Fortis
Chapter One
by Apollymi

Series: GundamW
Genre: Romance, Supernatural
Main Pairing: Duo/Hiiro
Word Count: 833
Disclaimers: I own nothing but the idea.


Working an eight-hour a night, five nights a week job to pay the bills never really leaves enough time to do the real job, I muse to myself as I nurse my third double-expresso caramel coffee of the day; I'm trying to cut back, but in all honesty, I'm a caffeine addict. Since I stumbled downstairs around noon from my loft above the store and grabbed a muffin and my first drink of the day from Barton's across the street in time to open by one, it's been nonstop: take a sip, read a page, take a sip, read a page, take a sip, turn the page, repeat. Hell, today's been duller than usual as my days go. I mean, no knife fights in the streets, no one using 'the weird guy's store' (that would be mine, mind you) to hide out from the cops/the person trying to kill them, and of course, no customers.

If I ever get that Christmas bonus from the bagging, I'm so going to have to pay off my tab. Hey, maybe if there's a little left over, I can even send Howie the loudest Hawaiian shirt I can turn up; that's always a hoot. Planning what to do with that bonus is never fun, but at least this way I don't end up overextending myself... again. So, first off, pay my Barton's tab; second, buy Howie a new shirt; and third, if anything is left over after all that, see about springing for myself a meal bigger than the Value Menu at McDonalds.

I fucking hate being broke. Not that I think anyone sits around and says, "Gee, I can't wait to have no money whatsoever and have to rely on my neighbors' good will and long tab sheets.' Or in Chang's case, those elusive discounts and sales that somehow manage to get my supplies down into the range of what I have in my pockets. You know, I might object to being the neighborhood charity case if I weren't trying to figure out a way to get someone to pay to have my heat cut back on. Even my resident gargoyle as fled in search of warmer climes and they can barely feel the cold!

So let's review the situation: two days till Christmas; no clients; no heat; no clients; Shinigami the gargoyle gone to stay with his sister Nataku because Chang can afford heat; no clients; no Christmas bonus yet; and, oh yeah, no clients. No prospects of any anytime soon either; Yule is always my slowest season, which is really saying something because business is always slow. One of these Yules, I'm going to admit defeat. Not this year, though, not even if I get another of those 'Close the shop and go to the clinic before you get pneumonia' calls from the Oracle of New York again. Though, believe me, it's not fun being told just how many things he missed because I came down with an overblown case of the sniffles.

I lift my cup for another sip, only to realize it's empty. Damn, who'd have thought mystic rebellions in Han Dynasty China would have been stirring enough to finish the drink this quickly. Chang drops me off the weirdest reading material, you know. Last week it was the role of magic in Asian martial arts. It almost makes up for the fact that my only burglary system - Shinigami - is at his place.

Of course, once I realize my source of liquid warmth is gone, the cold just comes rushing in twice as strong as before. "The mystic hub of North American just had to be New York, didn't it? It couldn't be some place sunny and warm, like Miami or, hey, maybe even L.A.," I have to complain to myself with a smirk as I go grab another jacket from the backroom.

"Do you always talk to yourself?"

I'd like to say I'd heard him come in, but I'd be lying and I would always rather avoid that. The front door is the only thing quiet in this place, especially since Shinigami ate the bell I'd installed over it. That little incident would be why I learned the hard way not to let gargoyles run out of their food of choice, which in Shinigami's case would be upholstery and carpet.

Still, even without a door bell, I should have heard him come in. It's not like Shinigami left a stitch of carpet to block out the sound of footsteps, and I was only gone a few minutes. He's... not exactly dressed like someone who tends to be stealthy, but appearances can be deceiving. There has to be plenty of suits who have good reason to be quiet. Take this guy, Zechs, who hangs out over at Barton's for example: he's an utter suit, but he's got a psycho sister who makes harpies seem sane, so he sneaks around like a damn ninja.

Okay, maybe I'm babbling a bit (It happens when I get nervous), but damn, it's hard not to when you're faced with the most gorgeous thing on two legs. Lean, not too tall, vaguely Oriental (I'm guessing Japanese) features, all in one neat package and tied off with a bow of bright blue eyes. Wow. Just... wow.


04 April 2007

Wow, I big time forgot to upload this anywhere but the blog. Whoops!