Title: Tea Break
Fandom: Read or Die
Characters: Wendy Earhart & Joe Carpenter
Word Count: 781 words
Rating: K+
Author's Notes/ Disclaimer: I do not own Read or Die. Hideyuki Kurata does. The timeline is set in the mid-ROD tv.
Summary: A snippet in the life of a partly crippled bastard and his creepily devoted secretary. Please don't hit me for saying that. –hides-

All was quiet in the British Library Headquarters, mostly due to the fact that there was national holiday at that time. It was the first of May; the world was celebrating Labor Day, a 24-hour period wherein workers were acknowledged for the fruits of their efforts.

Majority of the Library's workforce were enjoying a well-deserved break, save for a few workaholics who just couldn't leave their jobs behind. The previous week had been rather demanding for the Special Operations Unit, as they became closer and closer to reviving Mr. Gentleman and restoring the British Empire's former glory. Among those who chose to stay was Mr. Carpenter, who was busily skimming through some files in his office.

He was so absorbed in his reading that he didn't even notice the door opening…

It took only a couple of steps from whoever entered the room to get Joker's attention. Sensing movement, he took his eyes off the folder, raised his head, and averted his gaze to the person standing in front of him.

"Oh, it's you Wendy." His eyes relaxed as he saw his secretary holding a tray with a pitcher and a cup on one hand.

"I came to deliver your tea, sir," the blonde woman said while gently resting the cup on her bosses' desk and filling it with lukewarm tea from the porcelain tea pot. Squaring her shoulders, she began to give a report on the developments of their master plan.

"The plane carrying Miss Nenene Sumiregawa had touched down. The exact arrival time was at 19:21 hours, 30 minutes earlier than estimated. She is now being taken to one of the cells in which she will be kept in until further instruction."

"Yes, yes…very good Wendy!" A sly grin formed on his face. "You can do anything can't you?"

However, his assistant was unfazed; she was staring blankly ahead, concern written on her facial features. It was a little unnerving. Eyes narrowing, he asked bluntly, "Is there something wrong Miss Earhart?"

"Well Mr. Joker…," she raised her hand and pointed towards him. "The bruise on your left cheek...it's rather swollen."

"Oh, this?" Letting go of the light green folder, the Englishman rested a hand on the spot concerned. As soon as his palm hit the surface, it felt as though electricity had surged throughout his body. God knew how much it hurt. As much as he wanted to wince and blurt out how painful it was, he had to keep his cool- it wouldn't do any good to his image…nor his dignity.

"It's nothing, really. A little sore, but it will get better in time."

Wendy bit her lip to prevent a mouthful of giggles from escaping. Joker's mask was too easy to unveil; his expression was an odd mix of grimace and calmness. But the grimace was far more blatant. She had to admit that it was fun seeing her boss in such a condition. I should have brought my camera along, she mused.

Fastening back her somber appearance, she reassured him, "I won't let those paper sisters get away with this."

"I'm sure that they won't be much of a threat, now that they have learned the truth. It's best to be cautious though, since they may have a few tricks up their sleeves."

The woman in front of him nodded. "I'm going to check on Junior. I'll inform you right away if we get any news on agent paper or the paper sisters whereabouts. Please enjoy your tea, sir." She turned and made her way towards the door. However, she stopped abruptly when Mr. Joker began to talk.

"One last thing Wendy…" Her ears perked up, ready to listen. "Hm?"

"Did it ever occur to you that you look so cute when you're worried?"

Ocean blue eyes widening, a slight blush formed on the blonde's cheeks. "I do?" She wanted to hit herself with a wooden plank just then. Quickly losing coherency, she desperately fumbled for words. "I mean th-thanks for the compliment."

Who knew that the word cute even existed in the guy's vocabulary? The door slammed shut afterwards as his assistant dashed to escape the embarrassing situation.

Joker chuckled to himself. It didn't take much effort to make the girl stutter like a nervous wreck. But still, his statement had every grain of truth in it. She did look cute; innocent, even. Taking the tea cup still sitting inanimately in his desk, he took a slow sip to clear his mind…

Wendy skipped merrily and boarded the elevator, humming a cheerful song as she did; which prevented her from hearing the exasperated complaints of a man whose tongue was scalded by a steaming beverage.

My first attempt at R.O.D. fic writing! (and platonic writing as well) -dances around- I think it's really cute in way. :D I tried to make it as canon as possible.. Reviews are highly appreciated! -hands out cookies-

Adieu and thank you for reading! (: