by D.C. Logan
"You feel like ordering takeout?"
"It's three in the morning Heero, even if we called it in,
no one would deliver it."
Despite the ungodly hour, neither agent was the least bit
bored, stir crazy, or cursing the funeral they'd traded
these shift hours to attend.
Well, except for the dead guy (since it really wasn't his
"Believe me Duo, I'm well aware of the fact that it's
'oh-my-god it's early in the morning.' Stakeouts suck."
"Thanks for the tip Heero; I don't think I could have
figured out that one on my own."
The four meter by five-meter room had been draped in
blackout cloth to conceal the lighting within. It reminded
Duo of the fabric in Richards' casket the week before... not
a pleasant thought, not one he cared to share with his
unusually forward partner either.
The sole contents of said room included two men, a table,
three chairs, a recorder and a microphone, a coffeemaker
that Reno had smuggled in the day before, and a sofa that
had been too large to move and reeked of old dog. Duo had
laid claim to the sofa, while Heero balanced on one of the
stilt-legged chairs under the pretense of monitoring the
equipment set up to listen to the silence in the apartment
two rooms over.
Bored out of their gourds.
Which worked to Heero's advantage since he was the one
waiting for Duo to make up his mind. Yeah, he'd finally
gotten around to asking his partner last Friday if he'd be
willing to start a relationship with him... take it slow,
start dating, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And Duo had
been delaying his answer for three days now (since he knew
that the suspense was killing Heero and he couldn't resist
doing that). But the early hour and isolation was working
to Heero's advantage, and Duo could feel his resolve to
drag this out another day or two slowly become crushed
under the weight of the boredom of the early-morning,
absolutely pointless stakeout for Preventers. He was just
waiting for Heero to start pressing him for an answer...
Okay, so the inactivity and oppressive silence was eating
at him. Time to poke Heero again. "Yeah, this was a picnic
assignment all right."
"Well, considering that first shift noted on the ledger
that she packed a bag and left for the weekend, I don't see
much point in sitting here... This really bites."
Duo looked over at his partner with interest. Poor Heero,
he must really be hurting. "Sucking and biting, eh?
Speaking of which, did Martin leave us any food?"
Heero looked under the table, where the dim bulb cast
little light. "Not sure. Hang on, there's a bag of stuff."
He reached under and retrieved his prize. "It's labeled 'do
not touch... this means you.'" He looked under the table
again, surprised. "It was really crammed under there."
Duo rested his head on the back of the sofa, sniffed at
Heero's comment, and upped his impression to either a large
dog or a pack of small ones with bladder deficiencies.
"Definitely Agent Martin's then. Anything good in there?"
"I don't know, here, you look." Heero wadded up the bag and
tossed the grubby bundle underhand to his partner. It
clinked oddly in transit.
Duo caught it and immediately stated to paw through it,
reciting a laundry list of its contents to Heero as he
explored: "Aha, looks like Martin has been a bad boy... he
was stashing a couple of empty beer bottles, a skin mag, a
box of cookies, and one, two, three candy bars."
"What kind of cookies? Anything edible?"
Duo lifted the box in question from the bag and held it to
the light to examine it further. "Well, the box is sealed,
so he probably didn't get a chance to poison them. Looks
like fortune cookies," he rummaged some more, "a plain
chocolate bar, and another one with peanuts and caramel in
it, the third one has a bite taken out of it and I don't
want to risk infection... his sense of humor sucks. That's
it for Martin's stuff, but if you're thirsty, there's some
coffee left over from last shift... it's cold, Agent Colby
made it, and you'll probably have to scrape it out of the
pot with a fork and bleach your stomach lining if you
manage to survive the experience of drinking the stuff."
Heero glanced apprehensively over at the machine. It had a
formidable reputation after all. "Is there enough for both
"Coffee? Hell yeah, hand me your mug." Duo traded the
cookie box for Heero's favorite cup... the one with a Leo
series MS on it... and crouched by the coffee maker, trying
to figure out how to retrieve the contents of the pot
without getting bitten. "Go ahead and open that while I
start scraping your drink into your cup."
Duo waited for the rebuttal.
Right on schedule.
"Heero? We're hungry now. We'll buy him some more snacks
Heero shrugged, he wasn't about to argue ethics with Duo
while his partner was armed with the coffee-like sludge,
besides which, he was hungry too. He twisted the packaging
open and peered inside, rattled the box, and looked again.
The scenery hadn't changed in the interim. "They're
Duo didn't even look up from scraping out a second cup of
coffee from the machine. "Have you ever been in Martin's
kitchen? No? Well, let me just say that it's no wonder the
man buys prepackaged food."
Finished with harvesting the coffee, he trudged back over
to the sofa, extending Heero's mug out to him en route.
"I'll trade you this fine one-of-a-kind coffee experience
for a handful of those cookies."
Duo clutched the cookies to his chest and wandered back to
the sofa before cautiously sampling his coffee. He
unwrapped a cookie and tried his drink again, this time
better prepared for the caffeine jolt. The immediate cookie
chaser camouflaged the aftertaste fairly well. "Okay, the
coffee's awful, but the cookies aren't too bad."
Heero was crunching on a cookie while peering into his mug,
trying to determine the possibility of the contents etching
the design off of the outside of his mug. "Mine's a little
"The coffee or the cookie?"
"Which do you think?"
There was a harrumphing sound from the corner of the room
nearest the door... not incidentally, very close to where
Duo was sitting.
Heero swallowed his cookie and turned his fortune over in
his hand... holding it closer to the light source to make
the fuzzy print easier to read. He read it to himself, and
had a curious thought crawl into his head. "Duo?"
"What's your fortune say?"
Duo looked up at him from the sofa, he was still eating his
first cookie, or he might be on his second one, Heero
"You don't actually believe in that shit, do you Heero?"
"Hey, don't take my head off... I'm just curious about what
I should watch out for... the two of us being partners and
"Yours first then."
"Here, read it yourself." Heero held out the message, and
was summarily ignored for his trouble.
"What, left your reading glasses at home Heero? Besides,
I'm not moving unless the world ends." He looked up at
Heero, tired and hungry etched in his expression. "Let me
know if the world ends, okay?"
Heero squinted and read the fortune aloud for Duo's
benefit. "Okay, 'How to speak Chinese'...hell, wrong side,
here we go: [Working with children has a miraculous effect
on your spirit]."
Duo leaned back into the mismatched cushions and chuckled
darkly. "Ouch. Didn't know you were a pedophile Heero."
Heero's tone hovered somewhere between disbelief and
injured confusion. "Excuse me?"
"You have to add 'in bed' to the end of your fortune...
usually makes them more interesting... so 'Working with
children has a miraculous effect on your spirit in bed.'"
Duo rolled that thought around in his head for a moment
before adding, "That's really sick Heero."
"Only you would participate in such a system Duo. Okay,
your turn, what does your fortune say about your bedroom
"Hang on a second..."
"That's more than a second." Heero peered through the dim
room at his partner. "Hey, are you turning red over there?"
"Come on, give. What does it say?"
If Heero listened carefully and tilted his head just so, he
could just make out some indistinct mumbling over in Duo's
corner. Not loud enough to make out the actual words
though. "What was that Duo?"
"I said, [An hour with friends is worth more than ten with
Heero took advantage of the remark to return the evil
chuckle Duo had used earlier. "So, you're going for quality
over quantity? Who have you been in bed with?"
"None of your business Yuy. Not that I'd have any
opportunity with the hours we keep. What's your next
fortune advise you to do about your little pedophilia
Heero opened his next cookie, holding the halves in on hand
while he held the slip to the light and read: "It says:
[Everybody feels lucky for having you as a friend]. In
"Oh really? And who is this 'everybody' you've been
sleeping with Yuy?"
Stalemate. Damn. "Here, your turn Duo." Heero rattled the
box in an enticing manner, hoping that Duo would take the
He bit, and Heero tossed him another handful of cookies.
Boring surveillance work forgotten in the face of this new
and exciting opportunity to poke at each other, Duo
crunched through his cookie before announcing that: "[A new
outlook brightens you image and brings new friends]. In
bed." He paused dramatically before issuing his verdict to
the room. "Okay, poor language skills aside, that one
sounds like I should reconsider your proposal from last
"No, I asked if you were interested in hanging out together...
seeing where we might take this."
"Your perverted pedophiliac tendencies?"
"No, you idiot, 'us'."
"Well, now that we know what *my* cookie thinks about your
idea, what does *your* cookie say about that?"
Heero tossed his next cookie into the air for luck and
cracked it open. Duo could see his victorious grin from
across the room and had the distinct impression that, one
way or another, he was well and truly fucked. The man
looked too pleased with himself.
And indeed, as he watched him suspiciously under cover of
the gloom, Heero sat up in his chair, to read his fortune
aloud with great pride: "[Now is the time to go ahead and
pursue that love interest]."
Inwardly Duo groaned in defeat... well whether Heero
realized it or not, dating him was inevitable... he loved
the man after all. That didn't mean he was going to give in
gracefully though... kicking and screaming was more his
style of argument.
"Oh really Heero? If I see any underage boys hanging around
Preventers, I'll be sure to give them your number then."
"Duo! Dammit, I'm serious about this."
"You're whining Heero...let me check to see what my next
cookie says about that. Okay, according to this one, [Your
spirit of adventure leads you down an exciting new path].
"Not on my shift it won't."
"But I thought that was your point Heero... try something
new, explore possibilities. Do stuff together. Talk."
"Aren't we talking together?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"On a regularly scheduled basis?"
"Well, at Une's convenience and Preventers'
less-than-obliging schedule, yeah. Your point being?"
"How is agreeing to date each other any different than
"Hang on a second, I'll come up with something."
Heero groaned and tilted his head back until it rested on
the back of his chair. Duo could barely hear the frustrated
mumbling that sounded suspiciously like "why doesn't that
surprise me at all," after which, Heero gathered something
within himself and faced Duo again. "Okay, we'll play it
"Your wish is my command." Duo thought a moment before
coming up with a snappy rejoinder that fit the current
theme. "Hey Heero? Would you like me better if I walked
around on my knees and pretended to be half my age?"
Heero shifted under the cover of checking the equipment,
but Duo caught a glimpse of the painful retreat he was
trying to conceal from him. He'd pushed him too far. Hell.
"That's enough of that Duo. I know what you're trying to
do, and if you don't want to date, that's fine. But stop
torturing me, okay?"
Okay, way too far. Heero was a lot more sensitive than he
let on at times. Duo shifted the two remaining fortunes
from hand to hand in a rare moment of indecision. Yeah, it
was time to make up. Unintentionally or not, he'd let this
go on for too long, and Heero deserved better treatment
from him than that. He stood, waiting for Heero to notice
"What, so the world is ending?"
Ouch. Heero watched him cautiously as he closed the
difference between them and held his closed fist in front
of Heero's chest. "Here." Heero looked up at him blankly,
unwilling to rise to the bait after the previous barbs that
had passed between them. Duo reached out, carefully
extracted Heero's hand from its position at his side, and
dropped two fortunes onto his palm before returning to his
perch on the sofa.
[The mood is right for a friendly chat to lead to romance].
[You will come to realizations in your life that change you
forever]. Heero read the fortunes, twice, before realizing
that Duo had been holding on to them... not sharing. Had he
been just as nervous about making a statement of intent?
"Is that your answer? Duo?"
"Are you certain? There's no going back from this you know...
it will change everything."
Duo settled his humor mask back into place. Heero saw it
slide back, along with the new knowledge that this was
something that Duo did when dealing with something very
uncomfortable for him. So this was important and
frightening to him as well. The knowledge made him smile,
and he let Duo see a hint that he understood how the game
was played now.
Duo smiled back, but it was a combination of the jester and
the priest, and Heero waited to see what his response would
be. "Let's see what the next few cookies say about that,
Heero played along, and let Duo see that he was trying to
follow his lead. "Hey, I'm trying to be serious here."
"So am I, do you really think that I'm the type that would
leave this momentous decision up to the whims of the
Fortune Cookie Gods?"
Heero smiled back at him, pleased to have found the right
balance between his own fears and Duo's coping mechanism.
"You know me so well Heero Yuy."
"Great. My future with you rests on the fate of whatever
cookie you've grabbed out of Martin's box. Wait, that
didn't come out right."
"Martin's box now is it? And what would you be doing
playing with Martin's... holes."
"Dammit Duo, you know what I mean."
"And what exactly didn't come out right? Don't tell me
you're sexually dysfunctional? Are you Heero?"
"I'll show you dysfunctional Maxwell."
"This dating business is going to be interesting, isn't
"Yeah Heero. Starting now."
"What's your last fortune say Duo?"
Who knew that Heero Yuy could look that wickedly attractive
at three in the morning? "Well Heero, [There's a good
chance for a romantic encounter soon]."
"The Fortune Cookie Gods have spoken; who am I to disobey?"
"I think they outrank both of us, don't you?"
Heero shook the box and checked inside. "There are two more
cookies in the box; do you want me to open them?" He looked
back at Duo, who was ignoring him in favor of estimating
the length of the sofa
"No. That's okay Heero. I have something else in mind for
you right now... save them for later."
Note for the curious: The two last fortunes were eventually
recovered from the crushed box under the table, opened, and
later framed under glass. They currently hang on the east
wall in Heero and Duo's bedroom. They read: [The smart
thing to do is to begin trusting your intuitions], and [The
one you love is closer than you think].