Ch. 8 ~ "Closer"
Wufei avoided Heero the rest of the day. Heero saw him only briefly right before lunch. He and Aubrey were heading into the cafeteria when Wufei walked right up out of nowhere, seized the flabbergasted girl by the arm, and dragged her off with a firm "We need to talk".
Heero considered stopping him, but changed his mind at the last second. He watched them march off with a cold knot in his stomach. Wufei must want to discuss what he'd overheard during class. Did this prove that Aubrey was right? If he would rather talk to her than Heero until he knew the truth-- was he so disgusted he didn't even want to be around Heero anymore?
Turning his back on the retreating pair, Heero shrugged it off mentally and joined the others at a free table. It would probably be best if Aubrey explained. She was certain it had been a misunderstanding, while Heero wasn't sure how he would explain himself. Wufei would be reassured, and things would be normal between them again, as long as Heero kept that unsettling dream to himself.
Despite his internal logic, his appetite was strangely absent that day.
Heero went straight from his last class to his dorm to change. All of the clothes he'd brought with him to the campus were brand-new, thanks to Lesa; technically unacceptable for paintball. Heero chose a pair of black jeans that would hopefully hide the paint, and dragged on a loose tanktop. He was seated on the edge of his bed tugging his shoes back on when Wufei entered.
Heero sent him a quick sideways glance, trying not to look as tense as he suddenly felt. Wufei ignored him, expression an odd mixture of pensive and smug. Seating himself at his desk, he dug through his backpack and laid out his math book and notebook, seemingly intent on ignoring Heero and completing his homework.
Heero chose to take this as a good sign. Aubrey must have convinced him; otherwise wouldn't he be treating Heero differently? Or worse-- packing? The satellite phone in his desk rang.
Heero finished tying his shoes hastily and went to retrieve the phone from the drawer. A mission on a weekday? He wasn't sure whether to be annoyed or relieved at the possibility of having his date cancelled.
"Yuy here," he grunted, tucking the phone in between his shoulder and jaw as he transferred his wallet and keys from his school jeans to his pockets.
"Hey. Turn on your radio to the local rock station."
Heero blinked, startled. "...Duo? What?"
"Just do it," Duo insisted impatiently. "Not the campus radio, the town's. Uhh, 97.3, I think. Hurry up."
Frowning, Heero walked over to his bed and switched on the small clock radio. Wufei looked up in puzzled irritation as country music filled the room. Heero turned the dial until he reached 97.3. Some song he didn't recognize was screeching out of the small speakers, and he scowled. "What--"
"Just wait. It's almost over." Heero could hear the wide grin in Duo's voice, and it put him instantly on guard. A second later the phone went dead as Duo abruptly hung up.
Heero turned his back on Wufei, ignoring his questioning frown, and stood with his hands on his hips, staring balefully at the radio as if it would explain itself.
The song came to an end, and an overly cheerful DJ came on. "Thanks for tuning into 97.3, the place for today's best new rock. And now we'll be taking requests. Hey, this is 97 Rock, who's this?"
"Yeah, hi, my name's Wufei, and there's a song I wanna hear." Heero's eyebrows shot up. The voice was Duo's. He was barely even bothering to disguise it. Why the hell had he used Wufei's name?
"What the--" came Wufei's confused mutter from the desk.
"I wanna dedicate this to my room mate," Duo continued cheerfully. Even as he spoke, the beginning notes to a song were playing under his voice. "Can you play 'Closer' by Nine Inch Nails?"
"Clo-? HEY!" Wufei jumped to his feet in alarm, his chair crashing to the floor. His startled shout was nearly drowned out as the song blared through the speakers.
"You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you
You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you"
Wufei threw himself across the room as if the radio was a live grenade and he had every intent of covering the blast with his own body. Without thinking, Heero turned and grabbed him, grappling with the other boy as Wufei struggled to get to the radio fiercely.
"Wufei, what the hell are you--"
"Turn it off!" Wufei shouted. "I'm going to kill him!"
"Help me I broke apart my insides, help me I've got no
Soul to tell
Help me the only thing that works for me, help me get
Away from myself
I want to fu--"
With a snarl of desperation and anger, Wufei gave up trying to pull away and instead shoved Heero hard, slamming him into the wall between the bed and the bedside table. Pinning him there for a moment with one strong hand, he reached out with the other and snatched up the clock, hurling it across the room and out of reach with such strengh it tore the cord right out of the wall, cutting the song off abruptly.
Even as the radio soared through the air, Heero was retaliating against the rough treatment. Seizing Wufei above the elbow and by the wrist, he forced the hand away from his chest, yanking and twisting so that his startled partner was spun with his arm pinned tightly behind his back. Heero pulled him in close before the boy could do one of his tricky counter attacks and snarled right in his ear, "What the HELL are you doing, Chang??"
Wufei was breathing quickly from the struggle, and he turned his head slightly to glare at Heero. His cheeks were flushed-- most likely from the brief scuffle. "Get the fuck off me, Yuy."
"Are you finished acting like a lunatic?"
Reluctantly, Heero released him, and Wufei stepped away, turning to face him, expression unreadable. He made as if to rub his wrist, but aborted the move. Heero winced inwardly. He hadn't meant to hold on so tightly.
Wufei's eyes were narrowed in suspicion and-- trepidition? --as they flicked back and forth, studying Heero carefully.
"Now what was that all about?" Heero demanded impatiently, crossing his arms over his chest. "It was just another one of Duo's stupid pranks. What's your problem, Wufei?"
"What's my pr--" Wufei stopped, taking a deep breath and visibly forcing himself to relax. "You don't know that song." It sounded more like a realization than a question, but Heero nodded anyway, confused by the flash of relief that flickered across his partner's face.
"I don't listen to that kind of music," Heero admitted, a bit surprised that Wufei did.
Wufei scowled as if reading his mind. "Even people that don't listen to that garbage have heard of that song." He stopped suddenly, rubbing at his temples with his fingers. "Never mind. Call Duo. I'm going to rip him a new asshole."
"I don't think--"
There was a knock at the door. Wufei muttered something about conspiracies and perfect timing and returned to his desk.
Tucking the phone in his back pocket, Heero went to answer the door. "Aubrey," he greeted in mild surprise on seeing the girl in the hallway. He checked his watch hastily. "You're early--"
Aubrey had been shifting from one foot to the other, looking a little uncomfortable. She glanced over Heero's shoulder, seeing Wufei at his desk. "Um, actually, something's come up," she interrupted hastily. "Is it okay if I take a rain check for that date?" She smiled.
Heero blinked, a little ashamed of the relief he felt. "Okay." He turned towards Wufei, wondering if he should go out into the hall and talk privately with her, or if Wufei would be willing to leave for a minute. Wufei was wrinkling his nose in irritation, looking past him. Turning back to the door, puzzled, Heero caught Aubrey flashing a thumbs-up. She stuffed her hands guiltily in her pockets when she realized Heero had seen her. "Uh, okay then! Good luck! Uh um I mean, see you two tomorrow!" She hurried off, looking flustered.
Heero watched her go in confusion, then shut the door and turned to Wufei. Wufei was bent over his homework, ignoring him with feigned casualness. "I'm going for a walk," Heero intoned. This week had been entirely too strange.
Once again his feet led him unerringly in the direction of the library. He hesitated on the steps, then strode stubbornly inside. Running away from his problems had never been Heero's strong suit.
This time, however, he made a beeline for the computer room. Signing in at the desk, he chose a computer in the corner away from the other students.
It was time to do some research. He wanted to know just what the devil he'd stumbled across.
And hopefully prove to himself that it was nothing he was at all interested in.
The jangle of his phone almost an hour later startled Heero so much he almost slammed his hands down on the keyboard. Several people turned to stare, and a nearby librarian scowled darkly; phones were not allowed in the library. Closing the internet browser quickly, Heero answered the phone and strode towards the exit.
"I've got a mission for you," Une stated without preamble. "It's a little last minute, but somehow I doubt you'll complain. You can send a fruit basket of gratitude to my office tomorrow. You and Chang had better be on good terms again, because this is a two-man operation, and Barton apparently has some sort of exam he can't miss. This one is taking place not far from your location, so it'd be easiest just to assign it to you."
Heero completely ignored the librarian trying to flag him down, furious at his disregard for the rules. "When?"
"Tonight. Hope you didn't have a hot date lined up," she teased dryly.
Not anymore, Heero thought grimly. Not that he would ever mention this. Not only was it none of her business, but...
God, he'd never hear the end of it.
"Agent Miles will swing by to pick you up at 1900."
"Miles. Short, quiet guy with glasses? He did some field work with you once. Notch is unavailable."
"They'll be provided." Une's voice took on a slightly suspicious tone. "You shouldn't have any 'supplies'. Notch said she confiscated--"
"Send me the mission details. Chang and I will be ready by seven." He hung up before she could get another question out and exited the library, heading for the dorms at a steady jog.
He was secretly relieved by the interruption. The information he'd found online had been at times confusing, and even... well, some of it had stirred something that was certainly not disgust. He was not in the mood to pick his brain apart and analyze his feelings over the matter. His first instinct was still to call Duo, but he backhanded that ridiculous idea to the far reaches of his mind immediately. There was no telling how Duo would react. Heero liked to think that Duo cared enough about their friendship to not let it cause a rift to grow between them, but he had been nice enough to try and help Heero with girls, and might not take the implications of an opposite attraction well right off the bat.
Heero was so busy prepping himself mentally for the upcoming mission that he didn't think to announce his arrival at the dorm room with a brief knock. It was a polite custom the two had picked up for comings and goings in the evening; this way there was some warning before interrupting a study session, a phone call, or changing time.
And Wufei tended to take his showers in the evening.
Heero strode in and got five steps before his brain registered what his eyes were seeing. Wufei had turned sharply at his abrupt entrance, eyes widening in surprise and then quickly narrowing again in mild annoyance, hands pausing in the act of rubbing his hair vigorously with a towel. His only towel, actually, as the distinct lack of cover around his nether regions proved.
"Take a picture, Yuy, it'll last longer," Wufei grumbled, with an odd note of amusement buried in his grumpy reproach.
Heero realized he'd been staring, somehow caught off guard by yards of wet skin and twisting muscle, and jerked his eyes to the side. An unfamiliar warmth filled his face. "Sorry," he said automatically. "We have a mission. Agent Miles will be here by seven."
He could hear the frown in Wufei's voice. "Why so last-minute?"
Heero made his way over to his laptop as he explained the circumstances. As he waited for the computer to boot up, he realized uncomfortably that he could see his partner's darkened reflection on the monitor's surface as the other boy finished drying and began to dress. Forcing himself to unfocus his eyes enough to make the reflection only a vague blur, he waited until the start-up was finished and opened the decryption software, accepting the waiting message.
Heero skimmed the notes briefly. "It's an arms deal taking place at a bookstore cafe a few miles from here. There's a possibility that the weapons may be kept in the parking lot while the deal is cut and the money is changing hands inside."
Wufei's body temperature had been raised from his shower, and Heero was intensely aware of the boy standing just behind him, reading over his shoulder. "Stupid," Wufei admonished, and it took Heero's lagging brain a moment to realize he was referring to the arms dealers. "And brash. We've got to be careful not to alarm the customers. It would be easiest if we followed them to their car and took care of them quietly outside. Less witnesses."
Heero nodded in mute agreement.
Wufei checked his watch. "We have enough time to eat before Miles shows up."
Heero couldn't help it. The question was out before he realized what he was about to ask. "Why did Duo ask the radio to play that song using your name?"
Wufei slowed on his way to the door, but didn't quite stop. He didn't look back, either, and his voice was the very definition of casual. "Just a stupid prank, Yuy. You said so yourself."
Heero stared at the back of his head. The DJ had named the song and its band. It had been the work of a moment for Heero to do a quick lyric check on the library's computer. It had not been at all what he'd been expecting. The words had triggered both disgust at their openly lewd suggestions, and an odd heat inside of him.
Why would Duo call in a song in Wufei's name-- a song about sex? It was a ridiculous and decidedly unclassy idea of a prank, even by Duo's standards. No wonder Wufei had been so agitated. In any case, it would probably be best not to bring it up again. Shutting down the laptop, Heero followed his partner out of the room.
Author's Notes: Sorry this took so long to get up, and sorry it's so short D8
I'd just prefer to have the mission take place in its own chapter, which I'm already working on. Only a few chapters left~
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