Finding Love In Fortune Cookies: Good Fortune
by D.C. Logan
Duo opened the pantry door and shifted boxes left and right while muttering to himself. "C'mon!, they have to be in here someplace!"--but no such luck. Just that one unfamiliar red box. Heero must have picked up this brand last Thursday when Duo was homebound with that nasty virus and a longing for something sweet. He didn't get cravings for stuff like that often. Heero had already been on his way over to drop off Duo's prescriptions, so when he'd offered to stop at the market, Duo had caved into the desire and asked Heero to pick up a box of cookies. But by the time Heero had arrived, the desire for the sweet has passed, and the box had been summarily dismissed to the pantry in one of Heero's more efficient moments.
Duo hadn't gone searching for the treat until a few minutes ago. He'd brewed a pot of coffee and wanted, just, hmmm, something sweet to go with it today. The condenser units in his part of the colony were malfunctioning again, and a steady mist was falling; if the temperature dropped any further, it would turn to light sleet soon. A good afternoon for staying in, he'd decided, after sniffling his way though his usual morning paperwork.
The snack he'd been expecting turned out to be a surprise though. Heero had picked up the wrong box. Instead of the expected chocolate chip, he had brought a box of fortune cookies --chocolate ones. This he considered, turning the box about to look at the description--was a strange but acceptable substitute. The coffee shouldn't mind being combined with them, and that was the important thing in any case.
He picked up his book and the box of cookies and dropped them on the kitchen table, then gathered his coffee and his wits and settled down for a prolonged lunch-time reading session.
Duo peeled open the box, unfolded the cover of his book, and reached in one-handed for his first cookie. Damn, individually wrapped. He folded the book and dumped the contents of the box onto the surface of the table, counting roughly twenty cellophane-wrapped treats. Hmm. Five he decided; five would make a reasonable snack. After unwrapping that number and setting the wrappings aside for disposal, he cracked the first cookie and set the halves to one side, the message to the other, and followed the procedure with the remaining four cookies in his small pile. He paused to sip his coffee, unfolded his book again, and read a few sentences before reaching for his first half cookie. It was good, crisp, with a rich bite of chocolate flavor--not a bad substitute at all really...not as filling either.
Two chapters later his hand reached out and met the empty surface of the table. That soon? He clambered out of his reading with some surprise, picked a random message from the stacked pile, slid it between the pages of his book, and took the time to unwrap and crack another five cookies before diving back into his prose again. He cautioned himself to ration them more carefully--or at least to try and make them last another four chapters.
He made it just past an additional twenty pages before his hand found empty space again. Damn, these were addictive. He looked at the remaining cookies and then at his scant one-third remaining cup of coffee. Well, he'd moved beyond the snack category into meal already--not the most nutritious lunch he'd had recently, but it would do. Decision made, he rose, refilled his mug, and returned to the table to unwrap and crack the remaining cookies. Cookie halves to the right; book to the left, coffee to the left of that, and a growing pile of little white folded slips of paper an arm's reach in front of him. That carried him through another five and a half chapters. More coffee. He slid his bookmark back into place and refilled his mug. Satisfied.
It wasn't until he unfolded his book to resume the story that he bothered to read the message on his first fortune:
**THERE IS A GRADUAL IMPROVEMENT. FEELINGS ARE SWEET AND TENDER.** What? He was a bit taken aback by the rather personal nature of his fortune. Apparently they were coming up with better messages at the cookie factory these days... That was eerie. How the hell did they know? He read it again, just to make sure it had said what he thought it had. The message hadn't changed in the interim--but now he was curious. He eyed the small pile of notes with a degree of reservation, but resolved to investigate further.
Leaving the note in the book to hold his place, he set it aside and swept the pile of notes toward him--fanning them across the table with a careful hand and picking his second fortune from the number in front of him.
**YOU WILL BE ATTRACTED TO AN OLDER, MORE EXPERIENCED PERSON!** Well, hell yeah. Though "attracted to" seemed a pretty tame description for all the emotions he felt around Heero. While he didn't know exactly how old he was, if he based it on the respective birthdays they'd selected for themselves, Heero was older than him by about three months. And, in at least in some areas of expertise, well, Heero most definitely had more experience than he did. Reading that gave him the incentive to reach for his third note.
**HOPE IS THE MOST PRECIOUS TREASURE TO A PERSON.** Now wasn't that a dangerous thing to say? He paused. Thinking. Hope. Yeah, hope was downright dangerous as well as something he hid quiet and deep inside him--a precious treasure indeed. Not something he shared with others. He didn't like that one as much --it took him places he'd rather not visit at the moment.
**NOW IS THE TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW.** Hmm. Did that mean what he thought it might mean? Well, he and Heero _had_ been hanging out together more than usual recently. It was all pretty casual so far, and was doomed to remain just a good mutual friendship--unless he *did* try something new. Of course, now that he thought about it, Heero had been making excuses to stop by more often than was his norm. Wasn't that a good sign?
Oh, this was fun. Brainless, unrealistic, unsupported by any tenets of probability, but fun. He reached for another note, and felt his stomach clench with something other than a reaction to all the strong coffee he'd ingested recently.
He closed his eyes and thought about something, anything else for a moment to clear his mind. That shipment of engine components that was expected around three or so. The exact color of the cover on his book. Quatre's new access number. The contents of his refrigerator. He opened his eyes again after a suitable pause. The message hadn't altered one iota though.
**YOU SHOULD HAVE A TALK WITH YOUR FRIEND TODAY.** He thought briefly about the courage it would take to get him to that point, and what Heero's probable reaction would be to: "Hey man, I'm pretty sure I'm in love with both you and your delicious body--wanna go have some hot sex and spend the rest of your life with me?" Duo cried a laugh that sounded a lot closer to a sob into his cupped hand.
What had his life come to that he was considering following the advice of a bit of paper inserted at random into a snack? He considered himself a smart guy. He didn't believe in fortunes. Right. He'd just check one more fortune and then dump the lot of them into the trash.
**THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE OF A ROMANTIC ENCOUNTER SOON.** Well, now *that* sounded a little more encouraging. He took a drink from his mug and closed his eyes again, this time to better visualize the scene that had immediately come to mind. Ooops. Poor word choice. Next note then he thought, pushing that slip of paper to the side so he could revisit it again later.
**GIVE A KISS TO THE PERSON WHO SITS NEXT TO YOU.** Well, he'd just have to save that one for later now, wouldn't he? Duo grinned at the delicious little fantasy he was building for himself out of the pile of fortunes in front of him. This was getting to be fun again. What next?
**YOUR SKILL WILL ACCOMPLISH WHAT THE FORCE OF MANY CANNOT.** Oh, that definitely applied to his kissing technique. Absolutely. No question about it. Not to mention some of the other things he had planned should he ever get Heero into his bed...
**YOUR INGENUITY AND IMAGINATION WILL GET RESULTS.** Oooh. More of the interesting stuff. Good. He dearly hoped that those results were the ones his overactive imagination had been coming up with over the past few minutes...months...years...
**YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL SOMEDAY.** Well, *that* was nice to know. He beamed at the thought.
**DON'T BE AFRAID TO TAKE THAT BIG STEP.** Ah hell, back to that 'having a talk' stuff. He much preferred his fantasy--he *knew* he could keep that going on indefinitely. Once he spilled his hopes, dreams, and fears to Heero, well, that was it then. One way or another. Better to keep the friendship than risk its loss. Still, maybe a good heart-to-heart talk wouldn't hurt. Heero was good at hearing things out and considering all his options before making a decision one way or the other. It might not be such a bad idea after all.
He took another long drink from his coffee mug before picking the next fortune at random from the pile.
**YOUR HEART WILL ALWAYS MAKE ITSELF KNOWN THROUGH YOUR WORDS.** Okay. This was really strange. He picked up the box, empty but for the wrappers he'd absently stuffed inside to clear them from the table. It sure didn't look like it had been tampered with. Odd. Well. Maybe he *would* talk to Heero about all of the feelings he'd had toward him. He'd leave the decision up to the next fortune. If it sounded at all encouraging, well, then, maybe he'd just go ahead and give it a try.
**ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU.** "Oh come on! That's just not fair!" Oh great. Now he was yelling out loud at the fortune cookie gods. What had his love life descended to? This was downright embarrassing.
**YOU HAVE A POTENTIAL URGE AND THE ABILITY FOR ACCOMPLISHMENT.** Yeah, well, that urge had been driving him slowly insane since he'd met the man. And as for the ability, well, he was rock hard just *thinking* about him--so he didn't have much concern there. It was Heero that was the potential problem.
**DILIGENCE IS THE MOTHER OF GOOD FORTUNE.** Uh huh. Sure. Right. It sure didn't feel that way from where he was sitting.
**ASK A FRIEND TO JOIN YOU ON YOUR NEXT VOYAGE.** Well. Now *that* was an idea he might be able to work with... Dinner with Heero maybe. Or a trip to L1 or Earth. There were possibilities there worth some careful consideration. And if the topic of their friendship should happen to come up, and Duo mentioned this attraction he had for his friend, well. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to give it a try....
He eyed the diminishing pile with a cautious glance--he needed a good one next. His hand hovered over one, then another of the notes, oddly indecisive until reason and logic prevailed and he grabbed one with a muttered curse to his superstitious mind.
**YOU WILL BE AWARDED SOME GREAT HONOR.** Well. He'd settle for Heero just agreeing that there was a mutual attraction between them--that would be enough to start with for now, he was pretty sure he could take it from there. And in a worst-case scenario, if he could maintain their friendship, well, that was a great honor he already held. Keeping it, in the light of his manner of affection (okay, and a fair portion of lust) for Heero, would be an honor indeed. Not his preference, not his hope, but, well, there it was...
**YOU'LL ADVANCE FAR WITH YOUR ABILITIES.** Oh, hey, back to the kissing and sex part again. Hot damn. Though, if he was being honest with himself (and the fortune-cookie gods), he'd been working at becoming better company--showing an interest in some of the things Heero enjoyed doing, listening more and running his mouth off less, and in general, trying to be a better friend. Heero seemed to be doing the same--or was that just wistful thinking on his part again?
**THE START OF RICHES IS SHINING UPON YOU.** Well, he'd brought Duo these cookies, right? And the cookies were leading him down an interesting thread of thoughts, right? That was a start--a small one--but a start.
**YOUR LIFE WILL BE HAPPY AND PEACEFUL.** Happy?, well, yeah, that would be nice. Peaceful? Living with Heero? Probably not--fun yes, rewarding yes, satisfying--oh he dearly hoped so. Peaceful, hmmmm, well, maybe....
He spent more time taking his fortunes and arranging them in different order on the table. But after trial and error and a spate of second guessing that was foreign to his usual decisive nature, he shifted them all back to their original positions. He had more faith in the original order he'd read them in. He tried adding "in bed" to the end of a selected few, as Quatre had mentioned once--with some rather wonderful results and not a few tragic laughs. That sound and the internal pain that accompanied it turned his mood from playful to somber with a startling crash. He looked over his last wistful progression of fortunes. Just another fantasy, that was all, in a life-long line of wishful hopes. But sometimes the fantasy was better than a crutch, more important than reality. There were days when it alone kept him going.
He stood and cupped his hand to sweep the notes into the empty box, but paused, and reached out to pocket just one before nudging the remaining pieces into the trash. This one he would keep. A small hope had less of a chance of being destroyed than a large one--and a small hope, if killed, wouldn't destroy him entirely. It would just eat away at a small part of him. He'd keep his big hopes to himself, and take a risk on a little one in exchange. Balancing hopes against wishes against fears. He was good at that...