Genre: Action, Drama, Humour (some)
Pairings: 1x5, others tba
Warnings: Violence, language, sex, adult situations
Spoilers: Yes, quite a lot for end of series (no EW though)
Feedback: Please! Particularly what you like/don't like about the fic.
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing belongs to its owners (Bandai, Sunset, and a whole
host of others, none of which are me) and I'm not making any money off
of them. Not a single peanut.
AN: HUGE thanks to Dawna who, despite dreaded deadlines, managed to beta
this monster of a 'chapter' =-_-= Take courage, my friend, one day I might
even master the comma! Any mistakes left are due to last minute fiddling
on my part...
Arrangement + Chapter 19
Infiltration, Part I
couples tell each other a thousand things without speech"
Wufei was a warrior. He would probably be so for the rest of his life.
He slept with one eye open, one ear on alert, and a part of his brain
always attuned to his environment. During missions, his sleep was light
When he was in his room in the converted workshop - the ‘safe-house' -
he slept better, knowing instinctively that, with Heero's security system
and his partner's fine senses also on alert, he was Safe. His sleep was
deeper, restful. The small part of his awareness that kept watch, even
here, even now, analyzed all noises but rarely saw fit to wake him.
So he was aware of the steps coming up the stairs but they didn't disturb
him. Slower and heavier than normal; Heero was still hampered by his injury,
but Wufei had grown used to the different tread in the three weeks his
partner had been back and walking again...Way ahead of schedule of course,
stupid doctors...Wufei had warned them, but they didn't listen...better
off seeing a faith healer than those quacks... his thoughts drifted back
into dreams as his brain processed the information without any fuss: Heero.
Safe. Sleep on.
"So this door's to the master bedroom? Your room?"
Because he was Safe, the first words, in a voice that was not Heero's,
did not make him bolt awake reaching for his weapon. Heero's voice further
helped to keep him under; his partner would never allow anything like
an enemy near Wufei while the latter was asleep.
Sound of a door opening.
"And this is the study. Cool."
Voice nearer...In his sleep, Wufei's brow wrinkled. His brain registered
the voice approaching, though the only footsteps he could clearly hear
were Heero's. Safe was one thing, but there were limits; his brain upped
his awareness levels. Even in sleep, Wufei now had both ears pricked,
seeking further information.
"Nice, nice. Ah, and this will be the spare bedroom then, right?"
Several things hit him at once. The voice - at his door. But - familiar.
Doorknob - turning.
Wufei was awake and staring at the door when it popped open. His fingers
were on the Luger's hilt, but the familiarity of the voice kept him from
snatching it from the bedside table and aiming.
The figure outlined against the brief flash of light was hauled back -
accidentally jerking the door closed - on that last exclamation.
"Baka!" Heero's voice, a hiss. "Why did you- I told you Chang was sleeping
"Well...yeah. But I thought-...you said you had a master bedroom and a
guest room, and I asked you if the room at the end was your room and you
said yes..." The meanderings wound down into a shrug that Wufei could
almost feel through the door.
"...my room? What?"
Heero's voice indicated he was confused. Wufei, despite his brutal awakening,
The owner of that unexpected voice had meant, ‘your room', as in, Wufei's
and Heero's. He had assumed they slept together.
The rush of emotion in response to that thought was blurred by the sleep
still clinging to the corners of his mind, but he was pretty sure he was
There was a soft knock on the door. Wufei was already sitting up in bed,
but didn't answer. No need to.
The door opened and a familiar tousled head was outlined against the light.
"Chang?" A whisper. "You awake?"
"What do you think?"
"Yuy, what the fuck is Maxwell doing here?"
"...It's complicated. Go back to sleep."
The door closed softly. Wufei stared at it.
"Hey, sorry man." A whisper in that oh-so-recognizable voice, somewhere
near the stairwell. "I didn't realize...say, where am I gonna sleep?"
"Couch." Heero growled softly.
"Oh. Well, okay. It looked comfortable-" the voice and footsteps faded
down the stairs.
Wufei stared at the door, then shook his head once, violently. Unfortunately
it appeared he was indeed already awake.
No way in hell was he going to back to sleep before finding out why Maxwell
was setting up house on their couch.
He was dressed and coming down the stairs a few minutes later. His last
hope it might have been an illusion born of exhaustion faded. Duo Maxwell
was sitting at the counter, large as life, sipping the instant coffee
Wufei and Heero kept for their rare guests.
"Wufei! Hey, sorry I woke you, buddy. Didn't know which room you were
in." Duo waved at him cheerfully.
That's one way of putting it, Wufei thought darkly, still furious at Duo's
blithe assumption about his relationship with Heero.
Heero had stood as soon as Wufei had come down the stairs, refilling the
kettle and setting it to boil again. Duo's eyes, curious and alert, went
from Heero's back to Wufei, who was hesitating at the counter.
"Use my stool," Heero said without turning around.
"Oh, sorry guys, didn't realize you only had the two! This yours, Fei?
Here, siddown. Least I can do. Heero tells me you were out all last night,
following a suspect?"
"Yes." All last night, and the night before. It was now early afternoon
and he needed his sleep, but more than that, he needed to know what Duo
was doing here. Maxwell's voice rang too loudly in the big, empty space
of the workshop's floor. He was perched on the counter near the kettle
now, finishing his coffee and giving Wufei his well-remembered grin, which
was too bright and vibrant to bear after only four hours of sleep.
"Find anything good? Did the guy have loads of guilty secrets?"
"Actually it was a woman, and no." Wufei muttered, rubbing his face, his
interrupted sleep clinging like grime to his skin. Heero was still preparing
the tea but his head suddenly tilted slightly, indicating he was listening;
he'd done some hacking and ID checking on the case. It was to him Wufei
was speaking as he continued, though he didn't look in his partner's direction.
"Turned out to be a false lead; Armand's team came back with the contact,
their tail tried to close the deal last night. All settled and passed
on to ESUN services."
Heero nodded minutely - Duo, missing the whole silent part of the interchange
between the partners, looked puzzled. Wufei didn't really care if he followed
the conversation or not.
He nodded in thanks as Heero put a cup of tea in front of him before returning
to his own stool with a protein blend drink from the fridge. Wufei took
a sip, then another. Duo was beginning to fidget.
Feeling sufficiently awake to be able to cope, Wufei put down the tea.
Heero immediately started talking.
"Maxwell is here to test the defenses of Ops Centre."
Wufei hesitated, his hand hovering over an apple in the basket on the
counter. "Because you're out of commission...?"
Heero nodded. He tried to break in to Ops every so often, to test their
defenses. It wasn't a very serious attempt - the guards were warned he
was coming; it was mainly a test of the wired security and computer system.
But he still had to be physically able. And he wasn't quite up to that
level just yet.
Heero's recovery, in the past four weeks since being shot, was nothing
short of amazing, and had their clinic's head, Dr Hampton, completely
flabbergasted...and his staff mightily relieved. In the few days Heero
had spent in the Ops clinic, he'd been just about as impossible a patient
as Wufei had expected. The bone-like alloy that had been injected into
Heero's vertebra and ribs was even more solid than the skeletal structures
it held together, so the fractures were no issue, but his muscles and
nerves had been damaged by the shot and the surgery, and bed rest had
been indicated for at least two weeks, followed by intense and thorough
physiotherapy to regain lost mobility.
The so-called patient had rearranged his room in the clinic on the first
day - all by himself, despite strict orders not to move - to get a better
view of the doorway and have his back to the wall. He'd broken out of
the clinic on the third night to filch some supplies and power tools from
the mechanics division; the next day the staff had found a metal bar bolted
across a corner of his room at head height, and Heero doing minimal pull-ups
and stretching ‘to keep his back muscles fit'. When a nurse changed his
bed and accidentally found the Glock he'd stashed at the head of the mattress,
Hampton had called in Wufei to ‘help deal with it'. Wufei had pointed
out that Heero would have to be a good deal more weakened than he was
for Wufei to be able to disarm him. Hampton had stared at him as if they
were both insane.
Finally, Heero had only spent five days in the clinic before being kicked
out as being way too healthy for the staff to deal with. He had returned
to the converted workshop and promptly ignored all appointments for physiotherapy,
since he knew better than anyone the limits to which he could push his
body and he wasn't going to stand for some worrywart physician telling
him what he could and couldn't do. Wufei had wisely said nothing.
He was making tremendous progress but he wasn't up to breaking into Ops
yet. But that didn't mean he had to call on Maxwell! Wufei looked at his
partner from the corner of his eye. While Heero was recovering, Wufei
had been doing a few solo missions or helping out other teams - pretty
boring work for the most part, but nonetheless necessary. He wasn't that
busy though, he could have done the test in Heero's stead. The annoyance
he'd felt since he'd woken up - been woken up actually - increased. Apparently
his abilities to break into a stronghold were not comparable to the 'perfect
Heero caught the loaded look with an even one of his own; he was probably
used to Wufei's thought processes and his hyper-sensitivity to any suggestion
that his skills were being disparaged.
"I would have asked Maxwell here even if I was fit," Heero's voice was
neutral, but a minimal hand gesture told Wufei to calm down, he wasn't
being taken lightly. "It's been a year since we set up Ops's defenses.
I want to put them through a thorough run."
Wufei paused with the cup near his lips. "Thorough..."
"He wants me to crack the joint!" Duo chuckled, finally unable to contain
The teacup rattled against the counter in alarm. "You don't mean-"
"It's the only viable test." Heero explained. "No warning of the personnel;
Une is the only one who's been informed. Duo will go in knowing nothing
of the system as it is set up, as if he were really trying to infiltrate
Wufei's eyes were wide as he stared from Duo's grin to Heero's calm eyes.
"He's going to get shot."
"Don't diss the man, Fei. They won't even see me!" Duo snorted.
"He'll be going in with a flack jacket, and strict orders to surrender
if caught without trying anything stupid." Heero's eyes were like twin
blow-torches, melting even Duo's indomitable grin a fraction.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Just remember to bail me out of jail, in the very
unlikely event that that happens." Duo sniffed.
"So, when are you going to do this insane stunt? Tonight?" Wufei asked,
wondering where their couch came into the equation.
"Nah. ‘Wing' said to go in cold, not blind! I'm tackling this like a regular
job. First I case the joint. That'll take me one or two nights, depending
on outer security. Then I'll probe, see how far I get. Then I get serious
"How long are you going to be here?" Wufei interrupted; the skin of his
neck felt like someone had pressed cold metal to it.
"Best guess, two weeks. Depends on how fast the final phase goes."
"Or if you get arrested on your first attempt," Heero murmured, finishing
his protein drink.
"Not gonna happen, Yuy, not gonna happen."
Wufei barely heard their banter. Two weeks...or more...with Maxwell? That
much time on a mission with Duo wouldn't be a problem, but...but here?
In their house? Something within Wufei reacted with an immediate No! and
from the way Heero was slightly hunched over the empty bottle and watching
him, he was rather expecting that reaction and not really looking forward
"And you're planning on staying here the full duration of the mission?
I mean, here with us?" Wufei's shoulders were tense as he glanced at Heero.
His body language clearly said: Have you gone insane?!
"Huh-uh!" Duo said brightly. Heero caught Wufei's glance, and he let his
fingers twitch away from the bottle, a little flick, and an eyebrow curved
slightly. Wufei could read the gesture and the reasoning perfectly, as
if Heero had actually said the words. Duo's doing me a favour here; what
was I supposed to do? Tell him to fuck off?
"Ah." Wufei's nails rapped against the counter. Yes!
Heero's eyes hooded fractionally. Well you try then.
Fine! Wufei's back informed him as he twisted on his stool to fully face
Duo. "You might be more comfortable staying in a hotel than on our couch.
Une would cover the expenses."
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Heero move languidly to lean his chin
on his fist, body language contemptuous. He'd probably already tried that
line of argument, and many others. Heero would be just as reluctant as
Wufei to let someone stay in their sanctum for any length of time, especially
someone as energetic and...overwhelming as Duo.
"Hey, no probs, Fei! I'm used to bunking out. And I hate being lonely!
Couch is fine."
Wufei smiled tightly. "You'll be doing most of your work at night, right?"
"Unless you give all the guards really, really dark sunglasses, yeah."
"So you'll be here during the day, but Heero and I will be out of the
house, you'll be alone...and we have no television or sound system to
keep you from getting bored."
Duo blinked several times, while Heero suddenly relaxed, his eyes widening
fractionally....he had not apparently thought of that particular line
of attack. Wufei's smile broadened a hair's breath as Duo looked pained.
"...damn, you guys living in a monastery or something? You're not going
to get me up every day at four for morning prayers, right?"
Wufei saw Heero's eyebrow twitch a fraction. He looked like he wanted
to say yes.
"Oh well, it'll be tough, but...I can watch the tube another day. It's
so rare to see you guys! I'll stay here."
Wufei's cup trembled slightly as his fingers clenched, and he glanced
reluctantly at Heero. But the latter didn't look smug; strong shoulders
slumped a bit. It was a good try...guess we're stuck though...
"You'll see, guys! We'll have loads of fun!"
The rather funereal response to his cheerful exclamation was, as usual,
The next few hours were, predictably enough, spent listening to Duo. That
is, Wufei listened while idly finishing his report, and Heero ran some
diagnostics on the Ops computer system, the lack of brutal 'shut up's
as close as he was going to get to chatting.
Duo did not seem to mind the apparent lack of interest in what he had
to say. He was fiddling around with his own laptop, probing the first
line of Heero's defences in Ops, occasionally throwing little pieces of
information, nuggets and dross, over his shoulder; they shaped up into
a crooked mosaic illustrating the last year of his life and his contact
with the other pilots.
If pressed - as in, interrogated by a professional, with the aid of the
appropriate truth serums - Wufei would have admitted that he was interested
in what Duo had to say. Otherwise he'd have gone to work in his room.
He was curious about how the other pilots were doing since the war. The
only contact he'd had with them had been through the Preventer grapevine,
and their rally to his call four weeks ago.
Duo and Trowa were still working with the Preventers part time, when Une
needed their special skills. Otherwise, Duo helped someone called Hilde
- Wufei vaguely remembered a short-haired, unconscious girl being wheeled
into Peacemillion's infirmary - working in a salvage business, and spent
time with Quatre, presumably for the touch of luxury that would provide.
Trowa was working at the circus. Wufei learned that Catherine had survived
the war and was doing fine, though she still couldn't make a cup of coffee
to save her life. Trowa occasionally stayed with Duo and helped out Hilde
with the bigger salvage orders, when construction suit work was needed.
According to Duo's little anecdotes, he and the others were doing well.
Duo never lied, but he didn't always tell the truth either. In a way -
a way Wufei had been completely oblivious of until the very end of the
war - Duo was almost as private a person as he and Heero. He just hid
himself in a totally different way, and Wufei did not know Duo well enough
to be able to read him like he could read his partner. But it was not
his place to dig; Wufei decided to take Duo's words at face value. He
and the other pilots were 'doing okay'.
Duo tried to invite them out to dinner that night, to repay their ‘generous
hospitality'. But Wufei was too tired and Heero was, well, Heero. Duo
munificently took care of the take-out, and they went to bed early. Wufei
woke with a start at two in the morning at the faint sound of their front
door closing - Duo, going to stake out Ops. It created a fissure in his
mental safe haven. He...trusted Duo. With his life. He'd be able to sleep
again, deeply but...Wufei felt the shape of something awry in his life,
small but annoying. Something he couldn't define yet.
These would be a long two weeks.
For an instant upon waking up, Wufei wondered if it had all been a strange
dream. When he was in the safe-house, he normally woke clear-headed and
focused and ready for another day on the edge. Having Duo Maxwell invade
their space was shaking his centre. Memories of the war blended with the
twinges of a private man having to share his home territory. Wufei stared
at the ceiling for a few minutes, trying to get used to the idea.
He descended the stairs, automatically timing his soft steps to the rhythm
of Heero's exercises; he could hear his partner running through his usual
morning routine on the weight lifter. Working his upper arms by the sound
Duo was sitting at the counter with a mug of coffee in his hand. He was
staring at Heero. His eyes were narrowed and his face looked older and
marred by lines of anger as he watched Heero struggle at the weights.
The expression lasted only long enough for Wufei to catch it; as soon
as Duo realized someone was in the kitchen area with him the expression
disappeared as if it had never been, replaced by the usual good humor.
But Wufei had seen that look and knew what it meant. He'd have to have
a word with Duo; Heero and Wufei had agreed that no further reprisals
would be taken against Heero's aggressors, unless they were foolish enough
to try again. Wufei would have to make sure Duo abided by this. That expression
had been that of Shinigami looking for blood. Legalities and peace and
the social contract could not quite banish this demon; those who wounded
one of Death's few friends could not even hope for a swift demise.
Duo leaned his chin against his fist, turning his face towards Wufei.
‘Should he really be doing this?' he mouthed, hiding the words from Heero
with his hand.
Wufei shrugged. "No." He kept his voice low but he didn't turn away from
his partner, who continued pressing the weights, ignoring them.
Duo stared at Wufei, eyes narrowing again; this time the anger was directed
towards a visible target. ‘Aren't you going to stop him?'
"War's over, Maxwell," Wufei said with an arrogant smile he didn't really
feel. "I don't take suicide missions anymore."
The blue eyes were blade-thin slits, dissecting his words, his stance.
‘You aren't going to say anything?' The last word was mouthed aggressively.
"He knows what he's doing, Duo," Wufei replied, voice very quiet but firm
as he turned towards the kettle.
A disgusted huff was all the answer he got. Wufei listened with one ear
to the sound of weights hissing. He knew why Duo was upset; could see
in his mind's eye the trickle of sweat on Heero's pale face that came
from controlling pain rather than effort. But his partner had been training
his body into a fine-tuned instrument of death for over half his lifetime;
Heero knew how to tread the fine line between pushing his body towards
optimum recovery and harming himself.
Of course, that line did not take into account anything as trivial as
excruciating pain. Wufei didn't turn around, kept his eyes nailed to the
kettle. His mind ran through its frequent litany, the words repeated like
a rolling prayer wheel. Lords of Hell, may J be rotting in your deepest
pit, the one reserved for abusers of children, with the words ‘the means
justify the end' burnt across his body with a red-hot poker.
The ring interrupted his thoughts, the swish of Heero's weights and Duo's
unarticulated grumbles of concern. Heero let the weights swing back carefully
and slipped the phone from his pocket. All the way across the room, Wufei
could see the way Heero's body tensed as he read the caller ID, and he
guessed who was calling - though seeing how often she'd phoned in the
last two weeks, it wasn't all that powerful a deduction.
Heero held the phone like he wanted to hurl it across the room but he
knew Wufei was watching. Wufei leaned back against the counter and glared
reprovingly. Stormy blue eyes flung a look his way - swift and lethal
as shuriken - but Heero flipped open the phone without further procrastination.
"Relena." He snapped. "I told you to stop-...just a minute."
With another murderous glare at Wufei he stood and headed towards the
stairwell, grabbing his towel in passing.
"Be polite, Yuy." Wufei reminded him sharply as Heero passed him with
the phone muffled against his chest. Heero didn't even bother to grunt
a response. It had already taken considerable persuasion on Wufei's part
to get him to agree to answer and talk to her each time she called.
"Soooo...the Princess has his number?"
Wufei turned back to the kettle, dismissing Duo's inquisitive look. He
nodded in response and poured hot water into his cup. The delicate smell
of white tea rose with the steam.
"Huh, she's still chasing him, hm? Man that girl don't know when to quit!
She's got it bad."
"No." Wufei answered softly, eyes on the stairwell. "She only wants to
know he's alive."
There was a scrape against the kitchen's cheap linoleum, as if Duo had
twisted around to get a better look at Wufei's back. "Know he's alive?
What do you mean? From the way he's acting she's been calling for awhile
"The last time she saw him, he was lying on the floor with two bullets
in the back, as far as she knew, and she was being dragged away from his
body. She hasn't seen him since. I don't think a phone call is enough."
Wufei's voice was even, he tried to keep the pity and annoyance out of
it; they weren't completely deserved. After all, he'd been living with
the proof of Heero's survival - fighting, arguing, refusing to stay in
bed and pushing himself to the edge of exhaustion with typical Yuy stubbornness
- for the last month. The only thing Relena had was a curt voice on the
other end of the phone.
He turned towards the counter to find Duo scrutinizing him. "...You think
he should go see her?"
Wufei shrugged. "It would put her mind at rest. I know it doesn't make
sense, but then logic has never been that woman's strong suite. But he
"Oh?" Duo's eyebrows twitched up.
"That's why she's calling so often; he said he would never see her again
and she's trying to change his mind."
"Whoa. Did a jealous lover ask him to give her up?"
Wufei almost spilled his tea, and glared at the joker. He'd been having
a serious conversation here! Why had Duo-...oh, what else had he expected.
"No, Maxwell." Wufei ground out. "Yuy's reasons are as eminently logical
as always, if you can get your head around that concept." Duo's grin widened.
"She represents something important to him. He would die to defend that,
and her. But as it turns out, the only time she was truly at risk in this
last year was because someone was using her to get at him. His presence
near her is a danger, and he won't allow that. End of story. She seems
to have the same lack of basic understanding that you do, though, hence
all those calls."
"So...it's not because someone close to Heero asked him to cut the ties?"
"...there is no one close to Heero," Wufei answered, thoroughly puzzled
now, by the question and the look in Duo's eyes. Playful, cheerful...calculating.
Duo's grin seemed artificial. His eyes had darkened at Wufei's response,
to the color of deep pools. "Oh? Not even this guy I know who's been working
with him and living with him and shooting people by his side for almost
Wufei put his cup down with a click. "If there is something you want to
ask, Maxwell, just ask."
"Okay. Are you two a couple?"
Wufei gave Duo a long, cold glare just for the enjoyment of seeing him
edge back and adopt a slightly more defensive posture.
"No. We're partners." He finally said, with some relief. He had wondered
if this question might come up, after Duo's strange assumption he and
Heero slept in the same bed. He'd been ready to hedge or lie outright,
but in this instance he could answer the question truthfully. Being a
couple implied affection, love, mutual support. If Duo had used some other
term - the word 'fuck-buddies' floated through Wufei's mind, in the L2
street-rat twang that seemed to vocalize his more inappropriate thoughts
- he'd have had a harder time denying it, but a couple...? No.
Duo was staring at him as if unsure whether to believe him or not. Then
he slouched back against the counter.
"No, really. How on earth did you come up with that ridiculous theory?"
Duo's eyes twitched away from his. "...You two have been awfully tight
since the war. We were wondering-..."
Wufei snorted contemptuously and Duo bridled and glared down at the counter.
"So...you won't mind if I make a play for him?"
Wufei choked on his tea, and coughed a couple of times. "Wh-what?"
Duo's head was still bowed but Wufei caught a flash of blue through brown
bangs. The voice was easy and sensuous. "Hey, the guy's probably horny.
And he's hot. And he's available, if what you say is true." Duo finally
lifted his head, leaned back easily against the counter, with that same
grin painted on his face but his eyes were level and clear.
"...you work part-time for Preventers, right?"