Fandom: Gundam Wing
A day like any other: Duo griping about the downside of being attracted to someone whose faults he knew as intimately as the blisters on his feet, and Wufei doing his best to ignore him.
He needed a new tripod. This one had lost its precise balance ever since Duo fell on it a week ago. A blurred figure appeared in the viewfinder.
"Get out of the way, Maxwell."
He didn't need to adjust the focus to recognize that that was a middle finger directed at him.
"Why? Your camera's too good for models these days?"
He blew out a huff of air, wondering what sort of farce Preventers' operations had deteriorated to, now that he's not around to keep this lunatic in check. "You couldn't have thought of a more ridiculous cover if you tried."
"Hey, don't underestimate the importance of tanned muscles and white teeth. Nobody would suspect I was packing enough heat to take out a helicopter." As if to demonstrate, Duo stripped off his shirt and dropped three guns in rapid succession on to Wufei's desk. He strode over to pose and flex his biceps playfully in front of the camera, the empty shoulder holster looking rather lonely.
Wufei rolled his eyes.
"What?" Duo asked.
Duo stood up straighter, shaking a finger at Wufei. "It's exhausting to have to look good and play dumb all the time."
"Obviously, you don't have to try very hard."
He was hit on the shoulder with the buckle of a leather belt, Duo's aim still as deadly as ever. Snarling, he spun on his foot and tossed the unfinished canned drink on the table at Duo, but it was successfully dodged.
Belt dangling unthreateningly from one hand, jeans hanging loose on his hips, Duo's naked torso was a work of art. He stepped backwards over the stack of soaked paperwork and unopened packages on the floor, muscles rippling with every stretch and bend, and sprawled out against Wufei's couch.
"Where were we?" He sank further into the cushions, fingers rubbing absently at his stomach. "Oh, right. We were talking about Heero."
"Don't come to me with your relationship problems."
Duo smiled, twisting a bit, sensuality oozing from the tanned golden wheat of his skin, the ridges of definition, a boy's body grown into a man's. He was all angles and smooth planes except for the few bullet scars that faded to a spidery white on his outstretched arms, testament to his experience. The corner of his lips quirked in amusement. Duo's eyes, they saw too much.
"Who said anything about relationships? Sometimes, all a guy needs is a good..."
"Maxwell, you're driving me insane."
The belt followed the meandering lead of Duo's hand, slithering up his abs, across the stretch of his chest, coming to a rest around his neck. Claim me, the contrast of the dark leather curved lovingly around the paler skin seemed to suggest. A sharp indrawn breath from the direction of the cameras made Duo come to his senses, quickly pulling the belt away from where his hands had betrayed him.
But Wufei was completely still, staring at him over the lens. "Stay there."
The quiet clicks of the shutter regulated the silence, diffusing the tension.
"If you want my advice--ask Heero how he feels."
Duo sighed. "That's all you can come up with? Brilliant. I'd have better luck asking him the password to his workstation."
It appears that some passwords were readily given, access granted long before the request.
Wufei drank from a cup of tea that had gone cold, idly watching the scene unfold in the courtyard below. The days were growing shorter, the sun setting as early as four in the afternoon, amplifying the reds and yellows of the leaves in a last flare of autumnal brilliance. His fingers drummed a pattern against his thigh, comforting. He wished he had brought his camera.
There must be a masochistic streak within him, the need to see this through. Through the broken veil of the foliage, he caught a glimpse of Heero's dark head, moving alongside Duo's familiar braid. They were headed for the parking structure, together.
Place names and bits of inane conversation drifted up to him. One minute they were talking amiably, and the next, Duo's feet had stopped on the leaves-littered concrete. He stood there solemnly, smile gone from his face. Silence, an undemanding wait. Utterly hopeful, honestly afraid.
Heero gave his reply, reached out a hand and brushed the hair back from Duo's eyes ... the fingers continued down to catch in the thick braid, tugging Duo's head closer. Carefully, almost painfully slow. Daring the step into each other's arms, they touched their lips together, a kiss that was perhaps years in coming.
Thus ends the observation log of the loyal, if unhelpful, friend, Wufei thought. Heero seemed to become aware of being observed, and there was a flinch in those tense shoulders before he looked up. Wufei stepped away from the railing, closed his eyes and let the whip of the rising wind caress his cheeks.
Two days and seventeen unchecked voice messages later, the devil himself showed up on his doorstep. Ignoring Duo often yielded the opposite result: the banging grew louder and the curses more colorful.
"Wufei, if you don't open the door right now, I swear--"
Wufei slid his tongs back into the print trays, ignoring the small splash of chemicals, and walked out of the small darkroom. Was it evening already? He weaved through the dimly lit kitchen and followed the general direction of the clamor.
"--your fucking door!"
He opened the door to a still-shouting, red-faced Duo Maxwell.
On a moonless night, Duo's jacket seemed to swallow the scant light, its dark leather smelling of seedy bars and tobacco. Beneath that, Duo was shirtless... his skin glinted, covered by a light sheen of sweat. He looked like he had been running. The sight of the flushed skin and heaving chest had an unexpected hold over Wufei, weakening him with desire and regret.
He was just with Heero, Wufei knew.
"Where did you come from? Une's leather party?" He didn't hide the slight disapproval from his eyes. And if there was bitterness in his voice, well, that was out of his control.
The flash of concern in Duo's eyes was quickly gone, the warm gold chased away by something much less vulnerable, violence caged in a layer of superficial calm.
"Cute, Fei. You don't answer the phone, don't reply to emails, how many bodies are you hiding in there?" A pause, a steadying breath. "Look, I've been trying to reach you for days. Can we talk?"
"You're doing plenty of that for both of us."
Duo ignored the barb and stepped past Wufei's unwelcoming pose into the studio, taking in the photographs drying on the rack and the lingering smell of chemicals from the badly-ventilated darkroom.
"Huh. No dead bodies. I'm not interrupting some artistic process, am I?"
He had the nerve to look abashed three steps into the living room, turning around to glance guiltily at Wufei as he crossed his arms over his chest.
"You are," Wufei intoned, reaching to turn on the lights. It was unsettling, talking to this creature in the darkness, sensing the heat of his breath when he got too close and the inherent danger wound tightly in those elegant hands, but not being able to read his face.
"Well, too bad."
That tone tripped all the alarms in his head, but the realization came too late. His arm was caught and a great weight knocked Wufei face-first onto the floor. Fuzzy spots flashed white-hot in his vision. Duo sat on his legs, strapping his wrists together behind his back. He twisted his arms, hoping it was some crude joke; the leather chafed inexorably into his skin.
"Stop shouting, you weren't planning on listening to me anyway. Just this once, trust that I know what I'm doing."
He kicked hard and almost managed to toss Duo's weight off his legs. The weight shifted, then knees were digging painfully into his spine. He thrashed, but Duo's hips matched his movements in every direction, riding on top of his struggle. By the fifth attempt he had become uncomfortably aroused, and he knew the bastard had expected this, was perhaps even enjoying it. He drew in a deep breath and willed himself to stop moving altogether.
"Finally giving up?"
Duo leaned down and spoke directly into his ear: "You are such a stubborn idiot." There was a wet tendril of warmth, a quick dip of tongue against the bunched-up muscles of his neck, gone the next instant. Duo had ... licked him.
He twisted sideways in shock, trying to glare murderous threats at the man hovering above his back, but saw only affection and sadness in those eyes. Not a joke, Wufei. The end of an unruly braid scratched and tickled the side Wufei's face, a few strands trailing over his lips.
He blew the hair away from his face, an airy spitting sound that drew a chuckle from above, buying him time to think.
Duo sighed in exaggeration. "Stop delaying. Just come with me, all right?"
Wufei avoided making a scene once they left his studio, not wanting to draw attention and knowing Duo was right behind him, but he didn't make it easy either. Many insulting things could be said about Duo's ugly truck or his horrific taste in music, and Wufei had exhausted all the possibilities before Duo threatened to gag him.
There was something perversely satisfying about making Maxwell drag someone of his size up the flight of stairs to Duo's third-floor apartment. "Come on, come on," he urged, then gave up and grabbed Wufei by the pocket of his jeans and slung him over his shoulder. The metallic button went flying, his shirt inadvertently ripping apart at the seams.
Wufei kneed him in the gut and Duo gave an outraged shout, almost dropping him down the stairs. The skirmish ceased abruptly; their harsh breathing echoed off the peeling walls of the stairwell. When Duo was angry, the color of his eyes changed. The clear gaze was now darkened by emotion. Wufei expected retaliation in kind, a punch to the jaw if Duo was feeling merciful, but his lips came under attack instead. Frustrated, biting kisses swept the line from jaw to mouth, burning his skin, paralyzing his defenses.
He had no words for this.
The leather, and the light musk from their struggle--Duo's scent in its entirety--flooded his nostrils in the enclosed space, and he knew he was slipping. With the taste of the first drop of blood he reacted, biting back with equal aggression and a desperation that was his own. He felt skin break under his teeth.
They had barely gotten through the door when Heero's voice surprised him. All the air in his lungs fled in dread.
Such power packed into a simple word. He pulled away from Duo, who had a hand on the small of his back and one making its way down his pants. Duo's parted lips were swollen, and the flush beneath the leather spanned the entire chest; his own jeans were open and his shirt was torn. Together they were the picture of guilt.
The thought crossed his mind that with his hands tied behind his back, there was no way he could outrun Heero. Even in a fair fight, his former partner could crush him.
"Jesus Christ, would you stop looking like you ate somebody's kid for dinner?" Duo put both hands around his face and tried to get him to meet his eyes, a move that was stubbornly denied. Their shoes must be fascinating. He was tempted to give Wufei a good shake.
Suddenly conscious of the volume of his voice, Duo continued in a hushed tone. "There's a lot I've wanted to say to you, but you haven't given me the chance. Come inside, I'll order pizza, we'll have a few drinks, and then you can disown civilization and go back to that creepy room of yours."
"It's called a darkroom."
Heero had stepped behind him to close the door while Duo was talking, and Wufei tensed. To his surprise, he felt the icy touch of a blade followed by the restraints on his wrists snapping apart. He clenched his hands into fists, glad he still had feeling in his fingers.
Heero uttered a brief apology for Duo's rash tactics.
He replied, "It's fine," wanting nothing more than to get out of there.
Large, strong hands fell on his shoulders, and a very warm body pressed up against his back. He heard Heero inhale, a rush of wind by his ears. Fingers slowly massaged the nape of his neck. The elastic on his ponytail snapped and his hair fell loosely about his face, but he was too distracted to notice.
Duo watched them indulgently for a minute, then moved into Wufei's space, completing the ambush. He pressed chest to chest with him, heart matching his frantic rhythm. Wufei felt arms wrap around both his and Heero's bodies, drawing tighter, as if the differences between them could be as easily overcome as their physical distance. They've been treading this minefield for years.
In a low voice, Duo began mumbling sweet nonsense against his mouth, distracting him while reverent hands traced patterns into his sides, exploring the wide scar over his hipbone. He stiffened at the wet touch of a hot tongue trailing over his ear. Heero had several fingers entangled in Wufei's hair--the possession a prickling sensation on his scalp--and was slowly tilting his head, licking a slick path to his temple. They had fought wars together, all of them. In peaceful times, he had been Heero's partner for a full year before his injury, and Wufei would have swallowed bullets in a bet even yesterday that this scenario would never occur.
He tended to lose his bets.
"You may have worked with him, but you failed to understand one thing: Heero is emotionally-constipated." A shameless grin broke out on Duo's face as he responded to Wufei's bewilderment.
Something heavy flew past his ears towards Duo's head, but Duo ducked. The body at his back was gone, Heero walking off in the direction of the kitchen. When they didn't immediately follow, he stopped with a frown. "Make yourselves at home," he tried.
"You amuse me, Heero. That's my rug you're stepping on."
Wufei's mouth felt dry and his feet refused to move after another step, knowing he was trespassing on their sanctuary. He cast another look at Heero, now leaning against the wall watching both of them. The gaze was patient, not judgmental. The urge to step inside was as strong as the urge to run.
Duo read his hesitation and grabbed his hand, palm reassuring and warm. The touch led him forward. Don't doubt this, he seemed to say through the brief contact.
"Heero's never going to say it, but the most important people in his life are all here."