By TJ Dragonblade
Pairing: 2+5
Rated: PG
Warnings: Sap, shounen-ai, cold weather, and TJ airing some seasonal gripes...
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is created by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino, copyrighted by Sunrise/SOTSU Agency, and distributed by Bandai entertainment. In other words, I am merely playing with the boys for the entertainment of myself and hopefully others; in so doing I mean no disrespect or copyright infringement.
Feedback: Much appreciated, though I don't know how much this one deserves >_<
Setting: Post EW
Notes: It's a few days late, perhaps; but (shrugs) oh well. Fair warning: 'The Holidays' put me in...an odd humor. Iím using my 2x5 forum to have a little fun and see if I can't dispel that mood. Duo: She's subjecting you to her self-prescribed therapy. Be afraid. Be *very* afraid...

Bah Humbug

Duo Maxwell was feeling distinctly more well-baked than any Christmas cookie in existence. It probably had something to do with the fact that his partner had turned the vehicle's heat up to full blast to ward off the cold; currently Duo was beginning to think a little cold wouldn't be such a bad thing. Dry heated air blew past his face, searing his skin and drying his eyelids; the temperature had gone from pleasant to uncomfortable within five minutes. Duo had removed his jacket a moment ago and was now beginning to sweat. He said nothing, though; for one glance over at Wufei made it clear that the Chinese Preventer was still cold.

And for Duo, his lover's comfort always came before his own.

Wufei was huddled down in the passenger seat of the department-standard SUV, jacket pulled tight about him, collar turned up, arms folded around his stomach for extra warmth, hair unbound for the same reason. He stared out the window at the subject of their surveillance, a hint of a scowl pulling down his eyebrows and the corners of his lovely mouth.

Duo glanced out the windshield as well, noting that everything and everyone still seemed to be in place. They were parked on a hillside overlooking the spacious grounds of a large mansion that belonged to one of the former members of the Romafeller foundation. The individual in question--a marquis of some sort, if Duo remembered correctly--had long been suspected of illegal weapons trade; the Preventers had been working undercover to build the case against him for the last month or so. It was Heero's mission; tonight he was making the bust. Trowa was his backup; they were both inside, incognito at the Christmas party currently in full swing. There were teams of officers scattered around the perimeter of the property, ready to move in at Heero's signal; Duo and Wufei were parked along the back road out, manning communications and available to apprehend the marquis should he slip by the others and attempt an escape that way.

Truthfully, Duo would have rather been at the party. It looked like wonderful fun, the guests all bundled in their furs beside the small frozen pond in the middle of the yard, some skating leisurely across its surface; buffet tables set up in the lightly packed snow, sharply-dressed servers drifting among the party-goers with champagne and hors d'oeuvres; the large evergreen with all the lights that stood between the pond and the house, Christmas carols blaring merrily from two speakers under the porch roof...Duo sighed. Communications and backup were always more boring than being in the thick of it.

One of the servers glanced up in their direction, green eyes picking them out easily among the foliage that concealed their vehicle. Duo leaned forward to press the button on the comm unit and spoke softly.

"Zero-three, Zero-two--everything going according to plan?"

There was a barely perceptible nod of an auburn head before Trowa turned to refill some over-bejeweled woman's champagne flute.

Duo released the comm button and sat back with a sigh, tugging a little at his collar. It was really getting toasty inside the car...

Wufei glanced over; his hint of a frown deepened slightly and he reached for the dash, turning the heat down. Then he went back to not quite scowling out the window.

Breathing a silent sigh of gratitude, Duo leaned back and began absently humming along with the Christmas carols drifting up from the party below.

"I detest that song," Wufei said suddenly, arms folded again in front of him.

Duo looked over, startled that Wufei was breaking his silent funk at last. "What--Rudolph?"

"Yes." Wufei sank down a little further in his seat.

"Why?" Surely Wufei was not this moody over a silly children's Christmas song...

"Because. It is...unjust." Wufei hesitated over the word, not wanting the 'oh-brother-here-we-go-again' reaction it usually got him; for some reason right now the song was truly bothering him.

Duo seemed to sense that. "How so?"

"It is the story of a misfit, someone who merely looks different and is therefore ridiculed and cast out--until someone of importance takes note of him. Then suddenly those who tormented him are his closest friends??" He shook his head, reiterating. "It is unjust. What sort of moral is it to teach the children who sing it?"

Duo blinked, taken aback by the vehemence in Wufei's tone. He had never thought of Rudolph in that light...

"Besides which, the tune is just plain annoying," Wufei added. "All these damnable Christmas songs--they stick in my head and grate on my nerves..."

"All of them?"

"Most of them," Wufei amended. "Some of those with a more melancholy sound are tolerable, perhaps even pleasant. But for the most part, they are simply irritating. And even those that are not are too often twisted into utterly tasteless renditions by stars of the moment."

"Maybe I should introduce you to Weird Al's Christmas songs," Duo murmured.

Wufei frowned slightly, the reference escaping him.

"He's a comedian, 'Fei--remind me to dig out his stuff for ya sometime."

Wufei shrugged.

"How 'bout this one?" Duo gestured vaguely in the direction of the party as a different song played. "Does it bug ya too?"

"Simpering, insipid romantic triteness--yes."

"Even when I sing it to you?"

"You have never sung to me, period."

"Then it's about time I start." Duo turned a little toward his lover and picked up the song.

"When we finally kiss goodnight, how I'll hate going out in the storm..." He leaned a little closer, smiling his most disarming smile. "But if you really hold me tight, all the way home I'll be warm!"

Wufei rolled his eyes, but his scowl was looking more like a smile with every second that passed. Duo grinned wider, holding his lover's gaze and leaning closer still, one hand bracing himself on the dashboard.

"Oh the fire is slowly dying; and my dear, we're still goodbye-ing--" Duo let the tip of his nose touch the tip of Wufei's, glad to note that the other was no longer trying to hide his smile. "But as long as you love me so, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" And he kissed Wufei, softly, on the mouth.

Wufei let him.

<<Zero-two, Zero-five--Zero-one.>> Heero's voice from the comm unit interrupted them, sounding half-amused and half-annoyed. <<A lovely serenade, Zero-two; would you care to resume the course of your duties at this time?>>

"Oops," Duo mumbled as he withdrew to the driver's side again and Wufei blushed faintly. He must have inadvertently been holding down the comm button when he had his hand on the dash; since he'd moved it when he kissed Wufei, Heero had been free to answer--especially as his host seemed to be absent at the moment.

But if Heero had heard, then everyone else involved in the operation and wearing an earpiece had probably heard as well...Duo blushed to match his lover and hit the comm button again. "Zero-one, Zero-two. Thanks for the compliment. Don't worry, we gotcher ass covered." He released the button.

<<Hn.>> Duo could imagine the look on Heero's face, half-scowl and half-smile. It would just about match the expression that Wufei had settled back into.

"So." Duo resumed the thread of their earlier conversation. "Is it still annoying when I sing it to ya?"

"...No," Wufei admitted. "But I abhor the snow."

"But snow is nice, 'Fei. It makes the world all pretty and peaceful and muted..."

"And cold, and wet, and colorless, and depressing..."

Duo didn't budge. "It's got that solemn, dignified beauty goin' for it."

"Funerals have such attributes as well, Duo, with the additional perks of warmth and dryness; yet they remain singularly unpleasant occurrences..."

"But 'Fei...c'mon. You're telling me you don't like to play in the snow every now and then?"

"Play in it?" Wufei sounded slightly affronted by the suggestion.

"Yeah, play--y'know, make snow angels, have snowball fights, go sledding, ice-skating, build snowmen..." Duo trailed off at the blank look on his lover's face. "You never have, have you."

"No."

"Then I'm gonna hafta show ya. C'mon, we can do angels right here." He moved to open his door.

"Duo! We are on duty!" Wufei spoke sharply, a slight edge of panic to his tone. "Covert duty, I might remind you--we do not need the sound of car doors closing on the hillside above his home to alert the marquis to our presence."

"Like he'd even hear," Duo shrugged, sitting back again. "But it would be bad if we weren't manning the comm. I'll just have to make you play at home, then."

"I do not want to."

Duo fought the urge to grin; Wufei looked and sounded so much like a petulant toddler that it would have been easy to overlook the fact that something was eating at him.

But Duo knew from past experience that ignoring Wufei's moods usually only drew them on longer.

"Alright, 'Fei, out with it. What's really bugging you?"

Wufei glanced over at Duo, teeth sunk lightly into his lower lip. He hated to grouch about this holiday that Duo loved so well; yet he had already begun; and he knew Duo would not leave him alone until he laid it all out.

"Why does Christmas mean so much to you, Duo?" he asked at last. "I know you quite well by now; you have never struck me as devoutly Christian..."

Duo blinked, not having expected the question, and pondered for a moment.

"Welllllll..." he drew out, lacing his hands behind his head and gazing up at the interior roof of the SUV. "You're right; it's really not a religious thing. It's more...it's more what Christmas has come to mean in general--remembering and being with family and loved ones, peace, happiness, goodwill, all that...it's kind of a warm-fuzzy closure to the year, and it tends to bring out the best in people..."

"The best? " Wufei looked askance at him. "This I have yet to see," he scoffed. "I see mindless masses thronging the stores, bickering among themselves over petty items of little real value. I see vast outpourings of false charity to ease guilty souls who cannot be bothered with such generosities the rest of the year. I see spoiled children throwing tantrums, screaming of what they want but cannot have while others go without basic necessities. I see careless, irresponsible party-goers endangering innocent lives because they could not be bothered to find someone to drive them. I am assailed at every turn with tales of Christmas so full of sap and 'heartwarming magic' that they set my teeth on edge. And what have lights and trees and gaudy, tasteless plastic decorations and utterly irritating songs to do with family and loved ones and peace for all mankind?"

"Not much, I guess," Duo answered as Wufei's tirade subsided. "It's...just the way people are accustomed to celebrating. Does it really get you so riled up?" He was thinking guiltily of all the shopping and decorating and generally Christmas-y stuff he'd had Wufei doing these past weeks, and it showed in his eyes.

Wufei's scowl softened.

"Oh no, love, had I minded helping you prepare, you would have heard of it before now. Anything done for you or with you is well worth my time, and never a thing to be complained of. I have enjoyed shopping with you; the delight you take in giving, in doing for others--it makes me fall in love with you over and over again. Bestowing gifts upon you is one of my greatest pleasures in life. And the tree at home that you decorated shows far more taste and care than any others I have seen. I understand that observing such traditions is important to you now because you could not do so as a child. My disillusionment has nothing to do with you; rather, it is with mankind and society in general. I have had very little exposure to Christmas in the course of my life; perhaps I have not yet seen enough. I am afraid I feel a far greater affinity for Ebenezer Scrooge than anything else at this point."

"I understand where you're coming from, 'Fei; really, I do. Even if I don't view it the same way."

"Nor do I wish for you to view things my way. Life would be utterly unbearable with the both of us frumping about ill-tempered and grouchy..."

"Can you imagine?" Duo chuckled. He changed to a squeaky imitation of an old man's voice. "Bah humbug!" he exclaimed, and dissolved into giggles. "I think our friends would have a collective conniption fit..."

Wufei was smiling. "Indeed." He turned the heat down another notch, feeling considerably less cold by now, and caught Duo's gaze. "Will you help me, then, to see the beauty in the season instead of only the negative?"

"It would be my pleasure, 'Fei."

Wufei was still smiling, even as the strains of 'White Christmas' drifted up from the party below. "Be forewarned, however--I do not think it likely that my opinion of holiday music will change. And I would sooner dream of a snowless Christmas than a white one."

"Oh, rest assured, I'm still gonna make you play in the snow," Duo was saying, when suddenly Heero's voice came clearly over the comm system above the background buzz of the party.

<<Marquis de Chevalier, you are hereby placed under arrest on authority of the Preventers.>>

<<You...you backstabbing honorless little son of a Japanese whore--!>> the marquis' voice was cut off by the sound of physical blows.

<<I said -->> There was the distinct 'thud' of Heero's fist connecting with a solar plexus; the marquis' voice groaned in pain and then came the shuffling 'thunk' of a man falling to his knees. <<--that you're under arrest, Marquis. Don't make me repeat it again.>> Heero's voice changed. <<All units, converge on target.>>

There was a great flurry of movement as the hidden Preventer teams exploded from cover and rushed the estate, rounding up guests and shepherding them all inside for questioning or detainment as necessary.

Duo leaned forward and pressed the comm button. "Zero-one, Zero-two--you need us down there too?"

<<Negative, Oh-two. Hold position.>>

"Roger." Duo sat back.

<<And by all means, do sing us another song,>> Trowa's voice piped up.

Duo grinned. "Sorry, Zero-three--that's a one-time performance."

<<More's the pity,>> Trowa sighed.

Duo shook his head. "Well that was a simple enough mission."

"Indeed. Would that all our missions would proceed so smoothly. Without the Christmas carols, however."

"Yeah?" Duo winked at his lover; then rolled down his window and leaned out, drawing his gun and aiming carefully as another carol started up.

<<~Chestnuts roasting on an o--~>>

BLAM! BLAM!

Wufei actually jumped at the noise, staring dumbfounded at the now-smoking ruin of the speakers beneath the porch roof.

And yes, mercifully, the music had stopped.

Wufei turned to stare at his lover, his expression caught somewhere between a delighted grin and blatant disbelief.

Duo shrugged. "Merry Christmas, Wu."

The grin won out. "Bah humbug."

Duo opened his mouth to respond; Wufei held up a hand to cut him off. "If you say--" his voice changed to a simpering falsetto "--'God bless us, everyone!', Duo, I will strangle you." The grin was still in place.

Duo closed his mouth, matching the grin, and leaned in to peck Wufei warmly on the cheek. "I love ya, Grinch."

"Hn." Wufei pulled Duo back over for a real kiss. "I love you too, Duo Maxwell." He paused. "Merry Christmas."

end

-----------------------------
Beg: 12/17/02
End: 12/25/02
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Duo: Well, there you have it, folks. Therapy complete.
TJ: I'm still pouting 'cause Santa didn't bring me sexy stripping Asian boys.
Duo: Get *over* it already, Teej.
TJ: Easy for *you* to say--you've got Wu-bubbles over there...
Duo: Yup. And you've got your Chibi Deathscythe model to assemble.
TJ: (perks up) Ooh yah! ...But I still want sexy stripping Asian boys.
Duo: If you shut up about it I'll see what I can talk 'Fei into...
TJ: (glomps him) Really??
Duo: (pries TJ off) 'He runs, he hides, he never lies'--remember?
TJ: ^_^ (dances in anticipation)
Duo: -_-' I only said I'd see what I could talk 'im into...

[back to TJ Dragonblade's fic]