The first indication that Heero had another pointless visitor was the appearance in front of him of some sort of small torture device. It had a couple of curving lengths of thick wire like a pincer and a long shaft leading to a round piece, all painted a disconcertingly sterile white, and it was held right in Heero’s face by Wufei Chang. The latter had been out working on a contract for the last week, or else Heero might have remembered him and recognized his danger. Now it was too late.
Heero actually started back at the unexpected sight of whatever it was Wufei was shoving at him. Any normal person, seeing this reaction, would have withdrawn the object and possibly apologized for the abrupt entrance; but Wufei just pushed the white claw-thing closer and said, “I happened to have an extra.”
“What the hell is it?” It was never really a good idea to admit any sort of ignorance to Wufei, but Heero was startled.
“It’s a doll stand,” replied Wufei patronizingly.
“Oh, no…” Duo groaned.
Although he hadn’t originally planned on touching the thing, Heero now reached out quickly and took the purported doll stand from Wufei’s hand. If he didn’t, Wufei might (would probably) decide to implement the device himself, and Duo didn’t seem to like that idea. Heero thought he understood; the stand creaked and shifted ominously in his grip, and nothing had occurred to diminish the impression that it had been designed as a means of torturing unsuspecting dolls and their friends.
“I heard you had a Star Trek doll,” Wufei went on, “so I went home at lunch to get you a stand for it.” He was obviously trying for a tone that would imply this to be normal behavior and motivated by generosity, but Heero knew better. Wufei didn’t do things like this because he was nice, but, rather, to show off his expertise: he had an extra doll stand; he had been into the doll scene long before Heero had.
“He just assumed you didn’t have one?” Duo wondered incredulously.
Heero said, “Thank you.” This was another dangerous thing to allow Wufei to hear, but Heero really couldn’t think of anything else. He’d never been entirely solid on how to deal with Wufei.
“Oh, you’re certainly welcome,” Wufei said, sounding pleased with himself. “I’ve had an extra ever since I sold my John Locke figure.” He added unnecessarily, “I didn’t like the direction the writers were taking with his character.”
Noncommittally, Heero nodded.
“He didn’t like what?” said Duo.
“I wasn’t aware that you were also a fan of Star Trek,” Wufei went on. Heero was not at all pleased by the tone of still-slightly-condescending camaraderie. Wufei already had this strange idea that there was some kind of connection between him and Heero because they were both of Asian descent, and in fact had once puzzled over the spelling of Heero’s name so assiduously that Heero had been forced to explain why his parents and grandparents had chosen such American-looking romanizations. Heero was not eager to have something else in common with Wufei.
As it was too late to deny the accusation, however — given that Duo was actually wearing the uniform, and that for Heero to pass himself off as a Star Trek fan was supposedly the point — he simply nodded again.
“If I were to hazard a guess,” Wufei said in what he probably thought was a shrewd tone, “I would say you are a Voyager fan.”
“Yes,” said Heero at once, thinking to avoid prolonging this conversation by agreeing (little hope as he really had of its working).
“If he were to hazard a guess?” Duo demanded. “Heero, who is this guy?”
“Do you want to know how I knew?” asked Wufei. Then, not waiting for Heero to tell him that he didn’t, he explained, “You’ve got him in a 2009 reboot uniform, and no real fan of the original series could ever tolerate that movie.”
Heero really, really didn’t care how Star Trek people felt about the various parts of their universe, but he still didn’t quite see Wufei’s logic. Weren’t there a number of Star Trek series? How did his supposedly not being a ‘real fan of the original series’ mean that he must be a Voyager fan?
Duo also had a problem with Wufei’s statement. “What?!” he yelped. “That was a great movie! What the hell didn’t he like about it?”
It had been Heero’s intention to ask Wufei if he was on the clock and, hopefully, get rid of him that way. Instead, to please Duo, he relayed the question. “What didn’t you like about it?”
Wufei scowled. “It derailed the entire Star Trek continuity! Everything was wrong! I mean, Vulcan being destroyed? It invalidates every part of the story that comes after that!”
“It was an alternate reality!” Duo protested. “They specifically said that in the movie. Who does he think Leonard Nimoy was playing?”
Heero struggled to remember what he could of the film, from the single time he’d seen it the previous year, in order to reword Duo’s statement so that Wufei wouldn’t bite his head off. “It was an alternate reality, though. That was why the other Spock showed up: he came from our world, where all the things in the original show and movies did happen, and Vulcan wasn’t destroyed.” He thought that was right, anyway… God, had he really just said all of that?
“But there’s already an alternate reality in the original series. We know what the alternate reality is like.”
“Um, what…?” said Duo. “I think he needs to go look up the word ‘alternate.'”
“I think there can be multiple alternate realities,” Heero suggested cautiously.
Wufei fumed, “But there doesn’t need to be. There was a lot of material they could have worked with that would have allowed them to give the series a fresh look with new actors without screwing up the timeline and justifying it with ‘oh, it’s just time-travel; it didn’t really happen.'”
Duo started to say something, but Wufei overrode him as he added, “It just didn’t fit with Gene Roddenberry’s original vision.”
There was a moment of silence, and then Duo burst out laughing. “What, his original vision that included time travel and alternate realities?”
Heero was trying to think of a non-combative way to say this when Wufei snorted and changed his focus. “And Spock was too emotional. He was never that emotional in the original series.”
Dropping the third person and addressing his opponent directly, despite Wufei being unable to hear him, Duo said derisively, “What, you mean after he’d just lost his entire planet and his mom? How did you expect him to react??”
“He had just lost his entire planet and his mother,” was how Heero relayed this, in as reasonable a tone as he could command. He wondered, without wanting to look, if anyone else was around and listening. What on earth would they think? Well, he supposed, a discussion like this could only enhance the idea that he was a fan…
“He went through plenty of trauma in the original series,” Wufei insisted, “without ever displaying that much emotion.”
“Um, yeah, dumbass, but this movie was set before the original series. People do change, you know.” It was actually rather amusing how annoyed Duo was about this. Really, it shouldn’t be surprising that he was such a geek about something that had formed such a big part of his life.
“But the Spock in the movie was younger,” Heero translated. “It was before he’d learned to be that much in control.”
“Stop being so polite, Heero!” Duo complained. “This guy’s bugging the hell out of me.”
“His involvement with Uhura was totally out of character too.” It didn’t seem that any of Duo’s proxy arguments had made any impact whatsoever on Wufei; the latter was simply working his way down a list of complaints and systematically discarding any disagreement.
“Well, I agree that Spock has always been pretty damn gay for Kirk,” Duo said in a milder tone, “but in that movie–” But Heero never got to hear what Duo thought of Spock’s 2009 relationship with Uhura, for at that moment they were interrupted.
“Wufei, are you on the clock?” Dorothy had a way of asking this particular question that made even people that weren’t abusing the timeclock check to see if there was something more productive they could be doing.
Wufei, who lived in his own very serious little world, was largely immune to things that affected other people strongly, but even he could not completely ignore that tone. He cleared his throat. “Yes. I was just discussing something with Heero.”
“I noticed,” said Dorothy dryly. “Back to work now?”
Wufei nodded somberly, then subtly did the ‘Live long and prosper’ gesture at Heero before retreating from the cubicle. Once again Duo burst into startled laughter.
“You should know better than to get him worked up about something like Star Trek at this time of day,” Dorothy chided as she came fully into the cubicle. “Now he won’t get anything done for the rest of the afternoon.”
Heero couldn’t quite bring himself to apologize.
Dorothy stopped just beside him, looking down at Duo with a faint frown and brows drawn slightly together, evidently more pensive than disapproving or even curious. “At least you didn’t agree with him,” she murmured. “So he probably won’t try to sneak back in here and continue the discussion the moment my back is turned.”
Heero acknowledged this point with a nod.
As she went to leave, Dorothy added in a thoughtful tone, “Spock really was always pretty gay for Kirk, wasn’t he…”
The moment she was gone, Heero leaned his elbow on the desk, bent forward, and rested his face in his hand. Torn between amusement and horror, he didn’t quite know what to say or do now, and he felt more than a little tired out. “I am never doing that again,” he murmured. “No more three-way conversations.”
Duo chuckled a little. “Not into threesomes, huh? Especially ones that nerdy, I bet.”
Heero nodded against his hand, and grumbled darkly, “Wufei’s probably going to think he’s my best friend now. I hope you appreciate this…”
It was remarkable how the seriousness of Duo’s reply, “More than I can tell you,” could do so much to make everything in the world tolerable again.
Love, this faery