Disclaimers: (sigh) Don't own them--just enjoy fiddling around with their brains on an occasional basis.

Warnings: 1+2, bad language, cop humor

Author's Notes: This is unrelated to "Finding Love In Fortune Cookies" (sorry)--I had some fortunes sitting around on my desk for use in FLIFC part 3, and I decided to borrow them for a while. This was my entry for the Moments of Rapture 'dating fic' contest (and I wrote this under deadline conditions--so it's very, very unbetaed).

Trading Fortunes
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 fault).

"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 of us?"

"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.

"They're Martin's."

Right on schedule.

"Heero? We're hungry now. We'll buy him some more snacks tomorrow."

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 individually wrapped."

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 stale."

"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 couldn't tell.

"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 all."

"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 exploits then?"

"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?"

"Uh. No."

"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 strangers]."

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 problem?"

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 bed."

"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 bait.

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 Friday."

"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]. In bed."

"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 this?"

"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 way."

"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 him.

"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?"

"Yes Heero."

"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, shall we?"

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. "Yes."

"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 it?"

"We're dating?"

"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].


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