As Heero was preparing to leave for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon the week after the breaking of the curse, he received an email from building security that said only, Visitor in entry. Entertained as always by the fact that there was anyone in the company more terse than he was via email, and wondering who the visitor was, Heero gathered his things and made his way down. What was his surprise and delight to find Duo himself waiting in the entry, smiling broadly at the security guard and at Wufei; the latter two appeared to have been talking when Duo entered, and were now unabashedly staring at him without a word.
“Surprise!” Duo greeted Heero as he approached.
“How did you get here?” Heero wasted no time leading Duo out the door and away from the stares of his co-workers, though he knew it would be less easy evading the latter’s questions later.
“Quatre helped me figure out the bus system yesterday so I could come surprise you for lunch sometime.”
In the parking lot, not caring who might be looking, Heero kissed Duo intensely for a moment. “It’s a wonderful surprise,” he said. “What do you want to do for lunch?”
“Let’s go sit in that grocery store parking lot we used to,” Duo grinned.
Heero was even more pleased than he was probably letting on. He wasn’t yet accustomed to the idea, perfectly normal though it was, of Duo having conversations entirely outside his hearing and knowledge; but he loved to see Duo developing such autonomy and figuring the world out so efficiently — not least because the ability to do so made Duo so happy.
They bought random items at the grocery store, then sat in the parking lot and ate them, reminiscing about the days not long ago when these lunchtimes had caused their levels of hope for such a circumstance as this to fluctuate rather wildly. Then they made out across the gear shift like high-schoolers (which one of them had never been) until it was time for Heero to go back. Past time, rather, but they couldn’t bring themselves to move particularly quickly toward parting.
As they were ambling away from Heero’s car in the work parking lot, talking about something inconsequential, Duo broke off whatever he was saying to remark, “Oh, here comes eyebrow lady…”
Heero looked up to see that Dorothy was indeed approaching across the lot, evidently making straight for them. Fearing some censure regarding his repeated (and today particularly egregious) lateness from lunch, Heero braced himself; but Dorothy came instead to Duo and reached out.
“Congratulations,” she said, sounding surprisingly sincere and invested.
“Thanks!” Duo grinned, shaking the hand she’d offered.
She looked him up and down. “It seems to have come off without a hitch.”
“Yeah, everything worked just fine! We were worried for a bit ’cause of something that happened one day near the end, but it turned out not to be anything after all.”
Heero stared from one to another, his brows lowering as he was faced with the only possible meaning of this exchange. Duo, seeing his expression, started to laugh and then abruptly looked thoughtful. “Oh, Heero, didn’t… didn’t she ever say anything…?”
“You knew all along?” Heero wondered of Dorothy.
“It was obvious from the beginning there was some kind of powerful magic about him,” she shrugged, gesturing toward Duo. “So I did a few divinations to find out what was going on.” Her tone and demeanor clearly indicated that she’d been watching with interest ever since then — and that she’d been fully aware of Heero’s ignorance of her abilities and laughing quietly up her sleeve at him the whole time.
Heero turned back to his boyfriend. “You could have said something.”
“You know I thought I had?” Duo shrugged, and turned to Dorothy. “So you’re a diviner?”
“Primarily. I’ve got a little necrovisua and a little command as well.”
“Oooh,” said Duo admiringly. “I’ve always wanted to be necrovisual, but I’m just plain old command.”
“I’ve only got a little, though,” she reiterated with a shrug. “I can’t do much more than confirm presences; I refer people who need help to a real exorcist. But are you sure you don’t have any? Can you be sure you can’t see shades if no shades have ever come near you?”
“Oh, I’m pretty sure I must have been around some at some point in the last hundred years,” Duo laughed. “Besides, I’ve got no communion or divination, so it’d be cross-circle anyway. I’m awesome, but I don’t think I’m that special.”
“How visionary are you?”
“Just the usual command level.”
As Heero listened to this exchange, he found his surprise and slight annoyance melting away into amusement. He’d never heard Dorothy converse with such interest about anything before, and it occurred to him that nerds came in all shapes and colors. He would have liked to stay and listen longer, but instead broke in somewhat reluctantly, “I’m already late; Dorothy, I’ll see you inside.”
“Kiss!” cried Duo, and swooped in to claim one.
Once his mouth was free, blushing a little, Heero asked him quietly, “You’ll be able to get home OK?”
“Mm-hmm! Those bus stops won’t know what hit them!”
Heero had to grin. “OK. I’ll see you later.” And he turned away without looking at Dorothy.
Inside, he made it all the way upstairs before his next encounter. He was traversing the hall that led to the sales floor when he heard the serious greeting, “Heero,” in a voice from which he’d rather been expecting it. Turning to face Wufei, he found the dark, determined expression he’d also rather been expecting. Wufei came up to him and stopped, looking into his face with lowered brows. “It’s none of my affair whom you’re dating and whether or not you’re cheating on anyone,” he began. And wasn’t it just like Wufei to start a conversation by announcing that what he was bringing up was none of his business?
“Quatre and I were never dating,” Heero interjected quickly and smoothly, having been ready with this.
“So you say. Anyway, I couldn’t help but notice that this new person showed up not long after you stopped bringing your Star Trek figure in to work, and what I wanted to know was: does he know?”
“Oh, don’t play the innocent with me.” Wufei waved an imperious hand. “You’re going to have to tell him sooner or later that you based your role-playing character off of him. He’ll probably find it less creepy if you tell him sooner.”
Heero stood staring somewhat blankly at the glinting light on Wufei’s glasses. Had it really come to this? Was he really being lectured in the hallway at work by Wufei Chang about the relative creepiness of the social behaviors of nerds? And had that same Wufei really just used the phrase, ‘Don’t play the innocent with me?’
He could not wait to tell Duo about this.
“Thank you,” he said in the most serious tone he could muster. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Wufei nodded sharply, and the conversation seemed to be at an end. As Heero turned away to resume his progress toward normalcy, though, he heard Wufei ask in a quieter tone, “So you… are together with that guy?” And was it Heero’s imagination, or did he sound just a little… forlorn… as he said it?
“Yes,” he replied firmly, without turning.
So that left things mostly sorted at work. The general sales floor populace was satisfied with Heero’s explanation that he’d gotten tired of answering questions about his doll and had decided not to bring him in anymore (and very few of them pointed out the incongruity that he never had actually answered most of the questions); Dorothy was unexpectedly on his side, or at least on Duo’s side, which at the moment amounted to something similar; and Wufei was… whatever Wufei was.
Soon everyone would forget that he’d ever had that embarrassing month, and everything would be back to normal. Except that it was a new normal, a normal that involved coming home to Duo every day — and occasionally, by the looks of it, being surprised by him at lunch. And that was a sort of life alteration Heero could easily embrace.