XEROX, MY A**
1x2x1, humour, abuse of office equipment and probably breach of trademark or something borderline illegal.
Huge thanks to kebzero for the inspirational word!
“He won’t come out,” sighed Quatre. He leant against the wall of the restroom, nursing a sore fist from hammering on the door of the furthest, darkest cubicle.
“I’m impressed by the robustness of these locks,” mused Trowa. He sat back on his heels in front of the cubicle door, peering with professional interest at a half broken file in his hand. The other half was lodged in the lock of the cubicle which – incidentally – remained tightly shut.
“For God’s sake,” Heero growled. “Duo, can you hear me in there? Don’t be childish! Come out at once!”
Over by the sink, Wufei bathed his swollen shin. “He won’t talk to you,” he grumbled. “I just put my foot through the gap under the door and he stabbed me with a letter opener. I say we leave him there and get the hell out to safety.”
Heero shook his head. There was concern in his eyes as well as impatience. “What’s the problem? Does anyone know?”
The others exchanged nervous glances. Wufei shrugged. “I just heard he was locked in the men’s room in some kind of hysteria.”
Trowa frowned. “I heard he was locked in, but there’d been some kind of trouble.”
“I heard,” began Quatre and all eyes swivelled round to look at him. “Nothing,” he said, rather weakly.
“Tell me,” said Heero.
“No, seriously, I don’t know anything -”
“Tell me,” repeated Heero, his tone deceptively calm but with the kind of edge to it that implied there would be no further repeats without bloodshed.
Quatre paled and swallowed convulsively. “It was just a joke gone wrong, or so I understand. It was for your birthday, Heero.”
“My…?” Heero looked nonplussed.
Quatre looked around wildly for some saviour to rescue him, but Heero had barricaded the men’s room from the rest of the office staff while this issue was resolved. “He was just taking a picture for you, Heero. Copying something to give to you. Something for fun.” His voice was getting progressively higher.
Over in the cubicle there was a strangled groan.
“A picture? What of?”
Quatre tried unsuccessfully to blend himself into the tile work. “Of him. You know… since you started dating. He thought you could have a picture of him… keep it with you as a keepsake. A souvenir… a…”
“I understand the concept,” said Heero, coldly. “Why are you making those faces? Are you constipated?”
Trowa had got to his feet and was watching Quatre with amusement. Wufei was still dabbing at his leg but there was a smile on his face, too.
“It was… sort of intimate,” Quatre babbled.
“Intimate.” Heero made it sound like a criminal sentence.
There was a gargle from the cubicle.
“Loosen up, Heero,” Trowa said. “It was just a bit of fun.”
Heero ignored his friend. “In what way intimate?”
Quatre squirmed. He felt like a bug caught on a pin. The others offered no support to him at all and, by God, if he ever escaped from this with his limbs intact, he’d make them pay…
“He took a picture of his butt,” he sighed.
There was a sudden silence in the restroom that would have been worthy of a cathedral.
Heero’s voice broke into it with perfect, chilling clarity. “And how did he achieve this?”
Trowa coughed rather too loudly into his sleeve. Wufei stared at the ceiling, examining the poor quality of the fluorescent light fittings.
Quatre wanted to weep but thought it inappropriate. Anyway, he expected no mercy. “He sat up on the Xerox machine. Pressed the copy button.”
“Without his pants on?”
“Pretty obvious, that,” muttered Trowa, rolling his eyes.
“To take a picture for me?”
“I know, I know,” Quatre was babbling now. “Absolutely mad, I know, he had to wriggle to get on and half his left buttock was on the copy tray, but -” Then he paused.
Heero was laughing. Loudly. Without restraint. So hard that he was doubled up, tears in his eyes, hands pressed on his knees. “Heero? Are you OK?”
“The Xerox copier…” Heero was hiccupping through his laughter. He started again. “The Xerox isn’t working properly, didn’t he know?”
Quatre gaped at him. Wufei snickered behind them. “Well, he does now.”
“There’s an electrical fault,” Heero continued. “We’re waiting for the engineer to call. When you take a copy, the ancillary services come on as well, without warning; without request.”
“Print; copy; scan,” murmured Trowa, as if he were reading from the brochure. As office manager, he probably had in the past. “Sort; Collate -”
“And staple,” Heero finished.
“And staple!” came an anguished cry from inside the cubicle. “So why the hell didn’t anyone tell me?”
There was an abrupt click as the cubicle door was unlocked. There was a gentle tinkling sound as a few loose staples fell on to the linoleum.
“I’m thrilled to be the topic of everyone’s amusement,” came Duo’s furious, humiliated, pain-fuelled cry. “But who the fuck’s going to go and fetch me a cushion?”