Pairing: Slight 1+2
Summary: You know those fics where Duo's horribly abused and needs a dashing savior like Heero to put the pieces back together? Yeah, this isn't one of those. Unbetaed.
Revision: 7 May 2010
"Preventers agent John Smith was arrested this morning on charges of drug possession – "
"Hey, Heero," came Quatre's sunny voice, cutting over the news report emanating from the television. Heero looked up from his cafeteria food as the blond took a seat directly across the table. Technically the staffroom was off-limits to anyone without a badge, but to someone like Quatre, 'technically' tended to become a mere formality.
"Hello, Quatre," Heero greeted him quietly, "what're you doing here?"
He waved a dismissive hand. "Had some plans to go over with Lady Une. L4 is trying to approve new security measures at the inter-colonial ports that Preventers doesn't exactly like, so I'm stuck as the go-between. How are you doing?"
"Fine," Heero replied truthfully, already going back to poking at the substance on his lunch tray being dubiously called 'food.'
Quatre smiled slightly. "I can see that you've got all four limbs intact, but how are you doing here?" He pretended to tap Heero on the chest without actually touching him, respecting the other's preference for personal space. Heero blinked slowly at him.
"I'm fine, Quatre, really. Why wouldn't I be?"
The blond made a vague gesture at the television. "You heard the news. John got picked up for possession."
Heero stared at him levelly, waiting to hear something that wasn't so obvious.
"You know, John? Tall blond guy, looks like a quarterback or something? Duo's boyfriend?"
"I know who John is," Heero broke in, his voice dry.
"Well, if you don't mind my asking, why aren't you out there with Duo?"
Feeling lost in the conversation already, Heero finally lay down his fork. "Why would I be 'out there' with Duo?"
Quatre huffed with wry amusement. "You two are partners, aren't you?"
Before Heero could reply, the door of the staffroom opened again and Duo himself walked in. As usual, his black jeans were scuffed and his heavy leather boots untied; the only nod to decorum he bothered with was the Preventers jacket slung haphazardly around his shoulders. A cartoon skull hand-drawn in black marker grinned out at the other two pilots from his nametag.
"Hey guys," he grinned, snagging a chair and swinging it around so he could sit in it backwards. "What's with the little pow-wow you've got going on here?"
Quatre was blinking in surprise. Heero seemed to take it all in stride as he picked up his fork again. "I'm eating. Quatre's being meddlesome and I don't know why."
"Oh?" Raising a thin brow, Duo turned to the blond. "So, what rumors have you heard circulating about Heero? Because if it has anything to do with pipe bombs and small furry animals, I totally didn't start it."
Heero's head jerked up. "You started that one?"
"I just said it had nothing to do with me, didn't I?"
"Duo," said Quatre kindly, "I heard the news. I'm sorry about John."
Duo looked at him quizzically before he started laughing, a deep, rich sound of amusement that never failed to make Quatre grin in response. Even when he had no idea why Duo was laughing.
"Quatre, you thought that uptight bastard was actually using that shit?"
"I knew you planted it," Heero snorted in a voice that would have been triumphant on anyone else but was merely 'quietly smug' on him. "Agent Smith never had a charge or suspicion of drugs in his life."
Duo promptly reached across and socked his field partner in the shoulder. "Naughty boy, Heero. You've been hacking into personal files again."
"I had to make sure he wouldn't do anything to hurt you," Heero shrugged.
There was a long moment of silence. Then Duo said, "Oh, really?"
Sighing softly, the other pilot amended, "I wasn't implying that you couldn't take care of yourself, Duo."
"It… was for my own peace of mind," Heero admitted.
"You're such a teddy bear under all that scowling."
Quatre watched the two with a puzzled frown, wondering what he was missing. "Wait, wait," he interrupted. "Duo, you planted evidence of drugs on your boyfriend?"
Duo deftly snagged a French fry from Heero's tray. "Look, when I agreed to go out with this guy, I laid some ground rules. I told him I wasn't looking for anything long-term, that'd we just play things by ear, but then he started freaking out on me, you know? Demanded to know why I was gone for days at a time or coming home late – never mind that I'm Special Agent Maxwell – and why I was spending so much time with Heero and Wufei, blah blah blah." He turned to Heero. "You know he had the brass balls to tell me that I wasn't allowed to see you anymore?"
Heero raised a brow.
"I know," Duo growled. "It's not like 'field partner' doesn't require some measure of interaction. You'd think he'd remember that I was a freakin' Gundam pilot, not one of those pansy-ass pretty-boys you get in these clubs that people our age seem to like so much."
"You're getting awfully worked up over something you say wasn't a big deal." Though it wasn't like Quatre didn't understand. All five of the pilots, save maybe Trowa, were small for their age, but Duo and Quatre always seemed to get the most shit for their appearance.
Duo sighed and snagged another fry. "Yeah, well, just 'cause I've got an awesome head of hair doesn't mean I'm a doormat, and John wasn't the first asshole to make that mistake."
"Planting drugs on him does seem a little over the top, though." Even if it was pretty amusing.
Duo pouted and nudged Heero with an elbow. He grunted. "Heero, you understand, right?"
After taking a moment to swallow, he said quite seriously, "Did you leave any trace evidence of your tampering?"
"Please, give me some credit," Duo sniffed. "There's a reason I help teach undercover ops and you know it."
"Will this ruin Agent Smith's career?"
"Nah, it was just a bit of pot. He'll get a pretty fine and maybe a night or two in a holding cell, but he'll be back within a week or so, especially since this is his first offense," was the cheerful reply.
"So long as you won't get called in for it and you aren't letting personal grudges interfere with your professional life, then no, I believe you were well within your usual boundaries."
Technically, Heero's conclusion could be taken as either insult or compliment, but to someone like Duo, 'technically' got twisted into whole new shapes that somehow never actually violated any rules. Or was just never caught out.
"Aw, Heero, that's so sweet," he grinned, slinging an arm around the other's shoulders. The usual rules on intrusion into personal Yuy-space didn't seem to apply in this case. "See, Quatre? Heero understands. Heero isn't an insecure opportunist who needs to subjugate the people around him."
"Then why don't you date Heero?" Quatre asked innocently. When both pilots stared at him blankly, he added, "Don't tell me it hasn't crossed one of your minds. You two act like you're practically married anyway."
Well, Quatre had always thought so, at least, and more recently Relena had been corrupted to his point of view. Trowa didn't particularly care either way, and Wufei flatly refused to consider any of his allies in any less than proper situation. But these two didn't need to know that.
"…That would mean Duo's been cheating on me," Heero said suddenly, his brows furrowing thoughtfully as he took the theory to its logical conclusion. Immediately Duo took back his arm.
"Whoa, wait, back up. Heero, stop getting all literal with hypotheticals. Quatre, what the hell."
"Really, Duo, it's not that much of a stretch – "
Sudden buzzing in one of his pockets interrupted. Quatre pulled out his phone and found a text from Trowa reminding him that Une's patience only stretched so far and he'd better get back to her office.
"I've got to go," he sighed, standing up. "Heero, it was nice seeing you. Duo…" He laughed. "Sometimes the best things are the ones right in front of our face."
"I should see you more often if you're always this much fun," Quatre winked, and Duo rolled his eyes.
"What would life be like without a little mayhem and mass destruction?" he said, and Heero muttered, "An unrecognizable one."
It could have been a comment on human nature, or it might have been one about Duo himself. Quatre had a feeling it was the latter and he left the staffroom with considerably less stress than when he'd first entered. Duo's eyes remained fixed on the door long after it had closed.
"Huh," he said flatly, and switched to the chair across from Heero that Quatre had just vacated. He watched Heero poke at his food for a bit, then took a marker from his pocket and unpinned his nametag from his jacket. He was in the process of adding the symbol for 'biohazard' when Heero asked quietly, "Are you really all right?"
Anyone else would have gotten a laugh and a lighthearted brush-off. Duo thought for a moment, then said, "Well. Yes and no. It's kinda annoying that John thought he could get all heavy-handed with me and not get his ass handed back to him on a platter. No one fucks with Shinigami, yeah?" Something dark passed briefly over his expression. "And no, in the sense that I had a few things confirmed for me which I was hoping was just me being me, because you know me and how I get weird ideas. But it seems my weird ideas aren't so weird and weren't just because I was being me, and then Quatre had to pull his empathy on us and that just isn't cool either."
Heero thought about this maze of words, and then about what Quatre had said, and came up with, "Then you really do want to date me?"
Duo's attention was a little too focused on the silly nametag to be entirely convincing. "Um. Maybe. And John being all…not-Heero was a pretty big tip-off, too."
Heero's brows furrowed again. "What do you mean?"
"I just kept thinking, 'Heero would understand,' or 'Heero wouldn't act like that.'" Foregoing the pen, Duo fiddled with the end of his braid, then seemed to gather himself and looked Heero in the eye. "You're annoying, Yuy, you know that? I mean, geez. This one time John asked me how to fix something and when I tried to explain it to him he totally didn't understand, and it was like, you would've gotten it. Actually you probably wouldn't have needed to ask in the first place." He flopped back in the chair and scowled. "It's all your fault, you asshole. You and your…Heero-ness."
"Yeah, well, I'm not," Duo muttered, "'cause I figure a kid like me, I could've done a lot worse. I could've fallen in love with a psychopath or a junkie – well, no, I wouldn't have, but that's not the point. Instead I found a hot and nerdy terrorist with a martyr complex."
"Thank you," Heero replied solemnly.
Duo laughed under his breath. "So, unshakeable partner of mine, what villains are we hunting after this lunch break?"
"There's a cartel on L3 dealing in drug production." If there was something ironic in Heero's voice, neither commented on it. "General Une wants us to do something about it."
"Which means one of us is going undercover, which means I get to earn my keep as the ops instructor," Duo groaned, and pretended to swoon in his chair. "Oh Heero, you'll save my innocent soul from the terrible drug lords, won't you?"
A corner of his mouth lifting in a smile, Heero told him, "I think you're quite capable of doing that yourself."
When Duo's shit-eating grin turned slightly embarrassed, Heero silently mused that there wouldn't be another Agent Smith to worry about again.