Disclaimer: Gundam Wing and associated characters do not belong to us, as much as we would like them... No money is being made from this fic!
Max Suoh and Chen belong to us.
This story is set 6 years after the events of Endless Waltz
Sally Po rubbed her eyes and stretched. Never again, she swore to herself, never again would she stay up until 4am working and then trying to snatch 3 hours sleep on the office couch. Sally rubbed her neck and smiled ruefully, *Of course, that's what I said _last_ time!* she thought.
Yawning, Sally switched on the coffee maker and began fixing herself a strong coffee. The medic within her scolded at this dependence on caffeine and pleaded that decaf was better, Sally ignored the plea, a woman had to have one or two little vices...
Once the coffee was made, Sally took a seat at the table by the window and gazed out at the clear sky. For a while she just stared at nothing in particular and sipped her coffee, then her gaze slid to the clock on the wall. She noticed it was almost 7.15. With a slight smile she got up and began to prepare another coffee.
At 7.15 precisely she heard the door down the hall slam. Sally frowned slightly, from the way the door slammed she concluded that a stronger brew was needed. Quickly she amended the coffee quatities as needed.
Chang Wufei threw open the door and stalked into the office. He looked at the table, occupied by Sally and a large mug of extra-strong black coffee. Without a word the former pilot of Gundam 05 (better known as Shenlong or Nataku) stomped over to the table, picked up the mug and downed the coffee.
Sally raised one eyebrow but said nothing.
Wufei finished the coffee and blinked as the caffeine hit his brain. He put down the mug with a thump and sat down.
"So..." said Sally slowly, she didn't really want to ask, but he expected it. "Did you have a good evening?"
Wufei growled. "No I did NOT!" he exploded. "I hardly slept at ALL!!"
Sally sighed mentally. *Here we go...* she braced herself.
Wufei began stalking around the room. "First of all, the people on the third floor had a party which lasted until 1.30am! They kept playing that awful techno racket over and over again! I don't get it, where are the _words_??" he glared at Sally as if she could provide the answer.
Sally just shrugged, so Wufei continued.
"I was just about to go up and break them up when they stopped. Then, just as I was going back to sleep, the couple on the first floor started having an argument that went on for an HOUR!!!"
"What was that about?" Sally asked curiously.
"Who cares? Although as far as I can tell he was leaving her..."
"Well, she might have some justification for being upset then..." Sally attempted.
"Not at 2.30 in the morning!" snapped Wufei.
"Of course not Wufei." Sally rolled her eyes.
"After they quietened down, the traffic noise level went up!"
"It _is_ a busy road..."
"And THAT woke the baby in flat 202!" Wufei ground his teeth. "As usual the parents didn't wake up, so after half an hour I sneaked into the apartment and rocked the kid to sleep..."
Sally sat up straighter and smiled. "Well, that was good of you."
Wufei wasn't listening. "...As I have at least four times before! Those people... I don't know why they had another child, they have TWO others and they can't afford another one, as we heard at..."
"4am every night during the pregnancy." Sally finished in a sing-song voice. Wufei paused and stared at her. Sally sighed. "Wufei, why don't you move?"
Wufei sat down. "Hn. Where do you suggest, woman? There isn't alot of choice in apartment buildings around here."
"How about a house then?"
Wufei snorted. "Woman, I will only move into a house when it is MY house. That is, built by me, in a place where no one can bother me, away from the noise of the city."
Sally's eyes narrowed. A thought suddenly occurred to her, it was a slim chance, but it could just work.
"Well, why not do that now?" she suggested. Wufei shot her a startled glance. Sally continued. "You can afford to live away from headquarters Wufei, besides which we spend alot of time in space anyway. Now that Zechs and Noin are back out the team is a lot bigger and you could easily build a house to live in between missions."
Wufei looked thoughtful, but he shook his head. "No, the type of house I want to live in would cost alot to build."
"Oh for God's sake!" Sally exploded causing Wufei to blink and stare at her. "You HAVE money!!!" she cried. "Wufei, you've been working as a Preventer for 6 years, we DO get paid well if you haven't noticed! Besides which, you hardly ever spend money, you have no life!"
Wufei opened his mouth to object, but Sally continued scolding.
"You don't have any expensive hobbies, or any hobbies besides Martial Arts and swords and THEY don't cost much! You don't drink or go out to the movies or stuff like that (not that I haven't _tried_)! You eat at work, and complain about the cafeteria food at length, you dress simply and you walk everywhere you can!" Sally glared at him. "You must have a _ton_ of money! So, just GO! You don't need to live in that apartment anymore! Also I'm SICK of listening to you complain about the noise, I live there too remember? I KNOW what it's like!!!"
Sally let out an irritated breath and leant back in her chair.
There was a long pause and then Wufei spoke up.
"You're being unusually emotional... it's your time of the month isn't it."
Sally leapt to her feet. "No it is NOT!" she yelled. "And I thought you weren't going to assume that anymore!" she paused. "Not after what happened the last time anyway."
Wufei cast his mind back and suffered one of his rare moments of tact. "No, you're correct. I apologize." he got up and went over to the door. "I am going to run systems checks on the shuttle." he said calmly.
"Okay." Sally picked up the empty coffee cups and avoided looking at him.
Wufei paused in the act of opening the door. "You might be right about that house." he said and left.
Sally looked up. The expression on her face would have surprised and possibly worried Wufei... she was grinning.
"Well," she said to herself in a reflective tone. "It looks like I'll have to lose my temper more often!"
Sally yawned and mixed coffee. The clock hands clicked over into 7.15 and nothing happened.
"Odd," murmured Sally. "He's never late."
At 7.16 she began to worry.
At 7.17 she was seriously considering calling in the troops.
The door slammed open at 7.18.
"Phew." said Sally.
Sally dropped the coffee mug.
Wufei stared at her, "What is with you today woman?"
"Did... did you just say good morning?" Sally asked faintly.
"Of course, that's what people do in the mornings when they see other people."
Sally cast her mind back and tried to remember ANY instance of Wufei using the words "good morning". Nope, it was up in the ranks of lost vocabulary right under "please" and "thank you". Oh yes, and "Sally".
"Well, uh, good morning to you," she said. "Ummm... did you have a good evening?"
"No!" said Wufei. "I had the WORST evening of all week. The upstairs neighbours partied until dawn and I had to step over comatose bodies and vomit this morning. The brat in 202 woke up and REFUSED to go to sleep so I went in to rock it back to sleep and for the first time in known history the parents woke up and caught me at it. The man from flat 6 came back to his wife at 3.30 and they spent the rest of the night 'making up' and some miserable bastard's car alarm went off at 10 pm and was still on when I got up this morning. It's broken now."
"I wonder how THAT happened," Sally drawled sarcastically. *Damn, these new sleeping pills are GOOD! I didn't hear a thing! Although I do recall some dreams about burglars.* "So, why are you so happy then?"
"I have decided to build a house!" Wufei announced. "I was late this morning because I was buying the land it will be on."
Sally stared at him. "You... you bought some land for a house?" she said faintly.
"Indeed." Wufei pronounced. "I decided it was time I had my own place. After all, I can afford it now, and I can't stand the noise at my place anymore. I don't need a big place, but just somewhere I can rest between missions. And now that Zechs and Noin are on board again, I won't be needed so much. It was the logical conclusion to come to."
Sally ground her teeth, "Of course it was." she agreed. "So, where is your house going to be? I assume it's outside the city limits?"
"Yes. It's in China."
"CHINA????" Sally stared at him. "Seriously?"
"Naturally," Wufei huffed. "Since I no longer have a colony, I decided to live in my ancestral land. Besides, they have lots of empty space."
"I see..." said Sally. "What province?"
Wufei smirked and named it.
Sally hid a grin. "Really??? How nice. I hear it's quite lovely
"Yes," said Wufei. "I am going there tonight to look over the area and begin planning my house. I want to borrow some camping equipment from supply."
Sally raised an eyebrow. "You're going to move there _immediately_?"
"Why not? It's my home, I need to start getting used to it." Wufei coughed. "And, er, I've been evicted. The tenants in 202 complained about my nocturnal visits, the partiers upstairs complained about my threatening them with katanas, and the car I skewered turned out to belong to the landlord."
"Uh huh," said Sally. "I'll see what I can do."
Lady Une poured the tea and handed a cup to Sally who blew on the hot beverage before taking her first sip.
Une leaned back in her chair and smiled at her friend. "So, how is your little project going, Sally?" she asked.
Sally put her cup down and grinned. "It's going quite well," she said. "Although recent developments mean that I'll be spending time in China - is that going to be inconvenient?"
Une shook her head. "No, now that Noin and Zechs have returned I can use them if something comes up, please take all the time you need, I know this project is very important to you."
Sally nibbled on a piece of chocolate cake. "It is." she affirmed.
Une leaned forward. "I'm curious though, why did you decide to push things now?"
Sally sighed. "I got tired of waiting, Une," she confessed, she took another sip of her tea before continuing. "I've been very patient, but... it has been _six_ years! I'm _not_ waiting until I hit thirty!"
"I see," Une leaned back again and swallowed a mouthful of her own tea. "Are you sure the time is right?"
"I'm sure, this _will_ work!" Sally's eyes brightened with determination. "I knew what I wanted for a very long time, and I _refuse_ to let it slide out of my grasp!"
Une chuckled. "I don't think your project stands a chance!"
"Damn straight!" said Sally and she bit into her slice of cake.
Wufei surveyed his territory proudly. It really was perfect in every way. Quiet, isolated, and in the middle of aesthetically pleasing greenery.
Of course, it was also crisscrossed with surveyors at the moment. He'd hired a team that Sally had recommended on his way out of HQ and they were working out rather well. He already had some sketches for plans of the house.
"What?" Wufei turned around to see Sally waving and walking towards him. "How did you get here woman? And for that matter, WHY are you here?"
"By shuttle, same as you," she said calmly ignoring Wufei's second question. "How's it going?" Sally smiled and hoped she had distracted him from asking anymore awkward questions.
She had. "Not too bad," Wufei replied. "This survey crew you recommended is very... efficient."
"High praise," Sally said with a smile. "So things are going well then?"
"Yes," said Wufei. "I have already completed a number of rough sketches."
Sally stared at the proffered architectural drawings and mentally reviewed her assessment of Wufei as an obsessive compulsive. Called that one right.
"I... see..." she said slowly, leafing through the diagrams. "These are very good."
Wufei smiled modestly. Yeah right. "I am grateful for your opinion," he said, unbending slighly. "Such as it is." He reached for the sketches.
"But..." Sally perused the sketches. "I think you're underestimating your needs."
"Oh?" Wufei snapped into arrogant bastard mode. "Are you accusing me of being... soft?"
"Noone would EVER accuse you of being that Wufei," Sally smiled. "It's just that, well... maybe you should think about enlarging the main room, and adding some additional rooms."
"Like how?" Wufei asked suspiciously.
"Well," said Sally. "You'll want a weapons room right? You don't REALLY want to keep your ENTIRE weapons collection in your bedroom do you? There wouldn't be any room left for you."
"Hmmm... a weapons room..." Wufei's eyes glazed over. "I could finally mount all of my swords in proper casing on a wall."
Sally sighed. "Yes, you could. And you'd want the main room to be bigger too, right? After all, you'll need enough room for marital... I mean martial arts practice. Or maybe you could build a separate dojo."
"My own dojo..." Wufei sighed in ecstasy.
"And, maybe a meditation room?" Sally suggested. "Then you'd need to add some extra rooms on, or else the house would be unbalanced... and you want it to be balanced correctly right? It's bad feng shui otherwise."
"Hmmm... I hadn't thought about that." Wufei took a pencil and fiddled with the sketches. "I could have a small room here... I don't know what to do with it though."
"Perhaps skip that room and extend the bathroom into that area?" Sally suggested. "Then you could fit a proper full-sized bath AND shower into it."
An hour later, the pair had finished roughing out a design. By this time, Wufei was very pleased with his wisely considered conditions and Sally was wondering what she had ever seen in him.
"This is really very good," Wufei looked up at her and smiled. "Your efforts on my behalf are appreciated."
Sally melted a little. "You're quite welcome."
"After all, this sort of frivolous frippery is more suited to women than men."
Wufei smiled at her again. "In gratitude for your time and suggestions, would you join me for dinner tonight? My treat."
Sally smiled and resisted the urge to ruffle his hair. She'd probably just impale her hand anyway. "That would be nice."
Wufei waited impatiently for the construction crew to arrive. Finally having been talked out of the notion of building the entire house from scratch by himself, he had reluctantly agreed to hire a crew that Sally had recommended. She seemed to know an awful lot of builders. And some of them had interesting backgrounds. He'd run security checks on them all of course, and they'd all had little erased portions from around six years ago. Some more digging had turned up the interesting fact that many of them had military backgrounds in the old Federation, and a good half had at one time or another served with the same person - one Major Sally Po. Wufei didn't know what nepotism meant but he knew damn well what this was.
Sally marched up the road and waved at him. She looked relaxed and refreshed. Wufei scowled and rubbed the back of his neck, it had been a long time since he had last slept rough and last night he had attracted every camping pest known to man. Wetas weren't even _native_ to China!! He'd slept better at his old apartment.
"Good morning!" Sally beamed as she neared him. "Isn't the air _wonderful_ here? I always feel refreshed when I return..."
Wufei's eyes narrowed. "You know this area well?"
Sally sweatdropped slightly. *Whoops!* "So, uh..." she looked around. "I take it that the construction crew isn't here yet?"
Wufei's suspicious thoughts were derailed as he remembered his earlier irritation. "No, they are late!" he snapped. He glared at Sally. "I should not have listened to you, woman! An unreliable..."
"Oi! Are you Chang Wufei?" A shout interrupted Wufei's potential rant.
He and Sally turned to see several men walking towards them. The leader was a large man with an unshaven face and a big grin.
"I am Chang Wufei." Wufei confirmed. "And you are...?"
"Max Suoh," the big man thrust out his hand. "Your foreman, pleased to meetcha!"
Wufei looked down at the outstretched hand and nodded coolly, keeping his own hands behind his back. Max paused and then pulled his hand back, his expression showing confusion.
"Uh... well..." he scratched the back of his head and glanced at Sally. His grin returned. "Major Sallah! You're looking well!"
Sally smiled. "It's nice to see you again, Suoh, and call me Sally now."
"Shall we get on?" Wufei inquired.
Max blinked and nodded. Wufei produced the plans - which he had improved last night and they began to work.
Sally sighed and tried not to yawn. It was getting very boring watching Wufei and Suoh argue. They'd been at it for an hour now and neither showed signs of giving in.
It had all started so well, or as well as it could. Max had looked through the plans and discussed them with the other workers and then they began preparing the foundations. Suddenly Wufei had leapt up and started yelling that they were doing things all wrong. Max had defended himself by pointing out that he was only doing what the plans _said_ and then all hell broke loose.
Now there was murder, riot and revolution in the air. Sally was wondering how to stop it, would calling in Relena Peacecraft achieve anything or would Heero Yuy and his death glare work better?
"WHAT did you CALL me???!!!" screamed Wufei.
Both, definitely both. Sally sighed, she really didn't want to do this, but in the absence of a least two gundams...
"SHUT UP!!!!!" she yelled at the top of her voice.
Surprised all the men fell silent, even Wufei, although that wasn't to last.
"Woman..." he began, but then shut up immediately when she leveled her gun in his face.
"Okay," said Sally sweetly. "You two! Smile and shake hands, or I'm shooting the next one that argues!"
Wufei and Max glanced at each other and then reluctantly shook hands. They didn't smile though.
*Good enough!* thought Sally and she put away her gun. "Wufei, can I make a suggestion?"
Wufei was tempted to say no, but Sally had been very excitable lately and it was hard to tell if she wouldn't shoot him if he refuse. "Go ahead woman."
"I... know of an architect in the city nearest here, perhaps if he looks over the plans then you can both reach some sort of accommodation?"
Wufei snorted but nodded agreement. Max grinned. "Whatever you say, Sally!"
"Good," Sally smiled. "Now, if you'll all try NOT to kill each other, I'll just make a phone call."
"Hello, Auntie June? It's Sally."
"Sally! How nice to hear from you, it's been so long and we've been concerned because you never contact us and..."
"Auntie! I need a favour!"
"Sure Sally, you only have to ask, by the way have you..."
"The architect you told me about last time we spoke, Chen wasn't it? Do you still know him?"
"Yes, oohh... he's such a nice man, Sally! Single too and handsome..."
"Whatever, do you have his number?"
"Oh you shouldn't call him like that! It's not proper..."
"I want him for a job!"
"Oh? Is that all?"
Wufei looked up from his staring match with Max to see a man walking towards him. He was perhaps a little older than Sally, wearing an expensive suit and tie. Wufei tried not to sneer. This guy had 'civilian' written all over him.
"Good afternoon." the man said again.
"Thank goodness!" said Sally. "PLEASE tell me that you're Chen?"
"I am indeed," replied Chen. "Chen Hwa to be precise. And you must be Miss Sally Po."
"Pleased to meet you," said Sally, bowing slightly. *Noone's called me Miss for YEARS! I think it's the combat gear that does it.* "And this is Max Suoh..."
"We've met," rumbled Max. "On the Turn A Corporation construction site. Good to see you again."
Chen bowed and exchanged pleasantries.
"And this," said Sally. "Is Chang Wufei, the client."
Chen bowed to Wufei, who nodded back. Chen's eyebrows rose. "You are
very fortunate for one so young," he said,
Sally and Max winced. Wufei didn't seem to notice the slight. "Age is irrelevant," he replied. "The trouble is with the design of my house. This fool is doing it all wrong."
Sally put her hand on her gun and Max shut up. Chen blinked, he'd obviously missed something here.
"Very well, may I see the plans then?"
"Ah yes, I see the trouble... Now Mr Wufei, about this room here..."
Sally drove Chen back into town. "Thank you for all your help," she said. "Wufei can be ah... something of a perfectionist."
Chen smiled. "Unusual in one so young," he said. "But let's not talk about him. Let's talk about you."
Sally blinked. "Pardon?"
"I hear you work for the Preventers. That must be _very_ interesting."
"Uh, yeah it is." said Sally. "Unfortunately, it's mostly classified so if I told you anything I'd have to kill you."
"Ahahahahahahahaha!" laughed Chen. "What a great sense of humour you have!"
*Oh boy. Auntie June!!!!*
The next day:
"No! No! NO!" Wufei fumed. "I have told you REPEATEDLY! I want only NATURAL woods. Mention the words "chipboard" and "manmade" again in my presence and it's katana time!"
"Wufei," Sally chided. "They were only joking. That kind of material would be completely inappropriate. Relax."
Chen looked up from a pile of plans as Sally came walking back across the field. "Sorted out?" he inquired lazily.
"Yes," said Sally. "One useful thing about Wufei. Whenever he's irritated, you can always tell where..."
"... Excuse me."
A couple of days later:
Wufei ate his lunch mechanically and glared at Max, who grinned and waved at him. Sally sat beside him, with Chen on the other side, talking to her. Wufei found the man irritating, but decided against moving on the grounds that sitting anywhere near Max and his gang would start another argument and his throat hurt.
"... did I tell you I bumped into your Auntie Mu Yie yesterday evening at the supermarket?" Chen rattled on. Wufei's eyes narrowed. Sally's mouth twitched.
"I didn't know you had family around here," said Wufei accusingly.
"Well, back to work men!" said Max, who hadn't survived the wars for nothing. His crew stood up and zoomed over to the work site.
Chen smiled patronisingly at Wufei. "Well of course. Sally's ancestral home is only 4 miles that way. Your nearest neighbours in fact."
"My... nearest... NEIGHBOURS????!!! ONNA!!!!!!"
"Uhm... surprise?" said Sally.
The next morning:
"NO! What are you THINKING??? _ARE_ you thinking?" Wufei screamed. "I told you - the window must face south to get the wind in for proper ventilation! Now do it right or I'll ventilate YOU!!!"
"Wufei, Wufei..." said Sally. "Just relax. Please. You'll give yourself a heart attack. He didn't mean it. PUT THE SWORD DOWN!!!"
Wufei walked carefully through the shell of his house, calming himself after the mornings argument, and smiled. The wood was perfect, just as he'd specified, it had been the right thing to be so insistant.
He rounded a corner and the smile vanished from his face and was replaced by a frown. Sally and Chen were standing in the front of the house, talking, and Chen was holding Sally's hand.
"That woman!" Wufei hissed under his breath. "If she wants to help she should help! Not play around with... with _him_!" A tiny part of Wufei was aware that it wasn't Sally he was annoyed with.
"What a sleeze!" commented Max popping up behind him. "Doncha think so, boss?" he shot Wufei a sidelong glance.
Wufei's frown deepened. "He keeps distracting her! Why?"
Max leaned against the wall. "Well, you don't know her family! They've been trying to get her married for _years_! And I'll bet they think Chen is just the right man - slightly older, good job, good looking and lives in this area."
Wufei stared at Max. "Sally? Married?"
Max nodded. "Yup, Sally's family has a long history, they've been
major landholders in this province for generations, and they're very
of their importance."
he shrugged. "Sally's the eldest daughter of the only son, the family has been hassling her to come home and get married for about six years now. They think she's had enough time to live out her 'whim' and should settle down and start producing children."
Wufei blinked. "A 'whim'? Is that what they see her work as?"
"Yeah, they didn't want Sally to enter the military and they only allowed her to do so on the condition that she went into medicine, although they expected her to be nurse _not_ a surgeon! And they were upset when she came home and joined the rebel group here, instead of being a dutiful daughter!"
Wufei looked back over at Sally and Chen. Sally had pulled away and seemed to be arguing with the architect.
"You know her very well." Wufei commented.
"Sally and I grew up together," Max told him. "She always was strong-minded!" he chuckled. "I was happy to serve with her, and when she was part of the resistance I helped her hide those Gundams she found."
Wufei's eyebrows twitched. "Gundams?"
"Yeah, sometimes I wondered if she was trying to collect the whole set!" Max laughed.
"And her family doesn't appreciate this?"
"Nah, they're worried because they think she's getting too old to be unmarried and they want her to start producing children for the family!"
Wufei couldn't help but think that that would be a waste of Sally's talents. She could pilot excellently, shoot a target dead on and assemble almost any type of automatic rifle in ten seconds. She was also an excellent medic and a logical thinker. To expect her to give all that up to marriage and babies seemed cruel. Wufei blinked and wondered where these thoughts were coming from... surely his ideal was that women should content themselves with marriage and children?
Max stretched. "By the way, Wufei, you should watch out for Sally's family."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, her two Aunts are real matchmakers, and Sally has a younger sister..."
Wufei stared blankly at him. "Why does that concern me?"
Max grinned. "You're a hero of the new World Nation, and they'd just _love_ to have you in the family!"
A chill ran down Wufei's spine. "Erg..."
Sally shivered slightly. It was getting chillier as sunset drew closer. She walked around the site, looking for Wufei, hoping to convince him to join her for a meal rather than eating the rations he'd brought with him.
"Hey! Sally!" Max hailed her.
"Hi Max, are you leaving now?" she asked.
He nodded. "But I wanted to tell you something first," he said with a big grin on his face.
"What?" said Sally, instantly suspicious. "Have you and the boys been conspiring to wind up Wufei AGAIN??? I'm not sure I can hold him back if someone pulls yet another prank today."
"No, no... we thought we'd give him a break until tomorrow morning," said Max. "Don't want him to blow a gasket, he _is_ the one cutting the paycheques after all. No, he wandered in on Chen's 'romantic moment' with you."
"Argh!" Sally buried her head in her hands. "Great! Wonderful! Fantastic! God only knows what he thinks of me now!"
Max patted her on the shoulder. "Actually, he was fairly annoyed with Chen once I'd explained things to him."
"Explained?" Sally pulled her face out of her hands and shot a look at Max that had him backing away with his hands up placatingly.
"No hitting! No hitting!" he said. "Seriously, he was wondering why you were putting up with it so I enlightened him to your family situation. He seemed fairly sympathetic actually. Made some comment about how arranged marriages don't always work out."
Sally relaxed slightly, so did Max. "And then I warned him about your family match-making him with your sister."
"Ow! I said no hitting! Where the hell did you get that gun from? Calm down major! Sir!"
Sally glared at him and eased her finger off the trigger. "You have fifteen seconds, make em count."
Max took a breath. "I just warned him that your sister is eligible and so is he and stuff."
"And then I told him a bit about her."
"Oh no," Sally moaned, lowering the gun. "Let me guess, you mentioned the smooth shiny hair, the pouting lips, the clear blue eyes, the sweet demure smile and perfect manners."
"Yeah, more or less," said Max. "I said she was the perfect, demure Chinese lady."
"Argh, argh argh argh... Maaaaaaax..."
"And then he said, 'Oh God!', in a horrified tone of voice." said Max.
"Uh huh," Max smiled as Sally's face brightened up. "Then he started claiming that the floor of the room wasn't level and that started a fun argument."
"Hmph," said Sally. She put away the gun and she and Max began to walk towards his car. "He really didn't sound interested in her huh?"
"Nope," said Max, opening the door and swinging himself inside. "Actually, he wanted to know where your family lived so he could avoid the area."
Sally laughed, and mimed kicking Max's car. "I'll see you back bright and early tomorrow, right?" she said as he started up the engine.
"You betcha," said Max. "Night Major!"
"Hey," said Sally, suddenly remembering. "What happens tomorrow morning?"
Max grinned, waved and drove off.
"WHAT IS THIS MONSTROSITY????? Are you people even LISTENING TO ME??? Can you not understand PLAIN CHINESE???!!! I said I wanted 15 bamboo plants. BAMBOO PLANTS!!! How the HELL could you have thought I said I wanted PLASTIC PINK FLAMINGOS???? GET RID OF THEM!!!! NO THEY WOULD _NOT_ LOOK BETTER ON THE BACK LAWN. Waitaminute, WHAT LAWN????"
Sally rubbed her aching sides and smiled ruefully. Really, she shouldn't have laughed so hard, it hadn't helped Wufei's reaction _at all_! But it had been so hard not to laugh when she saw the flamingos and Wufei's expression... a choked giggle forced it's way out of her mouth and she looked around quickly to see if Wufei was around. He wasn't, she sighed in relief, he was probably still sulking in the woods.
"Quite an eventful morning!" Chen approached her. "I wonder what Max and his crew will think up next!"
Sally's mood took an abrupt downturn. Chen had become more and more persistant with his attentions in the past few days, plus her family were no longer simply dropping hints, they were planning the wedding! Sally was _not_ happy with them OR Chen, however, she had decided to remain polite and pleasant... for the moment.
"Max is a great practical joker," she said with a shrug. "And sometimes he just gets carried away."
"Mhmmm... and Mr Chang is very easy to tease."
A small smile tugged at the edges of Sally's mouth. "Yes."
"Sally, have you thought anymore about my invitation?" Chen pressed her, reminding her of yesterdays conversation.
Sally fidgeted. "Uh... well, I really don't think..." she searched for a polite way to turn the man down.
"I would really like to have lunch with you," said Chen in a wistful tone. "I think we need to talk about a few things, don't you?"
Sally paused. Perhaps she should go, after all he might be more ready to listen to her away from the site. Also, it would be less humiliating for him to be refused away from the eyes of the workers and Wufei. Taking a deep breath she permitted herself a small smile at Chen. "Lunch would be fine." she said. "I'll go home and get changed," she glanced down at her mud-splattered trousers with a wry smile. "I don't think they'll let me in a respectable restaurant otherwise!"
Chen bowed. "I shall pick you up in an hour then." he said and walked away. *She won't be able to refuse me after this!*
If Sally had seen the triumphant smile that spread across his face as he left she would have changed her mind immediately. Blithely oblivious to Chen's intentions she walked over to Max and told him she would be away from the site for a couple of hours.
"Where are ya going?" he asked.
"Lunch with Chen." said Sally.
Max frowned and Sally laughed. "What are you so grim about?" she asked. "I can take care of myself, and he wouldn't try anything in a public restaurant anyway! Can you let Wufei know I've gone? If he stops sulking that it."
"Sure, but you watch out, Major," said Max. "I don't truat that Chen!"
Sally waved aside his concerns and left.
Half an hour later, Wufei had calmed himself down and re-emerged. He critically examined the work going on, but couldn't find anything to quibble about so he looked around for Sally. Not finding her he marched up to Max who was directing the constuction of the roof.
"Where is Sally Po?" Wufei demanded.
Max winced, he'd been hoping not to answer this question. "She's at lunch." he said shortly.
"Where?" Wufei asked. "I didn't see her in the usual place."
"Er... well, she's gone into town... with Chen."
There was a prolonged silence. Max looked nervously at his employer who frowned slightly and then turned away.
"I see..." said Wufei.
Max watched as Wufei drew out his katana and began chopping the flowers in half in an almost idle fashion. Then he started working on the flamingos. Max quickly told his men that now was NOT a good time to play pranks.
"Alright boys, lets shift that beam about two inches to the left!" Max ordered. "Carefully... carefully... yes! That's great!"
Wufei looked up from sharpening his sword at Max's shout. The roof was ready for the shingles to be put on it now, but for some reason Wufei didn't feel happy about it.
Max walked over to Wufei. "Is it alright if we put the shingles on tomorrow? It's getting a bit late to start now."
"Fine," said Wufei listlessly. "If you..."
They were interrupted by the sound of someone stomping up the path, their appearance preceeded by swearing.
Wufei and Max looked at each other in puzzlement and then they looked down the path.
Sally Po was walking towards them. She was dressed in an attractive cream blouse and green skirt, high heels on her feet and earrings in her ears. She would have looked very pleasing to the eye... if it wasn't for the fact that her face was dark with anger and she was snarling under her breath.
"Uh oh..." murmured Max. "This is not a good sign!"
Wufei just stared. he had NEVER seen Sally look so angry in all the years he'd known her. It was... unnerving.
"Um... Sally?" Max said tentatively as she strode past him.
"WHAT???!!!!" she screamed, whirling on him.
"Um... nothing..." he said.
"Woman! What time do you call this?" Wufei demanded, forging on with the spirit that had made him a successful Gundam pilot - the one that didn't care if he got killed horribly. "It's almost evening and you've been gone for hours slacking off while..."
"SLACKING OFF!!! HA! I challenge YOU to compete against the workout I have just had, trekking over hill and (*&%ing dale in a skirt and high heels for the last fifteen miles so that I can get back to my car. You, Mr Justice-Freak!" She pushed a finger into Wufei's chest. "You tell me something. Why do women have to wear high heels and men wear flats? Where's the justice in that huh? Show me the justice!"
"Er..." Wufei stuttered. "Ah..."
"See! You can't! MEN! You're all alike! I know what _you'd_ do in a dark restaurant! You may act innocent and stiff, but you're just like all the rest, taking advantage of women's innate good nature and expecting us to just put up with your CRAP! Well, let me tell you something, katana-boy, next time your blade gets loose in its sheath, go harass someone else! Or I'll show you that no blade on earth is a match for a Magnum 44 pistol!"
Sally turned and stomped off, wincing at every step.
Wufei stared after her. "What _happened_??" he asked incredulously. "I thought she was just going to lunch!"
"I've heard things about Chen," mused Max. "I think this confirms them. In which case I have only one question, where did she hide his body?"
Sally found a flat place to sit and parked herself. Gently she eased off the left shoe. *Ow... Ow ow ow ow...* She gently massaged her foot and examined the blisters before hurling the shoe into the brush, then repeated this with her right foot. "Men!" she snorted again. "Ow."
"Um, hi Sally?" Max approached cautiously. "Wow, haven't seen you in this sort of mood since that boy in our class at kindergarten pulled your hair and tried to make you eat mud. I've never seen such a mess. Who'd've thought you could break that many bones with one good yank."
"It's all in the angle," said Sally with a sigh. "What do you WANT Max?"
"Wanted to see if you were, um, ready to talk."
"Hmph," Sally continued to massage her sore feet. "What's to talk about? Chen took me out to a nice restaurant, with lovely high secluded booths in back. We had lunch, then he put his hand on my knee and started working his way up, telling me all about how he was such a wonderful catch for a 'mature woman' like myself."
"Ah," said Max. "How many pieces of him are there now?"
"Just one," said Sally. "I put up with it until he tried to kiss me. Then I decked him."
"Wow, you've _really_ mellowed out Major." said Max in admiration.
"Hmph," said Sally again. "Maybe I'm getting old. I think I broke my hand. But I'm CERTAIN I broke HIS nose."
"That's the spirit!" said Max. "But speaking of hospitalisation, I think you put Wufei in shock."
"You tore bloody strips off him," Max elaborated. "I haven't seen a slaughter like that since the last battle against all 5 Gundams."
"Oh no," Sally moaned. "I was so angry I just snapped I guess. I hope he's not too mad."
"Er no, not mad." said Max. "More like terrified actually."
"I am NOT!" came an indignant voice. Wufei strode over to join them. "I was NOT scared," he repeated. "I was merely... taken aback."
Sally leapt to her feet. "WufeiOOOOWWWW!!!" she cried as the blisters began to break. She toppled forward and Wufei leapt forward and caught her. She stared up at him. "Wufei."
He snorted. "Stupid woman, remember your wounds. Max! What sort of subordinate are you??? Get the first aid kit! You over there - call a doctor..."
"Wufei, I _am_ a doctor," Sally pointed out.
He paused. "Very well, what do you need?"
"The first aid kit should be enough for now," said Sally. "And some water to clean the wounds. Um, you can put me down now."
Wufei crimsoned and lowered her to the ground as Max came running with the first aid kit. "I shall be in front should you need my help." he said and hurriedly left.
Wufei sprinted back around to the front of his almost-completed house and tried not to think about Sally. He succeeded more-or-less, but only because Chen trailed up the road towards him.
"Kisama..." he hissed, and reached for his sword.
"Wufei!" Chen called. "Have you seen Sall... erGH!" he gasped as the sword point poked into the tender skin of his throat. "Okay, I see you have. Um..."
Wufei examined the other man, taking in the bandages over his nose and the beautifully blackened eye. Justice had pretty much been served, but he should really emphasize the lesson.
"You will not bother Sally Po again," he said in a level voice that left no room for arguments. "If at all possible you will not speak to her again. And should I ever find out that you have pestered her with your annoying attentions again - you had best hope that she gets to you first. She is a woman, and merciful, and would likely just slay you instantly." He leaned in to emphasize the point. "_I_," he smiled, "would kill you very, _very_ slowly."
"okay..." whimpered Chen.
After this, work on the house proceeded as normal.
Or as normal as it ever did.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Why? WHY am I surrounded by blithering IDIOTS????" Wufei screeched. "It's very very simple... I want _shingles_. NOT roofing tiles, SHINGLES!!! Proper... Chinese... shingles... It's not hard! I'm not asking you to create the world in seven days here. Shingles... shingles... shingles... oh my sweet Nataku, if only you were here."
"Thank you Sally, I feel much better now."
Sally shook out her hand. "Ow."
"I think I'll just lie down now." said Wufei, passing out at her feet. Sally smiled at his comatose body.
Chen rubbed gently at his black eye and made sure he was out of range as Sally gently rearranged Wufei into a more comfortable position and covered him with her jacket. Finally he couldn't stand it anymore.
"What do you see in him?" he demanded.
Sally jerked as his words reminded her that she wasn't alone, then looked blank for a moment. *What _do_ I see in him?* she thought. *Why aren't I interested in someone else, like Chen maybe. Eurgh.* An evil thought crossed her mind. "Well," she said, chewing her lip. "He's got a body to die for, and he's GREAT in bed."
Chen stared at her in horror. Sally laughed. "But if you want the real answer it's because he has a good and noble soul and a warm heart... once you get to know him." she smiled down at Wufei.
Chen looked down at the young man and swallowed as he remembered the feel of the tip of the sword pressing into his throat. "Uh huh." he said. "Well, these drawings are the last of my contribution here. I hope you will understand me just putting them over here on the table and not shaking your hand before I leave."
"Of course," said Sally, her eyes dancing with amusement. "And _you'll_ understand me not saying it's been nice working with you."
Chen nodded. "I'll mail you the bill." he said.
"I'll mail you the payment." replied Sally.
Two Days Later:
Wufei stood in the middle of his new living room, looked around, and was pleased. The room was spacious, light, and warm with tasteful furnishings that complimented his tastes. Beneath his bare feet the polished wooden floor felt smooth and pleasant to walk on.
*This is perfect,* he thought with satisfaction. *Despite all their practical jokes Max and his crew did a good job. The ceiling is high, there's plenty of space, it's quiet and calm, there's no one around to irritate me...* He looked through the doorway where he could see Sally was inspecting the hallway.
*_Almost_ noone around to irritate me,* he amended, and then paused. Actually, Sally had been quite helpful about this whole thing. You'd think she'd have been a bit more... emotional about losing her neighbour of the last four years - after all, the next tenants may not be as courteous as he was. What if they were rock and roll lovers? Or violent homicidal maniacs? Or Chen? Or drug users or something... Hmmmm... that would be unpleasant for her... maybe even dangerous...
Wufei frowned and shook off these thoughts. He surveyed his new home again. *Building it larger had definitely been one of my brain waves. Of course, now it is a bit TOO big for one person, but as Sally had pointed out...*
Wait a minute.
Sally had been more than helpful. Sally had talked to the construction crews. Sally had HIRED the construction crews - and known each member personally. Sally had made suggestions. Sally had virtually redesigned the bedroom from scratch. Sally had chosen the paint scheme. Sally had chosen the curtains. A sense of doom descended briefly upon him. Then he followed that thought.
Well, at least she wasn't noisy. With no TV access she wouldn't be able to watch those AWFUL soap operas. And... she wasn't that bad really. In fact, she was quite nice. Good in a fight, always there to back you up with a sub-machine gun or a well-timed grenade, loyal, intelligent, and fairly attractive. Okay okay... _quite_ attractive. Of course, there was her warped sense of humour... the way she just sometimes seemed to be laughing at him. The way she would do things like polish his weapons so that he nearly blinded himself opening his locker, or the way that she was able to anticipate his ideas during a mission, or the way that she... made suggestions for a house that he was building so that it was perfect for her as well...
*I've been suckered!*
"Sally," called Wufei conversationally.
"Yes?" Sally entered the room. *He called me 'Sally'? Did I do something wrong, or has he finally clicked?*
"Did you make all these suggestions just so that you would get the house that YOU wanted but still make ME pay for it?"
*He figured it out. Noin owes me 50 credits.* "Yes."
Wufei sighed with irritation and frowned at her. "I suppose this means we have to get married now."
Sally shrugged. "If you like, _I_ don't mind just moving in and living with you. In sin." she added mischeviously carefully keeping her expression neutral.
"WHAT??? That is just the sort of irresponsible, improper thing I would expect you to say! Have you no concept of honour, Woman?!"
After half an hours ranting and arguing, Sally reluctantly agreed to marry Wufei. Then she smiled at him, walked up, tucked her arm into his and kissed him on the cheek.
There was a pause as Wufei tried to work out whether or not to scream or cry. "You... you... you...!"
Sally smiled directly into his eyes.
"Argh! Let's finish looking at the rest of my... OUR... house, woman." Wufei growled.
"You're going to have to start calling me 'Sally' now," Sally gently prompted him. "But yes, let's do. We can see if they set the TV aerial up properly."
"I NEVER PUT IN A..." Wufei paused and looked at her. "Alright, let us do so..."
Sally couldn't help smirking a little.
Well, this was _supposed_ to be a short fic!! But we decided there
wasn't enough fics around about Sally and Wufei so we expanded it a
(^_^). Sally's background is never explained in Gundam Wing, only that
she was brought up in China, however, her understanding of Wufei seems
to indicate that she has encountered people like him or was brought up
in a strict family herself!
We hope you enjoyed this fic anyway!
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