December 18, 196 AC




(Sidefic series for the Death and the Dragon Arc)

By: Mel and Christy
Warnings: Humour

Working his way through his usual morning collection of emails, Master O paused as he read Wufei's latest report. The coldly polite formal phrases were... not exactly depressing, but certainly...

*Disheartening?* he mused, saving that message and moving on to the next. *Perhaps I understand why he acts the way he does, but I cannot help wishing that there was room in his heart for something other than duty and honour... and self-disgust. He hides it well, but I see it.*

Sighing, he went on, reading messages, deleting some and forwarding others to where they would do the most good, until he came to one that made him blink in surprise.

*That is not my email address!*


SENT: 20:06 December 18, 196AC
SUBJECT: Your assistance is needed

---message begins---

Master O -

I know this is kinda breaking protocol, but Quatre and I need to ask you for a favour, and since Chang only takes orders from you, it's not like G or H could do it for us. It's a really big favour, too.

See, none of us have missions from December 23rd through December 25th. Heero & I have one on the 27th, but you really didn't want to know that, eh? Anyway, G and Dr. J can't find anything that might need 'attention', so they're giving us a few days downtime, as is H and S. Since the 24th is Christmas Eve and the 25th is Christmas Day, we thought we'd throw a little Holiday thing- presents, decorations, lots of good food. Anyway, I know you guys don't really celebrate it, but we really want Wufei there with us.

So, can you please, please, please order him to safehouse 18- the one in western Massachusetts, USA? Tell him to be there on the 23th and to stay until you send him new orders (no orders until the 26th if you can help it)? Quatre and I would really appreciate it. We'll even owe you one.

Thanks, in advance.

Duo Maxwell, 02

---message ends---


* * * * *

Chuckling softly, O leaned back and studied the screen, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. *So, the boy hacked a new alias into my email account. Interesting. Very interesting. Even more interesting is the fact that he has unwittingly presented me with a possible solution to young Chang's excessive detachment and self-focus. If 02 cannot do something to draw him out of himself, I had better give it up as a lost cause.*

He hit 'reply' and bent over the keyboard, thick fingers moving with surprising grace as he quickly typed an answer.


"Well, he answered," Duo told Quatre, peering nervously at his laptop's screen.

"What did he say? Yes or no?"

"Dunno. I'm scared to open it."

"What?!" Quatre's tousled head popped up from behind the large pump he was rewiring, yellow hydraulic fluid smudged on his cheek. "Why?"

"Well, O's really big and quiet and... dour," Duo explained, waving his hands. "And he's got a mean right hook. I asked him to order Wu-man to do something frivolous, for crying out loud! What if he's offended?"

"It's a bit late to worry about that now," Quatre pointed out dryly.

"True." Biting his lip, Duo opened the email.


SENT: 08:52 December 19, 196AC
SUBJECT: Re: Your assistance is needed

---message begins---


My apologies for using your personal name without invitation, but I feel that a punch in the stomach counts as a full introduction. In any case, G's correspondence has accustomed me to seeing you referred to as 'Duo' or 'my boy', and the latter did not seem appropriate.

I see no reason why I should not assist in your plans. Chang Wufei is more than due for a short rest, and is unlikely to take one if I do not force the issue. I will send my contribution to the festivities along with him; although Christmas is not, as you noted, celebrated in my colony, we do make a number of Festival sweets and delicacies that I am sure will be appropriate.

One question, if I may... I understand the reasoning behind the new email address you seem to have assigned me, and the first part of your chosen designator is self-explanatory, even if I cannot identify the reference, but I must confess complete bewilderment as to the meaning of 'SNH'.

- O

---message ends---


"Aw, shoot!" Duo groaned, torn between dismay and laughter.

"What's the matter now?" Quatre asked, reading over his shoulder. "He definitely doesn't seem offended, and he did say 'yes'!"

"Yeah, but now I have to explain Terry Pratchett to him! Do you know how long it took me to explain Pratchett and Binky to Heero?!"

"And it was completely self-inflicted, so don't whine," Quatre pointed out, supressing a grin. "Just tell him to read the books. You made _me_ read them, after all."

***NOTE: Terry Pratchett is the marvelous author of the extremely popular 'Discworld' novels. If you've never read them, Mel, I and a whole lot of other authors/fans highly recommend them. The series is filled with dry humour, adventure and other fun stuff. We figure it's exactly the sort of thing this portrayal of Duo (and G) would be a fan of. For example... Death rides a pale horse, right? Well, that pale horse's name is Binky. Jacket excerp from 'Thief of Time': "...comes complete with a full supporting cast of heroes and villains, yetis, martial artists and Ronny, the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (who left before they became famous)." Go read them!



















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