A Quiet Mission
Such a boring, tiring job and certainly not appreciated enough. Not to mention it was quite a low occupation from some humans perspectives. Some secretaries even used other terms to describe their jobs such as administration officer, time manager, and other relevant phrases to elevate their positions.
Shania Sandburg loved being a secretary.
Especially a secretary to one Duo Maxwell, the private detective.
While being a secretary was probably boring for most people, not so with Shania. 'Maxwell Investigations' office was located on the top floor of a two story building. It was quite small, consisting of one waiting room and one office for her and Mr. Maxwell. There was another room at the back which she never entered because it led to Mr. Maxwell's private quarters.
Granted, working in the small office with Mr. Maxwell was a bit lonely since she was often left by herself when the detective was off on a case, but it was a small price to pay for the amusement she got when watching Mr. Maxwell work on cases. And if she felt really lonely or bored, she could always go to the flower shop downstairs to chat with the florist. It was such a delight to chat with the elderly woman, or that 'meddlesome yenta' as Mr. Maxwell referred to her.
Not to mention that there was always something interesting happened in the 'Maxwell Investigations' office. Almost everyday in fact.
Today was probably one of the more amusing days at Shania's job. It was hard for her to keep a straight face while listening to her employer who was having conversation with someone through the vidphone.
"You want me to what?!"
"I told you already, Duo."
"Look, Hilde, I do accept searching for lost items, but..."
"No buts. It's my favorite item, Duo," came the stern reply from the vidphone's speakers. "I'm curious as hell as why and how the thief appropriated it. I want it back!"
"And I can't go to just any investigator or report it to the police. You know how humiliating this is, not to mention that they won't take it seriously."
"You really are serious..."
"Will you help me or not?"
Hearing her employer's sigh, Shania knew he would accept the case, no matter how humiliating it was.
"Okay, Hilde. I'll help you."
"Thank you, Duo." Hilde's voice had turned cheerful at his acquisition. "I have already told you all the details I know. I'll wait for the result."
After they exchanged their good byes, Mr. Maxwell disconnected the vidphone. He looked up and narrowed his eyes at Shania. She quickly fixed her face into a bland expression.
"Not a word." Mr. Maxwell said to her.
"Yes, Mr. Maxwell," Shania replied cheerfully.
Mr. Maxwell groaned. "Shania, please oh please drop that 'Mr' thing will you? We've been working together for a year. I'm younger than you, for God's sake."
"Younger by two years only, Mr. Maxwell." She so loved making her twenty one year old employer irritated.
Mr. Maxwell groaned and plopped back against his seat. "I'm not going to get out of this case with my honor intact."
"If you want my opinion, Mr. Maxwell, you've had no honor left since you were found butt naked inside the trash bin outside the building a few months ago. Mrs. Michelle told me so."
Mr. Maxwell glared at her. "I told you to stop gossiping with that meddlesome yenta. It's not my fault that my contact betrayed me and the only way I could get out of danger was by using my clothes as bait and hiding inside the bin."
"You should have known that the bin autolocks itself. " Shania flicked at her nails. "You're lucky that Mr. Yuy went to search for you since you didn't meet him as you'd promised to. We all know you never break your promises."
"Yuy!! That's it!!" Mr. Maxwell brightened. He straightened up and dialed his best friend's number. "I'll ask for his help in this case. After all, Hilde is his friend too."
"Uhm, Mr. Maxwell? " Shania said to her employer, "I don't think that's a good idea."
Mr. Maxwell, however, didn't listen to her warning. His call was already being answered at the first ring.
"Hi, Heero!" Mr. Maxwell put on his widest smile, the one he usually used to cajole Shania into buying him donuts in the morning. "Are you busy?"
"Great, I need your help." Straight to the point, that was Mr. Maxwell. Then again, one had to be straight with Mr. Yuy or it would bounce off his thick skull, or so Mr. Maxwell liked to say - fondly.
"Did you get an unknown virus on your computer again?"
"No, your anti virus program makes my baby virus proof. No wonder your computer service business is number one, Heero."
"That's a computer, Duo, not your baby."
"I call her baby because I adore her."
"You even put a gender on it?"
"As if you don't." Mr. Maxwell moved his hands as if he was a baby bird learning to fly. Shania quickly pressed 'capture' on her web camera which she'd conveniently placed facing her employer instead of her face. "Remember Wing?"
"Omae o korosu."
Mr. Maxwell rolled his eyes. "That comment is getting old, Heero." Shania had to admit that she agreed with her employer this time. She heard that phrase every time her employer called Mr. Yuy which meant she heard it every day.
"What do you need my help for then?"
That question made Mr. Maxwell shift slightly before plowing through gamely. "I need your help in finding a thief who stole the steel bar support in Hilde's bra yesterday."
Shania waited excitedly at the silence that followed. It was a usual occurrence for Mr. Maxwell to drag Mr. Yuy into whatever case he was on at the time. It was a good thing that Mr. Yuy worked on his own time so he was free to follow Mr. Maxwell anywhere. While Mr. Maxwell was good in stealth, Mr. Yuy was good in hacking. Of course they both excelled in any kind of tracking or infiltrating. But that was the end of their similarities. Even Shania could hardly believe they were best friends when Mr. Maxwell had first introduced Mr. Yuy to her, so different their appearances and characters were. But then, they did say that opposites attract.
Shania found she didn't have to wait long for Mr. Yuy's reaction this time. The silence was broken by the loud continuous beeping from Mr. Maxwell's computer. Her employer quickly turned to the computer's monitor that sat next to the vidphone.
"What the hell?! Yuy, you bastard! You placed a remote control on my baby!"
Shania leaned away from her desk, situated on the right side of Mr. Maxwell's desk, and saw the screen's monitor was covered with 'Omae o korosu' in a red blinking text and some mobile suits pointing double rifle canons forward. Mr. Maxwell was trying to get rid of the current screen but it seemed that the keyboard didn't want to work.
"Don't joke with me, Duo," Mr. Yuy stated calmly.
"I'm not joking!"
The beeping sound changed into an alarmed one, the one Shania had heard on TV when something bad was going to happen. She glanced again at the screen and now saw a big "Will self-destruct in..." text with the decreasing two digit number below it. The current number was 21. Mr. Yuy really had a weird sense of humor.
"Heero! Stop it!"
"You dare to ask me to find a bra thief?"
"Hilde asked for my help," barked Mr. Maxwell. He gestured wildly. "Stop using your suicidal tendency on my baby!"
"You could always say no."
"She used the best friend approach and now I will use it on you. As my best friend, you gotta help me with this case."
"I thought Hilde was your best friend."
"She is one of my best friends. You are my bestest friend Heero. Bestest ever."
The number stopped at 2.
"I'll be there in ten minutes." Mr. Yuy then disconnected the call.
The number disappeared and Mr. Maxwell's screen turned back to normal. Shania watched her employer sigh in relief and also vexation.
"Prat!" Mr. Maxwell barked at the now blank vidphone's screen and leant back against his seat. "You'll pay for touching my baby, asshole!"
"I think this is his revenge for changing his car's horn to sound like a baby crying," Shania told her employer, remembering the day where Mr. Yuy had stormed into the office shouting death threats. Shania also remembered that after all their scuffles were over, the office looked like a badly wrecked ship. Since that day, she had kept all the important documents and items in a gundanium safety box, the only thing Mr. Yuy couldn't break, or so Mr. Maxwell had told her.
Mr. Maxwell scowled at her. "I just wanted to lighten him up. He didn't have to threaten my baby."
"I did tell you it wasn't a good idea to involve Mr. Yuy," Shania said pointedly.
Her employer scowled deeper. "Don't you have some work to do? Or do I overpay you, Ms. Sandburg?"
That was her cue to focus on her work and let her employer stew alone. Shania knew to bide her time. Things would get more interesting once Mr. Yuy arrived.
The clicking of a gun was the sign that Mr. Yuy had arrived. Shania was so used to Mr. Yuy pointing his gun towards her employer that she didn't react at all anymore. Although she did remember she'd prayed endlessly for her life when she'd met Mr. Yuy in such fashion for the first time.
"Welcome, Mr. Yuy," she greeted the Japanese man. Mr. Yuy's reply was a slight nod to her.
"Heero, you're right on time." Mr. Maxwell waved to his best friend. "Sit down and I'll explain. Put away the gun will ya?"
Mr. Yuy sat down gruffly, stored his gun back in God's know where, and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Well, Hilde told me that she did her laundry yesterday afternoon and hung the clothes in her backyard. When she retrieved them a few hours later, she found out that one of her... " Mr. Maxwell hesitated for a second before continuing blandly, "..bras had lost the steel bar support. She searched her washing machine and retraced her steps from the machine to the backyard, but she didn't find it. Now she wants me to find the culprit. She was curious why the thief took the steel bar but not the bra itself."
"And you accepted the job? Don't you have any dignity left?"
"According to my secretary, no, I don't," Mr. Maxwell replied dryly, shooting daggers at Shania. Shania busied herself with the papers but kept her ears sharp.
"Why ask for my help?"
Mr. Maxwell gestured toward himself, "Male, remember? I know nothing about bras!"
Mr. Yuy narrowed his eyes dangerously. "And you think I do?"
"Not really, but I'd prefer to work on this together."
There were a few seconds silence. Shania guessed Mr. Yuy needed the time to decide whether to take this as a joke and shoot her employer or to take it seriously, thus sacrificing his own dignity.
Seeing Mr. Yuy's hesitation, Mr. Maxwell used his best weapon. The kicked puppy eyes which even Shania was hard pressed to ignore and not do whatever Mr. Maxwell wanted.
"I must have lost my mind to help you.... " Mr. Yuy muttered finally. Shania knew then he had chosen to believe Mr. Maxwell. What a very good friend Mr. Yuy was. Judging from her employer's beaming face, Mr. Maxwell realized it too.
"Thank you, Heero!! I'm really really really grateful for your help!"
"Where's the bra in question?" Mr. Yuy asked, cutting into her employer's delight.
"On its way here. She asked her boyfriend to drop it off."
"What is this bra's steel bar support?"
"I have no idea! I never knew until now that women use steel bars for their bras' support! Women are weird, I tell you." Of course, Mr. Maxwell belatedly remembered that his own secretary was a woman. He quickly tried to fix his mistake though by adding, "present company excepted, of course."
"Of course, " Shania said flatly.
Mr. Yuy gave Mr. Maxwell a look that said 'you dig your own grave, baka," and turned to her. "Can you tell me what a bra's steel bar support is?"
"Why, Mr. Yuy, I'm only a secretary and can't explain it well." Shania put her best innocent expression. "I think it's better for you and Mr. Maxwell to go to the store and take a look at them."
Mr. Maxwell moaned pitifully. "We are men, Shania. Men don't go to lingerie stores and inspect bras! Please, have mercy. I'm sorry for what I said."
Shania put on her affronted look. "Surely you're not asking me to show you my bra, Mr. Maxwell? Only my husband can look at my bra!"
"You haven't got a husband or a boyfriend yet, " Mr. Maxwell pointed out sullenly.
"My future husband then." Shania lifted her chin arrogantly. "This is a matter of principle, Mr. Maxwell. I'm not going to show my underwear to men who don't share my bed."
"She hates me," Mr. Maxwell moaned again.
Mr. Yuy glared at her but a year of watching him glaring at her employer had made her quite immune. She straightened and brightened up. "I have an idea. You can disguise yourself as a woman and go to the store, Mr. Maxwell. Mr. Yuy can act as your boyfriend who's accompanying you shopping. That way both of you can look at the bras for as long as you like."
Mr. Yuy tilted his head slightly, thinking about her suggestion, then nodded his head. "Plausible idea." He stood up, seized Mr. Maxwell's braid and dragged him toward the door leading to the back where Mr. Maxwell lived. "Let's see what you have in your wardrobe."
"Hey, wait a minute, I didn't agree to be the woman in disguise," Mr. Maxwell protested.
"Your case, your responsibility."
"I know you will make a beautiful woman, just like you did in the case where you had to follow a certain senator's wife into her favorite lesbian club." Shania said cheerfully.
"What! Shania, who told you that!? No one knows.... Oh no, not the old yenta again! ... wait until I......"
Whatever Mr. Maxwell wanted to say was muffled by the door closing. There were muffled shouts and scuffling sounds behind it. Then it was silent. Shania grinned and went back to her paper work.
The door opened again half an hour later. A woman in a white turtleneck blouse and deep purple flowing skirt came out. Mr. Yuy came up behind the woman, looking slightly unsettled. Shania let herself grin then. Mr. Maxwell really made a beautiful woman. He had unbound his hair and put lipstick and make up on his face. He was wearing black, ankle length boots and carried a deep purple purse.
"You look beautiful, Mr. Maxwell." Shania thought that Mr. Yuy certainly agreed with her assessment, considering the Japanese man never took his eyes off of Mr. Maxwell's figure.
Mr. Maxwell grumbled. "I think Heero would make a more beautiful woman."
At the mention of his name, Mr. Yuy snapped out of his staring. "In your dreams, Duo." He then pushed Mr. Maxwell forward. Shania noticed he did it gentler than he usually did. "Let's go."
"Slow down, Heero. It's hard to walk in these high heel boots!"
Shania watched the pair as they left on their mission, her fingers kept a steady clicking on the 'capture' button of her web camera as the pair passed her desk on the way out.
"Good luck, Miss Maxwell," she said cheerfully.
Her employer's reply was a curse word.
"I never knew there were so many types of bras!" were Mr. Maxwell's words when they returned. Her employer sat down in his seat and started complaining. "Night bras, sport bras, half cup bras, full cup bras, oh God, I even memorize the bra types. Just kill me now."
Shania watched her employer bang his head on the desk. Mr. Yuy was standing near him, still staring at Mr. Maxwell.
"Heero here was useless! He just stood like a statue and blinked when I asked him questions." Mr. Maxwell glared up at his best friend. "What the hell happened to you anyway, Heero?"
Mr. Yuy shifted slightly. "I got ... distracted." He said the last word grudgingly.
"Distracted? Distracted by what? The only thing you stared at during our visit to the shop was me."
Mr. Yuy shifted again.
"Stop your wiggling. What's up with you today. You never wiggled before. Men only wiggle when they are uncomfortable or aroused or........ " Mr. Maxwell's tirade was halted as comprehension struck him. "Oh."
Shania kept silent, certain that both men had forgotten she was in the same room with them.
"I think I'd better go .."
"Not so fast, Heero." Mr. Maxwell snatched his retreating friend's hand.
Mr. Yuy froze at the touch.
Mr. Maxwell froze too.
Shania felt her heart beat fast in anticipation.
"Bra delivery!" came a cheerful shout from the front door.
"Richie!" Mr. Maxwell let go of Mr. Yuy's arm and approached the strawberry blond man. "Where's the damn bra?"
Richie whistled. "Hey babe, are you Duo's girl? If I didn't have Hilde, I'd surely hit on you." He made to step closer toward Mr. Maxwell.
Mr. Yuy cocked his gun and pointed it at Richie. "Stop."
Richie stopped. "Uh, hi, Heero! Didn't see you there." He eyed the gun in Mr. Yuy's hand nervously. "She's your girl, isn't she? I'm just kidding. I won't touch her, man, I swear. I have my own beautiful and precious Hilde remember?"
"Heero, put the gun down, " Mr. Maxwell said in exasperation, then addressed Hilde's boyfriend. "Give me the bra, Richie."
Richie crossed his arms "Sorry Miss, Hilde said to give it to Duo."
It was obvious then that Mr. Maxwell had lost his patience, judging from the way he seized Richie's hand and threw him down.
Richie blinked as he suddenly found himself sprawled on the floor. "Duo?"
"Didn't recognize me, huh? I really wonder why Hilde chose a scatter brained kid like you as her boyfriend." Mr. Maxwell straightened and tossed his hair over his shoulder. He helped Richie to stand before demanding, "Where's the bra?"
Richie took the bra out of his pocket and surrendered it to Mr. Maxwell. "Here you go. I need to go back to Hilde quickly." He was off in flash. Shania suspected he couldn't wait to tell Hilde about Mr. Maxwell being one hot babe.
There was a gurgling noise that caught Shania's attention then. Mr. Yuy was trying to stop his bleeding nose with his hands.
"Heero? What happened to your nose?" Obviously Mr. Maxwell had noticed too.
"I think he got a look at your panties when you flipped Richie, Mr. Maxwell," Shania answered.
"I did not!" Mr. Yuy denied vehemently.
"This is the first time I've see you show some ordinary, human reaction." Mr. Maxwell looked torn between amusement and awe. "Here, let me clean up the blood." He held up the ready cloth in his hand, which unfortunately turned out to be Hilde's bra.
"Don't come near me." Mr. Yuy took a step back, snatching tissues from Shania's tissue box.
"Why not?" Mr. Maxwell belatedly remembered what was in his hand and grinned apologetically, putting the bra on the nearest desk, which happened to be Shania's. "I wonder why you're reacting like this? You were your usually cold self when Relena seduced you with her skimpy outfit. Hell, you even didn't get a hard on looking at her."
"Maybe Mr. Yuy's body realizes who he is attracted to when that certain someone shows up as a female, Mr. Maxwell?"
Mr. Maxwell brightened as if there was a sun in the room. "Is that true Heero?"
Mr. Yuy made an incoherent noise and took another step back.
"You are attracted to me?" Mr. Maxwell said in disbelief. That expression however was quickly replaced with one of delight. "Did you know I'm attracted to you as well, Heero?"
Mr. Yuy shook his head warily.
"Well, I am." Mr. Maxwell smiled. It didn't last long though. The smile turned into a wicked smirk as Mr. Maxwell cradled his fake breasts in each hand. "So you like what you are seeing, Heero?" Mr. Maxwell batted his eyelashes.
Fresh blood began to spurt from Mr. Yuy's nose. The Japanese man then did something Shania bet he'd never done before.
He ran away. Retreating into Mr. Maxwell private quarters.
Mr. Maxwell grinned, his eyes were those of a predator. "If anyone calls, Shania, tell them I'm very busy. Not to be disturbed unless they want to risk premature death."
"Certainly, Mr. Maxwell."
Shania watched her employee stalk after his retreating best friend into his private quarters and close the door. "I'm coming, Heero!"
The scuffling sounds started behind the closed door. They continued for a few minutes before changing. This time instead of silence, there were certain thumping sounds. Shania grinned widely as moans and shouts joined the racket. She picked up the vidphone and dialed a number.
A woman in her fifties with white, curly hair appeared on the screen. Colorful flowers decorated the background.
"Mrs. Michelle, they finally saw the light."
The elder woman beamed. "Finally! I knew they were pining for each other from the first time I saw them."
"I have some photos here. I'm sending them to you." Shania said as she put the bra her employer had abandoned into a ziplock bag.
"Marvelous! Come down after you finish work. We'll go over them together."
"I'll be there in half an hour."
"Excellent! I'll see you then. Now I have to go tell Hilde that our mission was a success."
"Of course. I'll see you soon, Mrs. Michelle." Shania smiled and disconnected the call. She spent some minutes looking over her new photo collection while the thumping behind the closed door started its second round.
She so loved being a secretary.