Life Rules: Payback's a... by Comet, Heidi
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Story Notes:

Part of the Life Rules series.

Notes: It is not necessary to have read the other stories in the series to understand this, but it wouldn't hurt either. Special thanks to Nin for starting the Life Rules and letting us play with it. Much thanks to the beta readers for each piece: Nin, Miracle, Heidi, and comet.

timestamp: sometime after A Moment in Time Part 4 and Home Away from Home

Wufei quietly shifted away from Ronnie and gently raised himself from the bed. He was on full alert and wasn't sure why, but if he had to guess, Duo was snooping around their apartment. Wufei took one last glance at his sleeping girlfriend before turning to hunt down and kill his best friend.

Duo was sitting at his dining room table drinking one of Ronnie's coffee concoctions she kept in the refrigerator. "Can't you just buy those like everyone else?" Wufei asked quietly. Duo didn't respond, just grinned and saluted with the can.

"What's your excuse, Yuy?" Wufei shifted to see the other man standing by the living room window.

But instead of Heero's voice it was Quatre's that answered. "We're here to recruit you?" the blonde said, shifting on the sofa so he could be seen.


"Something fun, Wu," Duo answered with a gleam in his eye that would worry even those who knew him the best.

Wufei shook his head. "Couldn't you have planned this earlier?"

"No," Trowa said, a hint of a smile on his lips, "Zechs just told us." Knowing that they would always be able to count on the other man for inside knowledge of the going ons with the Preventers.

"Come on, we need you," Duo encouraged.

A throat clearing made all five men turn around. Ronnie stood there, blurry eyed and looking very tired. "For ex-terrorists, you people sure do plan too loud."

Quatre blushed slightly. Duo didn't seem bothered with the fact they were caught, but was more interested in the shirt she was wearing. It looked to be silk, and just long enough to cover her body, as long as Ronnie didn't raise her arms. "Isn't that Wu's shirt?"


Duo grinned. "Thought so."

"Veronica..." Wufei started only to be stopped by a glare and her raised hand.

"Go, have fun," she yawned. "Conditions. One, I've had two hours of sleep, whatever you do, can't cause that pager of mine to go off. Two, cannot cause me more paper work. Three, he," she pointed at Wufei, "comes back in one undamaged piece. Understood?" They all just stared at her. "Fine. Breaking of the first two consequences results in Fei being unhappy sleeping on the couch for an undetermined time period. Breaking of the last means phone calls," she grinned, evilly before turning around and going back into the bedroom.

"Who's she gonna call?" Duo asked, then froze. "Hilde?"


"Iria or Cecilia."

Heero shrugged. "I don't have," he paused, thinking, "she wouldn't call her? She doesn't like her? Would she?"

"Well," Duo said, "if our places were reversed."

Five voices rang out. "We agree to the terms."

Ronnie laughed with a self-satisfied grin. "Then have fun." She headed back to bed with only a mild curiosity as to what they were up to. She knew she'd find out later one way or another.


The next morning Ronnie stepped off the elevator and into chaos. "What's going on?" she asked a tech that was jogging by in the opposite direction.

"You haven't seen it?" he asked stopping to give her a look of astonishment.

Ronnie shook her head. "Seen what?"

"Oh my god," the guy gasped. "You have to go look." The tech walked, still laughing and never having told her where to go look.

Ronnie entered her lab to find everyone starring out the window. "Okay, what did I miss?"

It didn’t take her long to find the object of their amusement. Right out front in the spaces reserved for shift supervisors was Chad Evan's car in the space next to her unused one, as Wufei had driven her to work that morning and dropped her near the back door. To say that it had been decorated would have been an understatement. It was transformed. Completely repainted in swirls of red and black. Large red devil horns adorned the roof, a stiff tail attached to the trunk and curled up almost over the top of the car, and attached to the driver's door was a red pitchfork.

Ronnie couldn't help herself, she burst out laughing. There was no doubt in her mind *who* had decorated Evan's car and why. She didn't get along with the other supervisor. Never had. But lately the animosity had gotten worse. As had his animosity toward Wufei and the others. She could understand it when they were still working for the Preventers but since Heero, Trowa, and Wufei had left to start their own agency their paths didn't cross Evans's very much anymore. Her run-in last week with Evan's over a case that overlapped shifts apparently had been the final straw for the guys. Evans had been in the face of all her lab techs about the case and how it was being worked. He'd wanted *all* the credit for bringing the high profile case to a close. Never mind the fact that is was Ronnie's shift that had done most of the work since Evans's crew was lazy and inept.

She heard him yelling and quickly moved from the window to her workbench to read through the messages and test results that were piled in her in-box. Pretending to have no clue what was going on.

"You… You…"

Ronnie looked up to see her nemesis standing in the doorway to her lab. "You, you, what? Evans," she said with a file in her hand.

"It was you. You're responsible."

"Responsible for what?" she asked, playing dumb.

"Don't play dumb with me. My car. You did that to my car!" he shouted.

"Chad, I didn't do anything to your car. After all the double shifts I've been working I was home catching up on my sleep and I still only ended up with a few hours. Check the time log if you don't believe me." She turned back to her report and ignored his continued fuming about if it wasn't her then it was her boyfriend and their so called friends. "Prove it," was her parting shot to him as he tried to leave with threats of lawsuits and police action. She knew he'd never find any proof as to who painted and decorated his car. They were too good for that. Not to mention the fact that they would probably have Zechs and Noin on their side and any internal action would end up getting lost in the system.


Ronnie sat at the kitchen table, sipping on her coffee drink. She came home at the end of her shift and was now waiting on the guys to come home from whatever they were working on. She knew without a doubt that there would be tales of their adventure decorating Evans's car and wanted to hear how they managed to get it done without him finding out.

The front door opened just a little and Duo poked his head around. "So, is it safe for the rest of us to enter?"

Ronnie smiled. "Yes, he came home in one piece, even if he does still have red paint in his hair, my pager never went off, and Chad's face made it look like his head was going to pop off at any minute."

Duo grinned and opened the door all the way. "Great!" He said walking in carrying several bags of carryout. "We brought dinner."

- end -

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