By TJ Dragonblade
see chapter 1 for warnings, dislcaimer
Notes: At last, Chapter 8!! A turning point for Wufei, accompanied by some highly useful anger... ADD'L WARNING: Ugly words. A couple of 'em. Very un-pc names--proceed with caution. My apologies for any offense--none is intended, and Wufei *does* beat the crap outta the guy who used 'em...

Lost & Found + Chapter 8

Wufei was in a very positive mood as he rode off to work that morning. He had a plan at last, an end in sight to this drudgery he'd tied himself down to. More than that, he had Duo.

And Duo was willing to wait for him.

That made him happier than anything else ever could have.

He actually smiled at the girl manning the front desk and offered a greeting when he walked in, ignoring the incredulous stare she gave him in return. He went straight to his office, quickly typed up a politely formal resignation that cited his last day as precisely two weeks away, and emailed it to the department head, unable to keep from smiling slightly the entire time.

He was happy. Happy! Genuinely, truly, bursting-with-joy happy.

It lasted until mid-morning.

He had decided to actually take his coffee break in the employee lounge instead of at his desk as he usually did; he was settled comfortably in a chair browsing the newspaper for a moment when two other people walked in.

"So like--ohmigod, what's up with Chang today?"

That he recognized as the voice of the receptionist. He was about to answer, thinking perhaps that her odd question was addressing him, when her friend beat him to it.

"Why, what's the little prick done now?"

Clearly, neither of them even realized that he was the one sitting behind the paper as they gabbed by the coffee machine. Wufei listened, temper rising the longer he did so.

The receptionist answered. "He said 'hi' when he came in this morning, man. It was freaky."

"Chang? Said hi?"

"Uh huh. He seemed like...happy."

"You know what I think?" The friend's voice he now recognized as the girl who kept quarters across the hall from his. "I think he's gettin' laid, girl."

"No way."

"Way. He didn't come home last night, or the night before. But yesterday morning he shows up in a rush, wearing his uniform and it's all wrinkly and messed up..." The girl snickered. "And ya wanna know the best part? Louie down at the bar told me he saw Chang chattin' up some pretty-boy guy the other night and they left together in a damn big hurry..."

"No way. You think he's gay?"

"Louie says the other guy looked like a male prostitute..."

"Dude." The receptionist giggled. "You're tellin' me Chang's out cruisin' for gay whores?"

"Excuse me." Wufei stood abruptly, dropping the paper back to the table beside him with a sharp slap, rage simmering. Picking apart his private life was one thing; dragging Duo's name through the mud was absolutely intolerable. "My sexual orientation is none of your business," he said coldly, noting the embarrassed shock in their faces with fierce satisfaction. "And I'll thank you not to fling about hapless accusations regarding my friend's character." He turned to walk out.

"So it's true then, huh?" The girl who lived across the hall spoke up behind him.

"I beg your pardon?" Wufei's civility was wearing thin.

"It's true. He's a filthy slut-whore from down off Van Buren and you're his john, is that it? You wouldn't be getting so defensive if it wasn't..." There was a glint of evil glee in the woman's eyes.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," Wufei snarled, hands clenched at his sides as he advanced a step on the girl.

"Oh please." The girl shook her head. "You're such an asshole nobody'd ever sleep with you unless you paid 'em," she retorted. "And now what--you've gone and fallen in love with your favorite hooker? And he only cares about your money. How pathetic."

It was with great difficulty that Wufei kept his temper in check. "You know nothing of me, and less of him," he growled. "Keep out of my affairs."

"Or what? You'll beat me up?" She glanced at his clenched fists and raised her own. "C'mon, Chang, let's go. Right here."

"Um..." The receptionist was beginning to look worried, glancing back and forth between the two of them.

Wufei stepped back and unclenched his hands, forcing himself to let it drop and leave. "You would not be worth the effort," he sneered disdainfully, turning to open the door.

"What, you're not man enough to take on a real woman?"

He barely glanced up at her aggressive face. "It is women of your temperament that make me glad I prefer my own gender," he said smoothly, and walked out without waiting for her reaction.

He stalked back to his office, his good mood gone. These people were all such idiots...and to think that that...that woman felt it within her rights to spy on him and make slanderous comments about Duo...he fumed as he sat at his desk, unable and unwilling to return to the reports he was supposed to be typing.

He was genuinely mystified and most annoyed by that girl's antagonism. He had never spoken to her before today, had rarely even seen her; yet she seemed full of hatred and itching to take it out on him...

He shook his head. There were times he would swear he'd be better off living as a hermit, somewhere far off and removed from the company of people.

With Duo, of course...

His vidphone chirped.

Schooling his face into a civil expression, Wufei swung his chair around and pressed the 'accept call' button. "Chang."

<<Ah, Wufei--I'm glad I caught you.>> It was his shift supervisor. <<I received your resignation a little earlier--we'll be sad to see you go.>>

Wufei inclined his head slightly in acknowledgement, neither agreeing with nor disputing the man's statement. They both knew it was bull. The supervisor continued. <<I needed to ask, though, if you'd be willing to put off your final day a little more, just in case we can't find someone to replace you so quickly...>> He trailed off, waiting.

Wufei's brows drew together in a frown; it was with great effort that he kept his tone of voice pleasant. "I will consider it."

<<I could really use the assurance, Wufei. We're a bit short-staffed as it is-->>

"I said I will consider it," he repeated, a little more forcefully. "Good day." He disconnected the call before he did something rash--screaming at the man and putting a fist through the monitor, perhaps. That was certain to have undesirable consequences.

But really--the nerve of the man, to address him with such transparent politeness and pretend that Wufei was an invaluable member of their organization--any temp with half a brain could take over for him with minimal instruction. 'Replacing' him would not be a problem. The idiot was merely flexing his administrative muscles for one reason or another, probably because he--like everyone else, apparently--simply did not like Wufei.

But what truly irked the Asian youth was the fact that his sense of duty had him considering the man's request.

~Another week would not be so bad,~ the sour little voice whispered in his mind. ~I am certain Duo would wait...~

"Shut up," Wufei growled aloud. "I will give no more of my life to these imbeciles." He slammed both fists down on his desk. "Dammit! And this day started out so well..." He trailed off as he realized what he was doing, and a half-smile flitted across his features.

"Feh. And now I am talking to myself...Duo would be delighted. Or have me committed..."

The thought of the American softened his scowling brow and brought a full smile back to his face.

"Duo," he sighed, quietly, memories of the boy swirling up to surround him. The last two days had been simply perfect--it was as though he had been living in a darkened room these past four years, so accustomed to the dimness that he hardly remembered what he was missing. Duo's arrival had thrown open the shutters, the windows, and flooded that room with sunlight, a sunlight so pervasive and all-encompassing that it chased every shadow and cobweb from the corners, filled him with life, and left him wondering how he had ever survived without it.

And now his job was nonchalantly drawing the blinds once more.

Wufei shook himself slightly and drew in a determined breath.

"No," he said, softly, and reached for the dialing mechanism on the vidphone.

<<Scottsdale Hilton, how may I direct your call sir?>>

"Room 542, please."

<<One moment...>> The girl behind the desk disappeared; she had looked and sounded terribly bored. Wufei stared at the 'Connecting...please hold...' message on the screen, waiting for the call to go through.

<<Hello?>> Duo's face appeared, looking politely mystified. <<Oh, hiya 'Fei! I was wondering who on earth would be calling me here!>> That elfin face brightened considerably, and Wufei could not help smiling in response.

"Hello, Duo." He drank in the sight of the boy, memory reminding him again of how wonderful it felt to hold Duo, to lie in the other youth's arms, to touch him, to kiss him, to do all the other things they had done...he focused on Duo's lovely violet eyes as the American spoke.

<<So what's up, huh?>>

"Things have happened this morning that have me thinking; I think it would be best if you left town tomorrow as you had planned. Better yet, leave tonight." Only after it was said did he realize how heartless it sounded and winced.

Those enchanting eyes widened in shock and Duo went pale. <<But...but...'Fei-->>

Wufei reached two fingertips out and placed them over the electronic image of Duo's lips without thinking. "It is not that I no longer wish to be with you, Duo--far from it. I want you in my life, by my side, for eternity." He dropped his hand and lowered his gaze. "They asked me to stay longer than two weeks. I found myself considering." He raised his eyes again, meeting Duo's fiercely. "I do not want to stay; but I fear that if you are here with me, there will be no pressing reason to leave and my sense of duty will have me acquiescing and I will never be free of this place..."

Understanding dawned on Duo's features. <<Then I leave tonight,>> he said without hesitation. <<Just bring me your contact info so I can tell you where I end up. And...will you take me to the airport, so I can say a proper goodbye?>>

Tears welled up behind Wufei's eyes at how willingly, how quickly his lover agreed to whatever he asked; he blinked them away before they could show. "Of course, Duo. I will meet you back at the hotel when I get off."

<<Alright then.>> Duo's face showed nothing but determination, and the slight waver in his voice was very nearly undetectable. But Wufei didn't miss it.

"Thank you, Duo." He paused. "I love you..."

Duo smiled, and Wufei all but melted. <<I know. I love you too.>> He blew a quick kiss and disconnected the call.

Wufei sighed.

He had just set himself up to be miserably lonely these last two weeks, he knew; but at least this way he could guarantee that indeed they were his last.

He smiled.

His office door slammed open.

"Alright, you little faggot, you get to deal with me now."

Wufei's head snapped up; the man who'd burst in and addressed him with such rude vulgarity was no one he recognized. "Who in hell are you?" he snapped, feeling perfectly justified in doing so given the circumstances.

"Get up and face me like a man, you little prick." The newcomer was heavily built and stood a good head taller than Wufei; he strode forward and swept the top of Wufei's desk clean with one arm, heedless of the pens and papers and other assorted paraphernalia that crashed to the floor.

Wufei leapt up, outraged. "Get out of my office," he growled; and anyone who knew him would have recognized the dangerous tone of warning in his voice.

"Uh uh." The ape-like brute shook his head. "You threatened Marie, now you're gonna deal with me." He grinned, showing his teeth in a menacing fashion.

"Marie?" Who in hell was Marie?

"That's right--she's my girl, and I watch out for her."

Movement in the doorway caught Wufei's eye; it was the girl from the break room, the one who lived across the hall from him.

Suddenly everything fell into place, and Wufei's temper snapped.

He stepped around the desk and eyed the man coldly. "So. You have come in defense of your honorless bitch." He spat that last word; normally he would never consider using such a term but these people had pushed him too far.

"Watch your mouth, chink," the ape snarled, and swung one massive meaty fist at Wufei's head.

The blow was ridiculously easy to dodge; the man's skills were truly laughable. Wufei ducked and countered, slamming the heel of one hand into his assailant's solar plexus. The man's breath whooshed out and he doubled over with a choked sound of pain; Wufei delivered two more expertly precise blows and the brute dropped to the floor, unconscious.

"You little bastard!!" The girl in the doorway, Marie, screeched and rushed at him, hands clawed before her as though to scratch his eyes out or some such nonsense. Wufei caught her wrists and swung her around with hardly an effort; before she realized it she was shoved forward over his desk with both arms twisted up behind her back, immobilized.

She screamed. "Lemme up!! I'll kick your ass!"

Wufei avoided her flailing feet and put a little more pressure on her arms, causing her to cry out.

"You son of a bitch," she gasped, still struggling.

"And what, pray tell, have I ever done to you?" Wufei asked coldly, keeping her pinned.

She laughed, a harsh sound that seemed to indicate he should know already. "I'm from 06E3."

When it became apparent that she was planning to divulge no further information, Wufei sighed in irritation. "And what has that to do with me?"

Again, the mocking laugh. "Oh come on, Chang, don't tell me you can't put two and two together!"

Wufei was beyond exasperated. 06E3 was the colony that Winner had destroyed when he first activated the Zero System. Wufei had never been there himself. He was about to tell the girl so when a horrified voice sounded behind him.

"What the hell is going on in here??"

Wufei glanced over; the shift supervisor was standing in the doorway, mouth agape. His eyes roamed over the scattered papers and tousled furniture; they took in the unconscious man on the floor and settled accusingly on the Chinese Preventer.

"Chang, let her go."

But of course the fool would side against him without seeking any of the facts first--Wufei's temper boiled over again.

"No."

"Chang--"

"Keep out of this!" Wufei snarled, the glare he directed at the man enough to silence any further demands. He returned his attention to his captive, pressing lightly on her arms. "Now. I ask again--what do you have against me?"

Marie spat on the seat of his chair. "My family was still on 06E3 when you blew it up, asshole! You killed everyone that I had!"

Wufei blinked, befuddled. "I had nothing to do with the destruction of that colony."

She wrenched against his grip, to no avail. "Bullshit! I know you were a Gundam pilot, Chang, so don't lie to me!"

Understanding dawned, and Wufei laughed. It was cruel, perhaps; but by this point he was far beyond caring. "You idiot," he said disdainfully, just short of a sneer. "You think we Gundam pilots are all interchangeable, that each of us answers for the sins of the others?" He leaned closer, anger giving his words heat. "I was in a cell on the moon when 06E3 was destroyed. I knew little of that pilot, had barely ever met him at that point." He laughed again, condescendingly, and straightened up. "You hate me for things I never did--how utterly pathetic. Such a waste of your time." He released the girl; she barely moved, seeming completely deflated.

Wufei dusted off his uniform pants and glanced back. "And if ever you met the pilot responsible, you would find him most apologetic and sincerely regretful of those actions. He is a greater man than any of us could ever hope to be; but even great men make mistakes."

"Regrets, apologies, admissions of guilt--none of that brings my family back," Marie said acidly, not moving from where he'd left her.

"Nor does your hatred, particularly when aimed at me," Wufei stated flatly. "It was war, Woman. Atrocities happen. Get over it." He was frankly amazed at his lack of sympathy, particularly in light of his own history; but again, he was far beyond caring. Duo's reappearance in his life had given him the impetus to finally let go of the past, to move on. Doubtless he would have been kinder to someone with whom he was on friendlier terms; but Marie had pushed all the wrong buttons for all the wrong reasons.

Wufei turned away, glancing up at the dumbfounded supervisor. "Get out of my way. I am done with this place." He stepped over the unconscious form of Marie's boyfriend on the floor.

The supervisor swallowed nervously, sidling out of the doorway. "You...you're leaving now?"

"Yes."

"But...you can't! Your two weeks aren't up yet--you gave your notice!"

Wufei turned the full force of his glare on the man, annoyed by the idiot's inability to fathom such disregard for procedure.

"Fuck your two weeks notice," he said succinctly, biting off each word; and strode out of the ruined office without a backward glance.

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