Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing or any of the characters in this story. They are owned by Bandai and several other companies, none of which I am part of.
I had thought about sneaking in and taking my place at my desk before anyone knew I was there. I was going to do it, too. I could have. The guys at work teased me a lot about being sneaky. Everyone knew, of course, about the time I stole the paper weight off of Wufei's desk right under his nose. Getting past everyone would be a cinch. They probably wouldn't notice I was there until mid-morning, when Quatre usually took his coffee break.
But there was the problem. Eventually they would notice, whether they saw me come in or not – and when they did, the questions would start. Best get it over with as soon as possible. I squared my shoulders and opened the door.
"How did it go?" a sweet, high voice asked as I was barely two steps inside the building.
I winced. "It went," I mumbled. I tried to avoid eye contact, but I knew I wasn't fooling anybody.
"Not well, I take it," he commented. I gave up and met the eyes of the small blonde in front of me. As well as being my boss and my closest friend, Quatre had an amazing sixth sense.
"Not well," I agreed, and sighed. "What's wrong with me, Quatre?" I asked. "I'm cute, and funny, and I have a job. So why do I have such a problem with relationships? It seems most of them end before they even start."
"Well, you might start with that tie," a dry voice commented behind me. I didn't even have to turn to see who it was. Instead, I looked down at my tie.
"What's wrong with it?" I asked. It was my favorite tie. Mostly black with splashes of brighter colors, I only wore it when I wanted to add a little cheer to my day. The rest of the time, I was content with my monochromatic ensemble.
"Nothing," Wufei continued. "It's just like you. Tacky."
"You are a bit much for some people," Quatre agreed. "You just haven't found the right person yet."
"Face it, Duo. You're rude, outspoken, disrespectful, childish, and you like to play jokes on people," said Wufei.
I scowled. "This isn't still about the paper weight, is it?"
Wufei shrugged noncommittally. "We're just trying to help you, Duo. You asked what's wrong with you. I was trying to give you an honest answer."
"I wasn't asking you," I pointed out. "I was asking the only one of the three of us who is actually in a relationship."
"Why don't we test it, hmm?" Quatre suggested, a small gleam in his eyes. "Duo, the next prospective date you meet, you can hide all of the things Wufei says are wrong with you. Just be nice to him, and rely on your cute face to do all the work for you."
I started to open my mouth, but instead of my own voice, I heard "Are you kidding, Quatre? He can't be completely nice and normal long enough to get a second date."
"I can so," I blurted.
"I think so too," Quatre agreed. "Wufei, I bet you twenty dollars Duo can get himself a second date just by his looks."
The Chinese man stuck out his hand. "You're on," he agreed. "Duo will say something to screw it up before the first one is over. I guarantee it." They shook hands firmly, two businessmen sealing a deal. I walked over to my desk and started banging my head on the computer.
"Hello," came a new voice, lower than Quatre's or Wufei's, and much quieter than mine.
I looked up sharply. Trowa didn't usually speak so early in the day.
"Morning, Trowa," Quatre said sweetly, his whole face lighting up. They never made any physical contact at work other than the occasional feather-light touch, but I could feel the love radiating between them, even from opposite ends of the room. It made my heart ache. I wanted what they had. "What's going on?"
"An old college friend," Trowa said by way of explanation.
"Oh?" Wufei asked, interested. Wufei and Trowa had gone to the same college, and knew many of the same people. "Who is it?"
Wufei's eyebrows shot up. "Oh, really? I wonder what brings him here."
"Heero?" Quatre asked excitedly. I looked at him curiously. "I can't wait to meet him, after all the stories."
"I never heard any stories," I complained.
"We've told you stories, Duo," Wufei said, amused. "Your attention span usually doesn't last beyond the first sentence." He turned to Quatre. "Let's go introduce you, shall we?"
The blonde man nodded, and the three of them started back out toward the door. Quatre stopped and looked over his shoulder. "Why don't you come too, Duo?" Quatre suggested.
Well, shoot. I didn't want to be left out. I hurried to follow them out of the room.
"Heero, this is Quatre."
Heero nodded stiffly at the blonde. "I've heard a lot about you," he said. Blue eyes flickered over to me. "Who is this?"
I was pinned to the spot, unable to speak. From the moment we came out here, I was struck by this man. Brown hair, well-formed, muscular arms, and the most piercing eyes I had ever seen. I had dated men more handsome than this Heero, but for some reason this man made more of an impression than all who had come before him.
Quatre seemed to notice my sudden loss of basic communication skills and smiled slightly. "This is another one of our coworkers. Duo Maxwell."
The man studied me for a moment or two before bowing his head in my direction. "Nice to meet you."
"I think he likes you," Quatre told me when we were back in the office.
"How could you tell?" I asked, bewildered. "He was about as eloquent as Wufei's paper weight."
"He's quiet," Quatre corrected. "It isn't the same thing. Trowa's quiet, too. But like Trowa, I'm sure Heero can say exactly what he means to say without wasting words. It's a good skill in many situations."
"Ah," I agreed. Now that I thought about it, I could see Quatre was right. I tend to say things I shouldn't without thinking, and I know Quatre babbles when he's flustered. It would be a good skill for both of us to learn.
"Why did we have to come in so fast?" I asked, changing the subject.
"I think the three of them wanted to catch up on their college days," Quatre explained. "It's okay. We should get to work anyway."
"What do we have to do? Budget's not due until the end of the year, and we're already set for the meeting tomorrow. What, are you gonna buy another island?"
Quatre grinned. "Now that you mention it…" he began, and laughed when he saw the look on my face. "No, but I am paying you to be here, Duo. Do you have any ideas of some way to not be wasting your salary?"
I looked at him sideways. "Well, I do think Winner Enterprises should expand into the video game industry."
"And you want to write the report of projected revenue for the company to present to the board next Tuesday?" he asked sweetly.
I stuck out my tongue. "Not really," I said. "Actually, I was thinking Wufei could figure that out – you know, he's the best at numbers and all – and I could do the market research."
Quatre pretended to think. "That's why you have the PS2 hooked up to the teleconference center, right?"
I shook my head. "Naw, that's so when you're on business trips to the Middle East, I can still kick your ass."
My blonde friend started to say something, but turned to look at the door as it opened and Wufei and Trowa walked back in with Heero.
"This is it," Wufei was saying. "Winner Enterprises is one of the top companies in the world right now, and we employ some of the most expert technicians from all over."
Heero nodded. "Great. I'll fax you those papers, then."
I looked at Quatre. "College?" I mouthed.
Quatre grinned and didn't say anything back.
"It was nice seeing you again," Wufei said, shaking Heero's hand.
Heero nodded. "And you both," he agreed, looking between Wufei and Trowa. Then he looked past them to where Quatre and I were standing. "It was nice meeting you finally," he said to Quatre, and then looked at me, his eyes meeting mine and lingering for a moment. "I hope to see you again."
I smiled and waved a little goodbye as he turned to leave. Wufei smirked at me behind his back and Trowa left to walk him back out of the massive office building. After they had gone, Wufei began walking toward me, his smirk growing into an amused grin. "Well, Maxwell, looks like your chance came sooner than I expected."
"What do you mean?" I asked cautiously. I didn't trust the way he was smirking at me.
Wufei flicked me a folded up piece of paper. I unfolded it and gasped as I saw what was written on it.
"Ah!" Quatre exclaimed, grinning excitedly. "So I was right! He does like you, Duo!"
I was still gaping at the paper. On it was written, "Heero Yuy, 555-2341."
"He wanted me to give you his phone number in case you wanted to get to know him better," Wufei told me. "He works for one of the smaller companies interested in merging with Winner Enterprises. They transferred him here to work on a deal with Quatre that would be fair on both parties. He's their best computer programmer."
"Wow, Duo! The two of you have a lot in common already!" Quatre cheered.
I glanced at him. "Quatre. Just because we're two of the top computer programmers in the industry doesn't mean we're anything alike."
"So, when are you going to call him?" he asked slyly.
I bit my lip. "That depends," I began. "Wufei, how long will it take him to get home?"