Title: That Maxwell Magic
Author: Calic0cat
Pairing: 1+2+5 (friendship or more, depending how you want to read it...)
Rating: PG
Warnings: Err, none really... Well, maybe a swear word or two...
GW500 Challenge: #24 Magic
Words: 831
Archives: At Lev's Lair http://www.gwaddiction.com/levlair/ and at http://calic0cat.freeservers.com/ (my site). Anyone with archive permission for my other fics can help themselves.


Cheeks burning and ears ringing, the newest research clerk struggled not to drop the pile of files that Agent Chang had just flung at her along with a vituperative tirade regarding the quality and quantity of information she'd compiled for him. The contents of one folder slithered out of her grasp and newspaper clippings cascaded across the floor.

One of her co-workers gave her a commiserative pat on the shoulder. "Tough luck, Jill. Don't take it too personally. Chang's always a real stickler but this week... Let's just say I'm glad I've been tied up with Po's cases!" Jase shook his head and crouched to pick up the mess. "Just be grateful you're not down in Forensics. I heard Une had to personally bribe a computer forensics tech into withdrawing his resignation after Yuy got through with him yesterday."

Kate picked up a stack of files from her desk. "Oh great, you would have to tell me that just before I took this lot up to Yuy. If that was yesterday, I shudder to think what he'll be like today when he finds out just how little background we've got on this alleged cult. Somebody make sure there's a hot pot of coffee waiting to thaw me out when I get back!"

"Is... is it always like this?" Jill quavered. "I mean, are the agents *all* such..."

"Totally anal perfectionists? Demanding jerks?" Kate offered. "Some of'em are. Some aren't." She shrugged and started towards the door. "They've all got their little quirks."

"Little *quirks*?" Jill felt as if she'd just been verbally flayed and Kate was excusing the man's scathing display of temper as a *little quirk*? "Why on earth does Commander Une put up with that kind of behaviour?"

Kate was already gone but Jase answered pointedly, "Because they're damn good at what they do?" He removed the load of files from Jill's arms and dumped them back on her desk. "Besides, it's not usually this bad. There's a big recruitment drive on in the colonies right now so we're an agent short. It'll wrap up in a few days and things'll settle down." He flashed a grin towards the blonde who'd come into the room while he was speaking. "Right, Sally?"

"The usual magic will be worked," she agreed, rolling her eyes. "Thank god. Maybe next time Une will take me seriously when I suggest that splitting that bunch up is a Very Bad Move. Those two Do Not Play Well With Others when left on their own."

Jase snorted in amusement. "Now *that's* the understatement of the century."

"One agent is going to make that big a difference?" Jill demanded disbelievingly. "He'd have to be some kind of miracle worker."

Sally exchanged a secretive smile with Jase. "No, no miracles. Just a little magic," she chuckled.


"Oh hey, let me get that for you, Sal."

Relieved, Sally stopped trying to balance her load of files on one arm in order to press the elevator call button. "Thanks, Duo... Duo?!" She turned sharply, unable to believe the evidence of her ears. Her eyes confirmed it, though. "But - I thought you couldn't get a flight off that last colony till Sunday!"

Duo shrugged and grinned. "Couldn't get a *commercial* flight. Didn't see any point coolin' my heels out there, though, so I hitched a ride on a Sweeper ship. Figured Une wouldn't care; saved Preventers a bunch of travel costs."

"Believe me, she'll be *very* grateful," Sally assured him fervently. "In fact, I'll bet she gives you the rest of the week off. And with all the overtime they've been putting in while you were gone, she'll send the other two Musketeers with you."

"Yeah, right," Duo snickered. "Commander 'Twelve-Hour-Days-Are-Not-Overtime' Une give us extra time off? No way."

The elevator doors opened and suddenly they were face-to-face with the Commander herself. "Maxwell? What are you..." She stopped in mid-sentence and shook her head. "Never mind. I don't care. Just take those partners of yours and go work that Maxwell magic. I don't want to see any of you back here till Monday. That's an *order*."

Duo debated asking precisely what "that Maxwell magic" was supposed to mean. And why Une was so eager to get rid of three of her top agents for a few days. Then he decided that it didn't pay to look a gift horse in the mouth and agreed, "Yes, sir."

"I'll expect your recruitment drive report on Monday." Une nodded in dismissal then stepped past him and into the elevator.

Sally nudged Duo and muttered, "Told you so. Now go work that Maxwell Magic."

Blinking after Sally's retreating back, Duo scratched his head in confusion. "That Maxwell Magic"? That was certainly weird. Oh well. He could live with the kind of weird that got him and his partners an unexpected long weekend. Grinning in anticipation, he headed off to break the news, already making plans for the three of them. This was gonna be *great*.