Author: We Evil Two (Mel & Christy, that is, not some other evil people.)
Category: AU, Drama, Romance
Pairings: 5x2, 1xR, 3x4
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Yaoi, language, angst & FLUFF!
Disclaimer: No money, no ownie, no sue!
Feedback: Yes, please.

Key:
minor scene change (from person to person at the same place, etc): ----------
major scene change (at another place, some time later, etc): * * * * *
flashback or dream starting or ending: ~*~*~*~
thoughts (and the occasional sound effect): *Tadah!*
some more sound effects (little ones!): -tadah!-
electronics (phone, TV, intercom etc): <<Tadah!>>

Rebuilding + Chapter 14

I'm dreaming. Must be.

In that strange half-aware state between waking and sleeping, Duo snuggled closer to the warm body in his arms. Yep. Definitely dreaming... I know 'Fei's not here. Relena's here, not 'Fei. 'Fei's still working. But it feels like 'Fei...

"I don'wanna wake up," he mumbled, nuzzling the solid chest beneath his head.

"Why not?" someone asked softly.

Even sounds like 'Fei..."'Cause I'm dreaming. S'nice."

"Oh?" A hand was slowly stroking his hair, and Duo almost purred. "What are you dreaming about?"

"You. An' you're not really my 'Fei. You're Relena. An' if I wake up you'll go back to being Relena," Duo explained, feeling fuzzy-headed but sure of his facts. "Relena's okay, but she's not you... I mean... you're not 'Fei. So I don'wanna wake up."

"Duo..."

"Shh. M'sleeping."

"Duo, you're not dreaming," the dream-Wufei's voice said, suppressing laughter. "Open your eyes."

"No-ooo! Relena, lemme sleep!"

"Would Relena do this?"

A warm hand pushed Duo's chin up, and suddenly he was being thoroughly kissed.

...No way in hell would Relena taste like Wufei. No matter how good a dream I was having!

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Duo's eyes flew wide open, and he stared disbelievingly at Wufei for a moment; then Wufei discovered that he'd been mistaken when he'd thought Duo was cuddled as close to him as was humanly possible to get. Squirming up until he could kiss Wufei without either of them straining their necks, Duo clung to him with surprising strength, winding one leg around Wufei's to pull him closer.

I shouldn't have gone on that mission, Wufei thought guiltily, wrapping his arms tightly around the braided teen to provide the physical assurance he seemed to need. I know he needed me to prove that I'd come back, but still... It was too soon. Too long away. Too stressful... Duo's fingers felt like they were going to leave bruises, but right then Wufei would rather have shot himself in the foot than say so.

Even if he could have gotten his mouth free for long enough to form a coherent sentence, which didn't seem to be an option right then.

"How'd you get back so fast?" Duo gasped, breaking off the kiss eventually. "Whatever happened to 'a couple more days'? Not that I'm complaining," he added quickly, a slow grin spreading across his face as he began to relax.

"Une ordered Trowa to mail me home via Manguanac Express," Wufei managed to say dryly, reaching up to stroke Duo's bangs away from his face. "Remind me to do something nice for her on her next birthday... whenever that is. She also gave me today and tomorrow off, so she must have been feeling unusually benevolent." Or worried about you. I think I can forgive her for everything she did during the war, just for that one kind thought...

"July twenty-third," Duo said automatically, leaning down for another kiss, slower and less urgent this time.

When Duo pulled back again, Wufei blinked up at him with a puzzled frown. "How is it that you know her birthday? Her secretary's been trying to find out when it is for months, to add her to the office birthday roster."

"Oh, I-- birthday roster?"

"Semi-surprise birthday morning teas and suchlike are becoming a Preventer tradition," the Chinese teen told him, grimacing. "So far, I have avoided that embarrassment. So has Une. People have even tried to hack into her personnel file, but nobody's managed it yet. Is that how you did it?"

"I asked Treize."

"You asked-- you what?" Wufei sat bolt upright, rolling Duo into his lap.

"I hacked into his email and sent him a message, asking him," Duo said sheepishly from his new position. "He told me. I guess he already knew I was sending her presents, and figured it couldn't hurt..."

"Does she know you did that?"

"Well, she knows that I know when her birthday is, 'cause I kidnapped her and took her to an amusement park.[1] I didn't tell her how I found out, though, but maybe Treize did..."

Wufei let out a sound somewhere between a moan and a gurgle of laughter, slowly folding forward over Duo and gathering him into a hug. "Oh gods. Oh, gods, Duo, that is such a quintessentially Maxwell thing to do," he said in a strangled voice, shoulders shaking. "I would have had a heart attack if I'd known what you were doing, but I can just imagine the look on Une's face..."

"Oh, no you can't," Duo insisted, starting to snicker. "Trust me. You had to be there."

"Someday, you are going to tell me the whole story," Wufei said, trying to keep a straight face and failing miserably. "Promise me. I will settle for nothing less than a moment by moment description of the entire incident."

"You got it," Duo said happily, settling into the hug with a sigh. "Including the running gun battle and The Puppy That Saved The Day. I promise."

A faint squeak of feminine dismay came from the direction of the kitchen, followed by a series of bangs and crashes, and the usual end- of-disaster noise of something spinning to a halt.

"Ohhhh... shit!"

"If it's bad enough to make Relena swear, we'd better get out there and see what happened," Wufei said, a little nervously.

"Well, she can't cook, but she has managed to avoid doing herself grievous bodily harm... so far," Duo added, scrambling out of bed and heading for the door.

Relena was kneeling in the middle of the floor in her fuzzy pyjamas, surrounded by spilled coffee and crumbs, apparently checking the toaster for dents. "I'm sorry," she almost wailed as she looked up and saw them. "I didn't want to wake you up, but I thought I'd make you breakfast before I left, so I was getting the toaster out of the cupboard and the cord got caught behind the coffee tin and I tried to catch it but I dropped them both--"

"Relena, it's okay, really!" Wufei interrupted quickly, taking the toaster out of her hands and pulling her to her feet. "Accidents happen and are easily fixed." Duo had already picked his way past the mess to get the dustpan and brush out from under the sink, so Wufei concentrated on getting Relena out of the way without bringing too much of the coffee with her.

"It wouldn't have been nearly as messy if the coffee hadn't come open," Relena sighed ruefully, dusting off her knees and feet before taking a long step out of the spill. "I think the catch hit the countertop on the way down and flipped open. And of course the crumb tray came off the bottom of the toaster, too..."

"It's either Murphy's Law, Fate, or blind random chance being annoying, depending on who you ask," Wufei said dryly. "At least it didn't end up upside-down," he added, picking up the item in question and looking for the lid. "About half of it is still in here, which means Duo and I will not be caffeine zombies this morning."

"You mean I can't take photos of you two staggering around, groaning 'espreeeeeeeeessso'?"

"I would filter the floor sweepings before I allowed you to record that for posterity," he snorted, taking the filled dustpan from Duo with a quick grateful smile, and headed for the bin.

After Relena got started on her second (and hopefully more successful) attempt at breakfast, Duo tugged tentatively at Wufei's arm and led him out into the lounge room. "I was thinking... I mean, if you don't mind..."

"Hm?" Wufei made an encouraging noise as Duo trailed off, gathering the braided teen into a comfortable embrace.

"Well, Relena did cancel her appointments for the whole week," Duo got out in a rush, "and she could probably use the break anyway and... well... maybe she could stay?"

Wufei didn't need to consider for more than a few seconds before he nodded. "If she wants to, certainly. It's a good idea. Do you want to ask her?"

Duo squirmed uncomfortably. "It's your place."

And you're still not that comfortable with talking to her, even if you do want her to stay, Wufei translated mentally. "Our place," he said gently, lifting Duo's chin and making him meet his eyes, "but yes, I'll ask her."

Duo was wide-eyed and blinking as Wufei took him by the hand and towed him back into the kitchen.

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"I'm so glad you asked me to stay," Relena said happily, buttering her toast. "I haven't had a holiday for ages, and I never get the chance to shop without Heero and a flock of assistants and bodyguards following me everywhere. And reporters of course."

"...Shop?" Wufei asked, suddenly having the feeling that the situation was no longer under his control. "I don't think--"

"Well, this is the only way I'm going to be able to get Heero a Valentine's gift without him having a good idea what it is," she pointed out. "I want to take you two out to lunch anyway, so we could make an afternoon of it. Quatre's birthday is two days after Valentine's, and Trowa's is in March, so I should get something for them too... and then there's you, Duo, but I can't exactly buy your present if you're going to be right there."

"Sounds fair enough to me," Duo said quietly to his coffee cup.

"I thought Trowa didn't know when his birthday was," Wufei objected, abruptly sidetracked. "I thought Duo didn't... Duo?"

"They threw darts," Relena giggled.

"It was right in the middle of the war." Duo looked up with a crooked smile, a glint of humour peeking out of the quiet shell he'd retreated into after the first exuberant reaction to Wufei's return had passed. "I figured if there was no way for us to know when our birthdays were, we could just pick dates and celebrate then. I made H- Heero print out a year planner, and he and Trowa and I all threw darts at it. I think you were on a solo mission," he added, "and by the time you got back, something else had blown up... I guess nobody thought to tell you." [2]

And you didn't think I would care... gods, I was so blind, Wufei thought.

"Trowa got March twelfth, Duo got March eighteenth, and Heero got June twenty-first. --That's right, isn't it?" Relena asked, turning to Duo for confirmation. "Heero didn't write them down or anything, but that's what he told me."

Duo nodded.

"So, it's settled. We'll go shopping!" she declared.

"No, no, wait!" Wufei protested. "Relena, you're very recognisable. I hardly think Duo and I constitute a proper security detail for you! And you wouldn't want a reporter to get a photo of your black eye before it's had a chance to fade, would you?"

"I'm recognisable when I'm wearing designer clothes and have my hair up the way people are used to seeing it," Relena argued. "I'll... I'll borrow a pair of jeans from one of you. I've got a plain jacket and loafers, and I'll put my hair in a ponytail or a plait like Duo's. As for the bruise, I do have makeup here. I can cover it up."

"Well enough to pass inspection if you do get spotted?"

Relena smirked. "I may not have any experience at covering up black eyes, but it's the same principle as hiding a pimple, only on a larger scale." Seeing Wufei and Duo's incredulous expressions, she let out an unladylike snort. "Did you honestly think I made it through puberty with perfect skin? I wasn't that lucky, but nobody ever saw anything."

Duo snickered quietly and got up, grabbing at her hand. "C'mon. Let's find some jeans to fit you..."

They had to go through five pairs of jeans before they found one that Relena could wriggle her hips into, and she had an uncertain look on her face as she eyed her reflection in the bathroom mirror. "Trust Wufei not to bother with a full length mirror in his bedroom," she muttered, standing on tiptoe and craning her neck, trying to get a glimpse of regions south of her belt buckle. "Just like Heero. It's almost criminal... they look so good, and they don't even care..." Unable to find an angle that would let her see her rear, either, she made an irritated noise and threw the door open.

"Those ones fit?" Duo asked hopefully.

"Duo, I've never thought I'd have to say this line, and I really hope you aren't going to laugh," she said unceremoniously, turning around to face away from him. "Do these make me look fat?"

Duo blinked in surprise, then let his gaze drop to her bottom. "Um... no?" he hazarded, raising an eyebrow at the tight, worn denim.

"That's not a very reassuring tone of voice."

"You don't look fat," Wufei said flatly, walking over to lean on the wall next to Duo. "You look like you're proud of your figure, and have decided to show it off."

"I can live with that," she sighed, turning around. "Why do men have to be the ones who get trim butts?"

"Somebody had to," he responded, briefly grinning sideways at Duo.

"Hilde once complained that we got better eyelashes, too," Duo grinned back. "Something about hormones, I think."

"Better living through testosterone," Wufei murmured. "The search is over, I take it?"

"Yes. My temporarily deficient wardrobe isn't going to save you from this shopping trip," Relena said smugly. "I have a chance to act like a normal eighteen-year-old girl for once, and I'm determined to take it. So there."

"I see you've already begun," Wufei snorted. "I don't think that 'so there' is part of your normal debating repertoire."

"Neither is 'nyah', but I'm considering it," she laughed. "Come on, let's go!"

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[cont]