+ Chapter 14 (cont)
Glimpsing the shadows under his eyes in the mirror, Wufei shuddered. Ugh.
I hope Sally doesn't see me today; she'll put me on medical leave!
Hopefully a good strong caffiene hit will-- damn! I set the machine
up last night, but I forgot to start it before I got in the shower. You
know you really need coffee when you forget to make it, he
grumbled, pulling on a clean pair of boxers and stalking out.
Quietly opening the bedroom door to get his uniform, Wufei stopped short
as he saw the empty futon. Where'd Duo go?! He was asleep--
wait, if I didn't start the coffee maker, how come I can smell
Duo was sitting at the kitchen table, watching the coffeemaker burble;
he had two mugs already set up in front of him. "It's almost finished,"
he said without looking around. "You still take your coffee black
with half a sugar?"
"Ah... yeah," Wufei finally got out. "I'll... go get dressed,
then make breakfast... okay?"
"Okay." The coffeemaker sucked up the last of the water with
a dying gurgle, and Duo got up to pour.
Wufei padded back to the bedroom in a daze. I was worried that I'd
have to wake him up out of a sound sleep to feed him pills and breakfast
before I left. He's more awake than I am!
"There's a list of all the phone numbers you might need beside the
vidphone," Wufei said, hurriedly pulling his hair back into its usual
tail and snapping a rubber band around it. "I switched the ringer
back on, in case I need to call you."
"There's lots of those dairy dessert things in the fridge if you
get hungry, and microwave meals in the freezer if you want something hot."
"Turn the thermostat up if you feel cold, or grab one of my warmup
tops. I'll be back around a quarter past twelve; is there anything you
want me to get on the way home?"
"Duo... are you sure this is okay?" Worry showing clearly
on his face, Wufei looked at Duo sitting on the couch. "If you're
not happy, I won't go."
"I'll be fine," Duo said quietly, looking away. "Go on."
Wufei sighed, reaching out to tuck a strand of hair back into Duo's braid.
"All right. I'll see you at lunchtime..."
As the door closed behind Wufei, Duo slumped slightly, hands rising to
clutch at his braid and twist through the tuft on the end. He said
he's coming back, he thought, almost fiercely. He said he's coming
back! He'll be back in a few hours. It's not that long!
He stood up and walked to the window, looking past the apartment's small
balcony down into the carpark. After a moment, Wufei's uniformed figure
strode across to his Blazer, glanced uncertainly back at the building...
then got in and drove away.
When Duo could no longer fool himself that the Blazer was still visible
in the distance, he turned slowly away from the window and walked towards
He said he's coming back.
He said he's coming back.
He'll come back.
He has to...
* * * * *
"Oh, I'm really doing well today," Wufei muttered under
his breath as he made his way across the room, clutching two files in
one hand and a mug in the other. "I haven't been here for two hours
and I'm already getting my third cup of coffee... and is it helping?
Not that you'd notice. I've got to get some rest this afternoon
when Duo has a nap..."
"Sorry? Were you talking to me?"
"No! No, sorry, just thinking out loud," Wufei said hastily.
He breathed a sigh of relief when the agent nodded and moved away. "I've
also got to stop talking to myself," he murmured, making a
beeline for the coffee machine.
"ALL RIGHT, people, did I not threaten you ENOUGH yesterday?!"
an angry female voice yelled from nearby. "MUST I resort to CAR BOMBS
and SNIPER ATTACKS to get my point across?! Torg, Francis, Paterson, get
your lazy butts in here and DO YOUR OWN FILING!"
Wufei blinked, looking across at the red-haired figure. That's... McKenzie?
But she's always so... er... no, she's not quiet, now that I think
about it. But she doesn't usually shout at the whole room!
"AND YOU! ANDERS!" Leah continued, marching towrads a group
of men clustered around a desk with a determined tread and an armful of
files. "If you spent less time having TEA PARTIES with your useless
friends, you MIGHT have time to actually FINISH YOUR PAPERWORK! Or did
you think that I wouldn't know who dumped these files if you didn't sign
them off?! I GAVE them to you to DO, you MORON!"
Wufei winced, turning away as the cluster of men melted to either side,
leaving one man who seemed to be trying to slide under his desk as the
Filing Valkyrie approached. I'm glad I put my files away,
he thought, stepping up to the coffee machine. I don't think I could
handle a woman on a mission right now...
In Lady Une's office, Sally leaned back in the visitor's chair and shot
a glance towards the open door. "Car bombs? Sniper attacks? Were
you aware we had a potential terrorist on staff, Une?"
Une snorted. "We already have a couple of ex-terrorists, Sally; what
else would you call Chang, Barton and Yui? One more won't make much difference.
Besides, I sympathise. Amanda will probably help, if McKenzie just holds
off until she's well." She pressed a clear suction cup firmly onto
the window pane, hooked a thin chain onto it, and stepped back to view
the effect. "What do you think?"
Sally winced, looking away from the dangling tiki. "It's still
Back at his desk with a full mug of espresso and half a dozen more case
files, Wufei jumped as a voice abruptly spoke from behind the bookshelves
that walled him off from the rest of the room.
"Hey, Chang! Are you actually going to start looking after this poor
plant, or should I just adopt it and take it back to my desk?"
Leah leaned into his makeshift cubicle past the fern, scowling.
"I-- uh-- it looks fine to me--"
"That's because I've been watering it, Chang." The scowl
deepened. "It was almost dead when you left a week ago. Plants can't
talk, you know; just because it isn't complaining doesn't mean
you can ignore it."
"I'll water it!"
Leah 'hmph'ed. "I'll keep an eye on it anyway," she grumbled,
He sighed, then reached for his coffee mug and took a gulp, grimacing
slightly as he swallowed. Duo's coffee this morning was much
He remembered. It's eight months since the last time he made me a cup
of coffee, and he still remembered how I take it. But then... he made
me a lot of drinks, of one kind or another. And other things...
"Welcome back, 'Fei. How'd it go?" Duo leaned against the wall
next to the kitchen doorway, covering an immense yawn with one hand.
"Maxwell? What are you doing?"
"Waiting for you, Wu-man, what's it look like?"
Wufei snorted, folding his arms arrogantly. "Idiot. There was no
need." He was uncomfortably aware that in his present state --
dirty, bruised, and tired -- his best 'I Need Nobody' stance wasn't
up to its usual standard. Certainly Duo didn't seem affected.
"So what? I felt like it. Now get in here before your tea goes cold,
*...Tea?* Slowly, Wufei walked into the kitchen.
"Here. Eat." Duo casually dropped a plate and cup onto the table.
"I didn't make that green tea shit because you won't put sugar in
it, and I figure you could use some; it's Quatre's chamomile tea instead.
You like that, right?"
Wufei didn't answer, eyeing the huge sandwich suspiciously. Amazingly
enough, it wasn't one of Duo's usual monstrous creations (they tended
to involve peanut butter, mashed banana and enough honey to ooze out the
sides); it had at least two types of meat and a lot of fresh salad vegetables
visible at the edges. His favourite type of sandwich, in other words.
"Maxwell, why..." He stopped himself and changed questions.
"How did you know when I would be back?" *This is freshly
made, and the tea is at just the right temperature...* "Did you
bug Nataku again?!"
"No! I didn't need to," Duo protested. "I knew you
were due back sometime this week, so I just put an alarm on the hangar.
Heero set it off twice... anyway, enjoy. I fixed the hot water, too, if
you want to wash up before you go to bed." He smothered another huge
yawn as he turned to leave. "Night, 'Fei."
In fact, he knew all my preferences, Wufei mused, scowling
down into his mug. He tried to get me to eat s'mores or drink that
syrup he calls hot chocolate often enough, but when I really needed
something... there it was, just the way I liked it. Most of the time he
pretended he was getting it for himself, and he'd just made too much;
he joked about his eyes being 'way too big for my stomach.' Damn,
I was an idiot. How could I have been so blind?
I was trying so hard to hide my feelings for him, I never noticed what
he felt for me...
"What?!" he yelped, jerked abruptly out of his reverie
to discover four people standing in front of his desk.
Quatre blinked down at him, looking worried. "Wufei, are you all
right? You're awfully jumpy..."
"I'm fine," he growled, trying to convince his heart
to slow down. "Why are you here?"
"To talk about Duo," Trowa said bluntly.
Wufei sat bolt upright, outraged. "I have no intention of talking
about Duo behind his back!"
Heero scowled; Trowa raised an eyebrow, folding his arms across his chest.
"He wasn't present yesterday when you talked to us on the vidphone."
"Oh, yes he was. I asked his permission to call you, and he was sitting
on the sofa just out of view." Wufei suppressed the urge to grin
as Trowa, Quatre and Heero all stiffened in alarm, obviously trying to
remember exactly what they'd said.
Relena had other concerns. "Wufei, are you sure you're all
right? You look like you haven't slept in a week. Are you coming down
"Are you certain?" she persisted, leaning closer and
peering into his eyes. "You look--"
"I'm fine!" he snapped, looking away. "I just didn't
get much sleep, Duo had a bad night--"
There was an audible *click* as his jaw snapped shut. Shit.
That was the wrong thing to say... Slowly shifting his gaze
back to look at his 'visitors', Wufei flinched as four very intense
stares bored into him.
The other four teenagers looked at each other; then Heero and Trowa stepped
back, politely making 'after you' gestures. Relena and Quatre advanced
around the desk, steely glints in their eyes, and both took a firm grip
on one of Wufei's elbows.
"You are going to talk to us," Quatre said sweetly, lifting
Wufei out of his chair without visible effort.
"After that comment, you don't have a choice," Relena
agreed, surprisingly strong fingers imprisoning his right elbow. "We
won't ask you to tell us everything..."
"...because that would be unreasonable, and a betrayal of Duo's trust
in you," Quatre chimed in again, steering Wufei out into the room.
"We don't want that."
"What we do want is enough information to stop us all getting
ulcers from worry," Relena finished.
"The only reason I haven't thrown you both across the room is because
it would be undignified," Wufei grumbled, giving in. "And one
of you is a woman. And I'm too tired."
"That's nice, Wufei," Quatre said soothingly as they pulled
him past Une's office, Trowa and Heero calmly trailing along behind. "Lady
Une, can we borrow the small conference room? Thank you, so
Once they had Wufei 'settled' in the conference room -- sitting
in a chair wedged between the table and a wall, with Quatre and Relena
blocking his escape routes on either side -- they all leaned expectantly
"All right, Wufei, we've made our position clear," Relena said
in a syrupy-sweet voice. Her eyes narrowed. "So talk."
[chap 13] [back]
[chap 15] [back to
Mel and Christy's fic]