her to leave, but Wufei
could see how she could misunderstand that silence and intense look. It
was why they might actually manage this infiltration, Wufei thought, not
for the first time. Heero didn't act normally, true, but his actions were
often open to a normal interpretation, and anything he did that was truly
bizarre would hopefully be put down to the fact that he was an unsociable
computer geek and left at that. And, put plainly, it didn't feel like
he was playing a part, simply because no one would be expected to be that
bad at it. They might not make any friends, Wufei thought, watching Phillipa
hastily excuse herself, trot back to her car and drive off a bit abruptly,
but they probably wouldn't get spotted as undercover agents either.
"Yes?" He whispered, watching Phillipa's fast departing vehicle.
Heero turned without a word and left Wufei to follow him back into the
apartment. It was much smaller than their safe-house. The living-room
and kitchenette were big enough for two people, as long as they didn't
have the territorial instincts of male tigers. There was a very small
study for Heero's computer, still in its boxes, and a bedroom where Wufei
could read when he wanted some solitude. He could see it from here, the
door opened, boxes piled here and there. And a single bed, queen-sized.
"We're clear." Heero announced, closing the front door carefully behind
them. "I checked, no bugs yet."
"Checked?" Wufei tore his eyes away from the bed. "What do you mean?"
"Sam left me some detection equipment. He'll send a courier to pick it
up in a couple of hours." Heero added as Wufei's eyes widened in alarm.
Though it would be weeks, months, before they might expect Exeter's men
to check their apartment, they couldn't have anything like that around
when it happened. "Foxwood wanted to be sure we were clear at least to
start with, though there's no reason we shouldn't be. He said we might
need some time to settle into our roles." Heero shrugged and idly switched
on the overhead light; they'd drawn the curtains from force of habit when
they first walked into the apartment, Wufei suddenly realized. Damn. Well,
they'd start ironing out small details like that tomorrow. Sam was right,
this was going to be a bit of a shock, and would take some getting used
to. It was nice to know they could at least discuss things out loud for
a day or two to start with.
"We need to set up a system of communication, now that we're here." Heero's
eyes were sweeping the apartment professionally. "A set of codes and signals
we can use once we're no longer sure of this place's integrity. We can
also talk at the university, in case of emergencies. We'll scout out possible
RV spots tomorrow. When do we recon the preliminary objective?"
"If you mean, when do we wander over to Désirs and have a drink, we'll
go tonight." Wufei answered dryly. He felt suddenly curious to know what
it would be like to live with Heero when he wasn't acting like, well,
a soldier. Or a rival, or a brother-in-arms, or a fellow tiger. Wufei
assumed he'd be doing most of the talking once they were fully undercover.
The idea of Heero making small talk just...didn't fit into his view of
"Tonight?" Heero looked askance. "So soon?"
"Yes, we might as well establish ourselves there. We won't go for long,
just an hour or so. Get a feel for the place and let them see us. It's
a fairly well-known club on the gay scene, it's not unlikely our alter-egos
would have heard of it on the net before coming. And I want to go before
the weekend; there won't be so many people tonight."
Heero nodded, in acceptance rather than informed agreement. It was understood
that this was Wufei's operation, at least until they became regulars at
Exeter's mansion, some of the beautiful people he collected for his private
club. Then, assuming they could sneak away - or even get there in the
first place - Heero would once more be in his element, cracking their
computer and security systems for Ops to access whatever information Exeter
kept there, as discreetly as possible.
In the meantime...Wufei found that he was looking at the bed again. "Are
you going to be able to sleep on that? I mean, sleep with me?" Damn, that
had sounded...weird. As weird as 'boyfriend'.
"I can catnap with someone in the same room." Heero answered, without
turning around. He was digging through the boxes in the study, pulling
"We're going to be at this for months, Yuy, until we get into Exeter's
place or until Une pulls the plug on this mission. You can't catnap for
Heero paused, hands entangled in cables, eyes thoughtful. "My university
courses end at five most days. So do yours, right? I can come back here
and sleep for a few hours. That will keep me operational." He'd be able
to sleep, alone in the bed, while Wufei kept watch in the living room;
it really went without saying.
"The courses end at five, but we're supposed to be students. They don't
come back home and take naps, Yuy. I think part of your curriculum forces
you to stay late at night with the other geeks, doing odd things to your
computer networks and playing marathon sessions of the latest strategy
"If I play a strategy game, it won't last long enough to qualify as a
marathon." Heero pointed out dryly. Wufei snorted and decided not to remind
Heero that they had to blend in. He'd feel the situation out later, how
much deviation from the norm his partner could get away with. Wufei and
Sam had taken care to place the 'Yuy Summers' character at the far end
of the 'unusual' scale anyway, so it was likely he'd be okay.
"I'll go get us lunch from the local deli." Wufei announced. "You stay
here, start putting the furniture we bought together, unpack a few things.
And I don't mean the computer equipment, Yuy. Start with our clothes,
they may need an iron. We'll unpack this afternoon, then we'll get ready
for tonight." He cast one last look at the bed and left to see if the
deli had something edible. He was tense; there were so many small details
that could trip them up. And they might end up killing each other before
the week was out, he added with a mental snort; they weren't used to cohabitating
peacefully, without sparring matches and missions to relieve their natural
tension. But there was a small part of Wufei that felt a twinge of anticipation,
too. This would be different, challenging...and interesting. He found
he was rather looking forward to it.
[chap. 20] [chap. 22] [back
to Maldoror's fic]