Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing. If I did, things would change, pairings would be altered and a certain Miss Releena would cease to exist.
Hard Earned Cash
"Duo! I want those salads to table five in ten seconds!"
"Gotcha!" Duo grabbed the plates and rushed across the restaurant to table five, still managing to serve them with a cheesy smile and a perky "Enjoy your meal". He sighed and walked back to the kitchen. Ever since he had got his job here he had been worked like a dog, but as he needed the money he decided to put up with it. This had been a last resort. There were no jobs at the scrap yard or in the scavengers; serving was the only other thing he could do that he could get paid for. Well, he could blow stuff up but he figured that he'd already done enough of that. Besides, he refused to borrow from Quatre for the rest of his life. Especially since the lovable Arabian's version of 'borrow' meant that he didn't want the money back.
The manager walked over to him "We have a very special person coming here and I want you to serve her and her guest very specially"
"So, who are these people?"
"Miss R. Peacecraft and Mr H. Yuy"
"HEERO AND RELEENA! I can't serve them!"
"Because I know them! If I serve Heero he'll never let me live it down!"
"Fine, you can serve out other guest, he's very rich so I want your best behaviour"
"Great, who's this guy then?"
Duo looked almost sick "Not Q. Winner by any chance?"
"Shinigami save me!"
"Why? What's wrong with this one?"
"I live with him! And with Heero!"
The manager looked sceptic "If you live with Mr Winner then why are you working here trying to get money. A billion dollars is chump change to that kid"
"I've borrowed money off Quatre already and I want to pay him back"
"I'll let you serve table thirteen then"
"Thirteen? That's my unlucky number, that wouldn't happen to be a Mr C. Wufei would it?"
"Yes, how did you know?"
One hour later...
"Duo, stop banging your head against the wall and start serving your tables"
"Mr Winner, and he's brought a guest"
"You mean Mr Barton?"
"Yep. That means I need to bang my head some more"
"Stop messing around. Here's your notepad"
Duo sighed and slowly walked to what he knew would be his ultimate humiliation.
He was getting closer to the table. He could see Quatre and Trowa deep in conversation, luckily neither had seen him yet. Then he had an idea. He grabbed a menu from and empty table and put that and his notebook in front of his face. When he reached the table he disguised his voice and said "Are you ready to order?"
Quatre smiled up at him "Oh, hello. Yes, I think we are. What do you want Trowa?"
Trowa was looking at the menu and notebook that was Duo as if he found it oddly familiar "I'll have the special"
"Alrighty then, I think I'll have the lobster. Thank you" Duo quickly wrote it down and got away from the table as fast as possible.
He got back to the kitchen and pinned the order to the board "One special, one lobster, ASAP!"
"Got it!" One of the cooks yelled back. Duo leaned against the wall and was relaxing his tense nerves when the manager came up to him and said "Your table's here"
"Miss Peacecraft and Mr Yuy"
"Oh No" Duo could think of nothing but his menu-notebook trick again.
He got over to the table and asked what they wanted in his fake voice. Releena seemed oblivious to his discomfit and fidgeting whereas Heero was examining him with hawk eyes. Releena finally finished ordering and Duo thought he was safe. That was until he was about to leave. Duo had just turned to go when Heero said, "Wait a minute. I know that braid" the second Gundam pilot squeaked
"Whoops! Fire in the kitchen! Gotta go!" and hastily made his exit.
Leaning on the wall again Duo sighed and said, "That was a little TOO close" the manager popped his head in "Duo-"
"Let me guess. Mr Wufei has arrived"
"How did you know?"
"It's been that kind of day" He then donned his disguise of a menu and notebook and left to see Wufei.
Wufei was the person he was the person he was least looking forward to serving. He knew that the Chinese boy was a perfectionist when it came to food and could cause quite a scene when he was unhappy. Duo reached the table, Wufei was by himself, the American had expected him to be with Sally or Noin. He never thought that Wufei would sit in a restaurant by himself.
"Are you ready to order, Sir?"
"It is very unhonourable to hide behind a menu and notebook"
"I... er... I have a zit. I... er... didn't want to put you off your food" Duo cringed behind his barrier. Wufei didn't seem pleased with his answer.
"That's pathetic. What is the special?"
"And what is the soup of the day?"
"Oxtail with basil"
"Then I'll have a steak"
"Well done, medium or rare?" Duo knew what was coming but he hoped Wufei's tastes had changed.
"Medium with parsley and half a lemon and parsnips that have been roasted in goat's butter for ten minutes and rotated every two. I will not have parsnips roasted on one side"
"Ok then" Duo growled through gritted teeth
"Wait!" Duo froze "Don't I know you?"
"No... I don't think so"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. Very sure"
"You remind me of someone then"
"And who would that be?"
"Oh, just a guy I know. Actually, it would be more of an insult to compare you to him" A vein in Duo's forehead began to throb "He borrows money off a friend of mine and then disappears for about six hours everyday. Totally ungrateful"
"Well, your friend could be working those six hours to try and pay your other friend back"
Wufei threw his head back and laughed "Maxwell! Ha! He's never done an honest days work in his life!"
"Helped save the Earth and the Colonies though didn't he?"
"How do you know about that?"
"If you're Mr Chang Wufei than you must be talking about Mr Duo Maxwell"
"That's very perceptive of you"
"Thank you. Now I must go put your order in"
Duo stomped back to the kitchen and punched one of the freezers in anger "Duo! You just busted the freezer!"
"Duo your special and lobster are ready"
Duo then began his journey back to Quatre's table. When he got half way there he realised that he had a small problem. He could hold two meals and hide his face at the same time. "Oh no" he then thought of the look the blond Arabian would give him if he found out that it was him. Wait a minute... Arabian. Duo quickly put the two plates down on the empty table that he had previously 'borrowed' the menu from and dashed to the kitchen. He grabbed a black tea towel and a waiter's hat, which he had refused to wear before now. He then tied the tea towel around his face and put on the hat so only his eyes were visible. He then retrieved the plates and carried on to Quatre's table.
"Here are your meals, Sirs. I'm sorry for the delay"
Quatre beamed up at him "That's alright, we heard that there was a fire in the kitchen before"
"Heh heh, yeah. Enjoy your dinner"
"Thank you very much" Duo then returned to the kitchen to lean against his wall. Because of his 'ethnic' disguise Quatre hadn't noticed anything unusual but Trowa had looked at him as if he had just popped out of the clown's wine glass singing 'She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes'
"Peacecraft dinner is ready"
"Oh Shinigami" There was no way that this was going to fool Heero. He only had one option. He retrieved the meals from the serving counter (He had been followed by different members of staff saying stuff along the lines of "Duo, why are you wearing a tea towel?") and made his way to Heero's table. As he approached, he sped up and when he got there he dumped the meals, said "Enjoyyourmeal!" and ran as fast as his legs would take him. Hopefully, Heero hadn't had time to look and register his face, but with that guy you could never tell.
As Wufei was so fussy, Duo got a ten-minute break. The manager came in "Duo- "
"NO! No more tables! I'm waiting for Wufei's and that's it!"
"Ok, I was just checking on how you're holding up"
"Oh, ok" Duo sat on the edge of one of the counters and sighed.
"Wufei meal is ready"
"..." Duo couldn't think of a cuss word strong enough for how he felt at that particular moment.
He grabbed Wufei's plate and thoroughly inspected it. It looked ok to him but things that usually looked ok to him were unacceptable to Wufei. Duo stepped up to Wufei's table, no longer caring about his disguise. "Here's you meal, Sir"
"Thank you. Wait," Wufei looked down at his plate and then gave Duo a queer look "Were the parsnips rotated?"
"I told the cook exactly what you told me. I even got our head chef on it"
"I see. Do you know the best wine to go with this?"
"Is Chardonnay a wine?"
"Er... Very good question"
"Where's my half lemon?"
"Oh, wait, it's under the steak. It's ok."
"Phew" Duo turned to leave.
"Oh, by the way. Why are you wearing a tea towel Maxwell?"
"Because I- Hey! How did you know it was me!"
"Because you wrote down what I wanted before I asked for it"
"And only 1 in 50 million people have a braid like yours"
"There's stats on my braid?"
"I think that Heero and Trowa also know that it's you but haven't said anything. Quatre seems to be in blissful ignorance"
"They'll be finished soon. I'd better go. Please don't tell Quatre, Wu-man"
"I wont but only if you stop calling me Wu-man"
"For a week?"
As soon as Duo got back to the kitchen he was sent straight back out to get Quatre's plates. While Duo was there he couldn't make eye contact with Trowa. Quatre thanked him with a cheery smile but Duo's heart sank when he said, "I think that you served us very well tonight, what's your name? I'd like to tell the manager how pleased I am"
"Er... Uno. My name is Uno"
"Wow, I have a friend named Duo! Isn't that a coincidence! It must be a sign!" Duo swore that he heard Trowa snigger
"Yes, it must be. Thank you"
Half an hour later Duo was returning to the kitchen with Wufei's plates. He had managed to collect Heero's with only a bit of chat from Releena and an odd knowing look from Heero as the perfect soldier was hiding a smile behind his napkin. Duo just gave him evils and 'accidentally' hit him with his elbow as he was leaving. Suddenly, Quatre appeared in the kitchen "Hi, I was told that the manager was here?" Duo watched in fear as the manager walked over to Quatre and they began talking. He then heard the manager say "Uno? No, you must mean Duo. Hey Duo! Come here!"
Duo had dropped his plates on the floor and stared at Quatre, frozen to where he was standing.
"Duo? Is that you?"
The American the removed his hat and tea towel and Quatre gasped "But Duo, why? Why are you working here?"
Duo looked to the floor "I wanted to pay you back. I don't want to keep borrowing from you"
"Duo, don't be silly. I'm happy to give you money. All of you. What's the point of being the richest person around if I can't give something of it to my friends?"
"The others have never had to borrow from you"
"Yes they have. You've just borrowed a little more because you've never had any money. Wufei has inheritance from his colony; Heero has Releena and Dr J, Trowa has his circus earnings and me. And you do too Duo"
"I do what?"
"You have me. As well as the other three. We're all a big family and that's what families do"
"But what have I ever given you?"
"Your friendship is good enough for me"
Duo grinned, "How'd I know you'd say something cheesy like that?"
Quatre walked up to Duo and gave him a hug "You coming home?"
"You bet I am!" So they walked out of the kitchen and Duo knew that it would be a place that he would never come back to. He had Quatre and the others. Who needs a stinking job?
A fluffy ending but oh well. I couldn't be mean to my precious Duo-Chan. Read and Review! Ja Ne!