Genre/Summary: Fluff, of a sort. Series of ten drabbles in an AU.
He strode calmly into the room, didn't set his briefcase down, and then steadily and confidently announced, “I don't think I need to talk to you about anything.”
The new company psychologist, who looked ridiculously young, and who had a thick braid of gold-auburn hair swinging down over one shoulder, smiled sweetly back and answered, “Wufei. Quatre has told me all about you. Please, sit down. Tea?”
It irritated him that this stranger used his first name, and his CEO's, as if they were all familiar friends. “No. Thank you.”
He stood in the doorway, and only very reluctantly stepped in when bright, violently blue eyes looked up and a broad grin blossomed on the wide mouth.
“Wufei. Did Quatre threaten you with a pay-cut to get you back in here?”
His sensibilities were mightily offended at the greeting and its implication, and he did not deign to answer. He set his briefcase down stiffly, but did not let go of it. He wondered if it would be too rude to turn around and walk back out.
“No. Thank you.”
“Quatre thinks you're the epitome of a workaholic. You do realize this comes from a man who sleeps in the office three days a week.”
He didn't see the need to justify what he chose to do with his time, and conveyed it succinctly. From Duo's slow grin, one would almost think he had walked right into a trap.
“Well, I can tell you're no desk slouch; you look really fit, by the way. And that reminds me, I've been wanting to ask you about how you manage to work out with the hours you keep on the job...”
He tuned Duo out, and wished the session was over already. There were documents he needed to read.
“No. Thank you.”
“Who's your best friend?”
Wufei stared at Duo, who stared right back, and who didn't bat an eyelid when Wufei finally managed to couch his opinion of just how stupid a question that was, in as diplomatic terms as he could.
“You don't have a best friend?”
He grit his teeth. “I don't want a best friend.”
“Don't you ever get lonely?”
A long pause. “I really don't see how that's your business.”
Again, that flash of teeth, and then a rueful wink from those huge, blue-violet eyes. “Ouch. You really know how to wound a guy.”
Wufei felt like tossing something at the man, just to see if he could wipe the cheer from that face.
“No. Thank you.”
He felt uncommonly riled up with the enormous workload and drawn-out weariness of the day, and it showed. “Is something the matter with you?”
Duo quirked an eyebrow at him, hands loosely clasped over each other under a pointed chin. “No? Not that I can think of at the moment, anyway. What's wrong?”
He was tired, but mere annoyance wouldn't break the civil restraint he'd built up over the years. “You're always smiling.”
The other eyebrow rose to join the first. “And...there's something wrong with that.” A statement, not a question.
“Yes. It seems to me like you're never serious.”
The smile became thin, wry, and slightly hard. Wufei stood his ground.
“I suppose you may be right.”
“I think I am.”
There was a loud sigh, and the laughter was back in Duo's voice; it sounded amused and slightly hysterical. “Tea?”
“No. But warm water, if you have it.”
There was a stunned silence, before a very weak “Of course...” was croaked out. Wufei would have gloated, if it were in his nature to do so.
“Why do I still have to see you?”
Duo shot him a blindingly bright smile, one that had Quatre-Thought-It-Would-Be-Good-For-You-A
He sighed, feeling battered and grumpy, not even having the energy to be affronted.
“What do you th—?!” he caught himself waspishly, and settled for a clipped and more than slightly sullen, “A little.”
The smile dropped slightly, and a sympathetic look entered the bright eyes. Wufei really wished Duo wouldn't do that. He didn't need anyone feeling sorry for him, not the least because it made him aware that, perhaps, he did seem—just a little—pitiable on days like this.
“...If you have it.”
Wufei vaguely relished the shocked silence, which seemed significantly longer than the last time he'd made it happen; it was probably the only thing he was going to come out on top of for today. He thought, with dread and a building headache, of the mountains of paperwork waiting for him on his desk, at home, and in his briefcase.
A cup was set, slightly noisily, in front of him.
He carefully signed the last file, then closed the folder and set it aside. Looked up, and noticed with some surprise his visitor; felt mildly chagrined at the fact that he hadn't been aware of the presence at all. “How long have you been standing there?”
Duo shrugged minutely. “Just a while.”
“It's nine o' clock. What are you doing here?”
“Did you have dinner?”
He was caught off-guard by the non-sequitur question; his hand paused mid-air, the pen still clutched in it. “What?”
“A new 24-hour cafe just opened, nearby. I heard Hilde say it's got this fantastic Ceylon tea. 'Sweet, and piping hot like you wouldn't believe', if I recall her exact words right. She says it serves a mean pork chop, too.”
It was a very different sort of smile that appeared on Duo's face, small, droll, and with the faintest hint of trepidation. “Would you like to go out with me? For dinner, I mean. If you're still busy, I can, well, you know, buy something back before I go off for the day, or something like that—” He shut his mouth with an audible clack when Wufei stood.
The other man blinked. And blinked again.
“Yes. Well,” he felt slightly silly, watching Duo gape and fish for a reply. “Thank you. For asking me.”
It had become an almost regular affair, going to the cafe together, or meeting there, on Monday nights. Mondays were the days when Wufei would stay back the latest because of the onslaught of faxes and contracts to wade through. Neither of them ever mentioned that Duo's office hours ended at five P.M. Wufei never really felt like asking, and Duo never said anything.
“You're soaked,” Duo was staring rather oddly at him as he dropped the umbrella on the empty seat next to him, and tried to squeeze the water out of his dripping hair.
“Yes.” Oops, not quite successful in biting back the sarcasm there. “It's only a storm outside.”
Duo was still looking him over as Wufei tried not to squirm in his wet shirt. It was highly uncomfortable, the material transparent and plastered against his shoulders and chest like that.
Duo cleared his throat, and looked away. “I ordered the chicken spaghetti for you. Without peas or onions. That okay?”
“...Yes. Thank you.”
“You don't like it when I joke with you,” Duo observed suddenly.
“I don't like it when people play the fool,” Wufei corrected.
Duo's glance was measuring. “It's not healthy, being so serious all the time.”
The mild rebuke stung, because criticism always did. “Quite apparently, we disagree on many things. Are we done yet?”
Duo's eyes narrowed, challenging him, fairly mocking him. “Won't you have some tea before leaving?”
“No. Thank you.”
He barely managed to avoid slamming the door.
Wufei ignored it.
“That day...it was unprofessional of me. And unnecessary.”
Even the memory of it irked Wufei. Why had he gotten so angry and upset, anyway? He frowned, and tried to focus his attention back on the page he'd been reading before Duo had rapped on his window and unceremoniously opened the door. “Do you have a point?”
A shadow fell over his desk; he looked up, annoyed, and then his eyes went wide as Duo darted forward and kissed his cheek lightly.
“...Your hands are on my papers,” was all Wufei could think to say. Against his skin, Duo's mouth was warm, a little wet, and curved into a smile.
“Forget the papers. You wanted to know my point. I'm making it.”
a/n: this is all the fault of grumpy corporate officeworker!wufei, who refused to stop walking around my head in a suit and a tie the whole of yesterday. um. yes.