by Aoe

Stuck With You... + Part 9


Duo was gratifyingly pleased by my efforts at holiday décor. He oohed and aahed and bounced around the apartment plugging everything in while I made us both breakfast. He was excited enough to eat oatmeal without protest.

Well, without much protest. At least after I dug out brown sugar and milk for him to smother it with.

When did I ever buy brown sugar? I don't remember ever doing such a thing, but when I went looking, there it was, in the depths of a cabinet. Duo said it was one of those things that people always have, even if they don't remember ever buying it. I suppose he's right. Or maybe he bought it while I was away.

Anyway, we were both in a good mood this morning. He liked the decorations, and I liked...

I liked waking up next to him. I really, really liked it.

I turned my alarm off this morning faster than I ever have in my life, even when I've spent sleepless nights and found myself watching the numbers, waiting for the buzz. Today, when I woke up, Duo was curled up against me like a cat, and even as my eyes flew open at the sound of the alarm, he scrunched his nose up and batted at my chest with one hand. He was just too cute for words. My hand slammed down on the clock with the precise aim one can achieve when they have nothing on their nightstand but an alarm clock and a gun. Once the offensive noise was removed, Duo settled again with an unintelligible mumble.

So I lay there in bed and played with his hair and decided it wasn't always a bad thing to have my alarm go off a half an hour before I needed to get up.

Eventually, the time came, and I woke him. As he'd said the night before, he was a pretty light sleeper. The first semi-firm nudge to his shoulder made his eyes pop open. The alarm clock, he informed me, was a noise he'd long ago learned to tune out, for the most part. Apparently Heero also likes to get up "psychotically early."

I really may have to change some of my habits.

So we got up, and we managed to share the bathroom without killing each other, which is no mean feat in my apartment. It could only be accomplished, I believe, with someone you get along with REALLY well.

We didn't have any problems.

So after we showered and dressed, and Duo admired the lights and tinsel, and we ate oatmeal together, we went in to work.

We arrived right on time, too.

Wufei raised an eyebrow at our obvious shared good mood. I would have denied any of his assumptions... if he'd said anything out loud. But he just smirked and went back to work. Or his personal approximation thereof.

Heero... Heero barely glanced at us when we came in, and then buried his head in a file immediately.

Duo barely seemed to notice either of our friends' reactions as he launched into an appreciative speech on Wufei's efforts with the office decorations. Wufei came over to bask in the praise, but not long after that Duo was called to Une's office for his debriefing on the case he'd returned from last night. Wufei and I watched him go... and we watched Heero look up from his file and stare pensively after Duo until he was in Une's office.

I had forgotten about that for a while.

Wufei looked at me with a thoughtfully raised brow.

So I decided to drag him into it, too. Why should he get to sleep with Duo and not have to deal with all this emotional crap? I invited him to lunch, just the two of us. He looked intrigued and slightly suspicious, but he accepted without argument.

So with that scheduled, I felt perfectly justified in spending the morning sitting at my desk and happily reminiscing about waking up with Duo. I probably had a stupid grin on my face.

If Heero's glare was any indication.

Wufei choked on his water, his eyes bugging out comically. Trowa smothered a chuckle as the Chinese man fought to regain his composure.

After a few minutes, Wufei heaved a deep sigh, calm once more, and frowned at Trowa. "Really?" he asked disappointedly.

Trowa nodded, picking up his own glass and corralling the straw with one long finger. "Really," he agreed, using his finger to bend the straw downwards in illustration.

Wufei winced and sighed as Trowa took a sip. "Damn," the Chinese man muttered. "There go my plans for the holidays."

Then it was Trowa's turn to choke. When he finally regained his composure, Wufei was smirking at him.

"You're not serious," Trowa stated flatly.

Wufei shrugged, the smirk fading away. "Why not?" he asked, sounding slightly defensive. "We've been friends for a long time. His gentleness... intrigues me. He's always been kind, and he's certainly attractive." Wufei paused for a bite of sushi, chewed thoughtfully a moment, then added, "And Heero and I would kill each other, Duo and I don't have enough in common, and you... " Wufei trailed off, smirking again.

"What about me?" Trowa prompted.

Wufei poked at his lunch with his chopsticks, still smirking. "Well, I just don't think you're interested in me," Wufei replied.

Trowa frowned slightly, picking up a stray piece of tuna with his chopsticks as he wondered whether he had imagined the slight emphasis on the word "me" in Wufei's statement, and what it meant if he hadn't. Did Wufei think Trowa just wasn't interested in him? Or did he think Trowa was interested in... someone else?

"So what are you going to do about Quatre's... problem?" Wufei asked after a moment.

Trowa frowned at him. "Why should I do anything about it?" he asked in confusion.

Wufei rolled his eyes. "Duo said it was because he was still stuck on you. So obviously unless you do something about it... " Wufei explained insistently.

Trowa shook his head. "Oh, no. It's not my fault. I didn't flip the switch and turn off the testosterone, or whatever it is that causes... that. If the problem is that he's still hung up on me, how would my stepping back into his life help him in any way?" Trowa demanded irritably.

Wufei cocked his head thoughtfully. "You may be right, Barton," he allowed slowly. He took a bite of rice and chewed a moment. Then he remarked casually, "I bet Duo would sleep with me again if I asked him... "

"I'll see what I can do," Trowa snapped, almost breaking his chopsticks as his grip tightened convulsively.

"I knew you would," Wufei proclaimed smugly. Trowa glowered at him.

They ate their lunch for a few minutes.

"So," Wufei finally remarked, "fascinating as this conversation has been so far, I don't think you asked me to lunch to discuss Quatre's... masculine difficulties."

"No," Trowa agreed reluctantly. Despite having decided that Wufei had just as much right to be confused and concerned by everybody else's problems as he was, Trowa had begun to have misgivings again about sharing confidences with the Chinese man. It wasn't that Wufei wasn't discreet... it was just that he was sometimes selectively discreet. If he knew about something that was supposed to be a secret and he decided it shouldn't be, well...

Trowa's concern was that Wufei would listen to what Heero and Duo had told Trowa, then reflect upon it and come to some conclusion... then share that conclusion with everyone concerned. Possibly in the middle of the office Christmas party.

Wufei frowned thoughtfully at Trowa for a moment, then he sighed and smiled ruefully. "I promise to keep my mouth shut. All right?" he asked.

Trowa mirrored Wufei's smile and sighed wearily... then told the Chinese man everything he'd learned since Duo had moved in with him.

By the time he was done, they were on their second pot of tea. Wufei sipped thoughtfully and turned the mug slowly in his hand while he pondered. Trowa took a small sip from his mug and set it down. He really didn't care much for tea, but, when in Rome...

"Well, that's a lovely mess," Wufei finally remarked. "I'm glad he didn't move in with me," he added after a moment, taking another sip of tea.

Trowa frowned at that unhelpful comment.

Wufei shook his head. "I don't know what to tell you, Barton," he said slowly, staring abstractedly at the street through the large front window of the sushi bar. His dark eyes flicked to Trowa and away again, his expression carefully neutral. "Perhaps," Wufei ventured, "it would help if you had... a clearer objective?"

Trowa frowned. "What do you mean, objective?" he asked in confusion.

Wufei smiled patiently at him. "What do you want, Trowa?" he asked quietly. "You tell me all this about Heero and Duo's problems, and you seem to expect some kind of solution from me. But what do you want a solution for? Do you want to figure out how to fix what is wrong between the two of them, or do you want to figure out how to help them put it in the past and move on?"

Trowa's frown deepened. "I... I just want to help hi-them," he stammered.

Wufei's smile twisted slightly. "Do you want to get them back together, or do you want them to get over each other?" the Chinese man clarified.

Trowa felt himself blushing slightly as his subconscious answered the question without a moment's hesitation. But aloud he said, "I just want Duo to be happy. Whatever that takes... that's what I want."

Wufei snorted softly in amusement. "Very altruistic," he murmured mockingly. He finished his tea and set the mug down with an air of finality. He snagged the check off the counter before Trowa could protest, so the taller man walked out to the street to wait while Wufei paid. A few minutes later, the Chinese man stepped up beside him. Wufei stared thoughtfully across the street at a small park where some children were playing under the watchful eyes of their mothers.

"I... appreciate you coming to me for help," Wufei finally remarked, still watching the children. "I'm glad you know I would do my best to help you. Any of you," Wufei continued. He paused a moment and sighed. "But this... " He shook his head, and turned to look at Trowa, dark eyes thoughtful. "You say you want only for him to be happy," Wufei said. "Whatever it takes to accomplish that, you will do." Trowa nodded. Wufei nodded as well, looking back across the street. "In that case," he said calmly, "don't you think it might be wise, before you begin laying plans, to find out exactly what it is he wants?"

Trowa frowned at this statement.

"The fact that Heero regrets his actions and wishes to reconcile, does not necessarily mean that Duo wants to go back to him," Wufei continued. "And the fact that Duo seems to feel the two of them are finished does not necessarily mean he wants to move on."

Trowa's frown deepened. "So you think I should ask him what he wants before I try to figure out what to do?" Trowa asked flatly.

Wufei began walking back to the office, Trowa easily matching his pace. "I don't think you should do anything," Wufei advised.

"Why not? He's my friend, they're both my friends -- " Trowa bristled.

"And it's their problem," Wufei interjected. "They're big boys, Trowa," Wufei continued exasperatedly. "It's past time Yuy got over his fear of his own emotions, and Maxwell stopped running and hiding every time something goes wrong. I think they'll both be better off in the long run if we just let them work it out between them. If we make them work it out between them."

"But... that's what Duo's been talking about, how we don't try to help each other anymore, we don't get involved in each other's lives," Trowa protested.

Wufei rolled his eyes. "So we're not involved in this?" he asked, spreading his hands to indicate the situation in general. "I think we're all very involved. But all we can do is watch, and be there to support them, whatever they choose to do. That's all we should do."

Trowa shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket. "I suppose... " he murmured, unconvinced. "I just don't know if I can... stay out of it."

Wufei snorted. "Well, of course, you can't," he muttered.

"What's that mean?" Trowa asked, confused. Hadn't Wufei just been telling him not to get involved?

But Wufei only shook his head and advised, as they entered the Preventers building, "Just take care of your own mess, Barton. Clear things up with Quatre, once and for all. Hopefully, by then, Yuy and Maxwell will have come to some resolution, and then you can see how the land lays."

"How the land lays for what?" Trowa snapped. "I'm not setting up an ambush for them! I just want Duo to be happy!"

"With you," Wufei added flatly, turning to regard Trowa calmly.

Trowa flushed, his mouth opening and closing, but no words coming out. He couldn't think of a thing to say to this bald pronouncement.

Wufei nodded slightly, as though he had had something confirmed for him in Trowa's silence. "You all think I'm so oblivious," he mused. "Just because I've never been involved in your little romance-novel melodramas... I've had nothing to do all these years but watch," he informed Trowa grimly. "And from what I've seen, almost all the problems you people have had could have been solved or avoided completely if you'd ever sit down for five minutes and figure out what you really want."

Trowa blinked at him in astonishment. He supposed there was some truth to Wufei's words... Trowa knew that he, at least, was not much given to reflection. A side effect of the life he'd led, where the future was a pipe dream, the present rarely held any stability for long enough to think about it, and it wasn't wise to focus too much on the past. He'd known he was unhappy with Quatre, but he'd never taken the time to think about what would make him happy.

"I do... want to be with him," Trowa murmured quietly, almost talking to himself.

Wufei rolled his eyes. "To quote the man in question, duh!" he agreed.

Trowa scowled at him. "So I can't help him, because I care about him?" he demanded.

Wufei shook his head. "You can't solve the problem between him and Heero. You can support him in whatever his decisions are, even if they're not what you would prefer them to be."

Trowa sighed heavily. "Have I been that obvious?" he asked morosely.

Wufei shook his head, grinning. "Oh, no. At least, not to Maxwell."

"Well, that's something, at least," Trowa muttered. Pretty pathetic, if my desires were that obvious to everyone but me.

"Look, Barton, I understand your concern, and if it looks like they're going to make a big mess of everything again, then we can all stick our noses in, and probably get them cut off for our trouble. But for now, I think we're all better off dealing with our own issues," Wufei declared.

"I suppose," Trowa agreed reluctantly. "But... " He sighed. "I just... want to do something for him," he murmured unhappily. "And I have no idea what!"

"Just be his friend," Wufei advised. "That's all any of us can do for each other, in the long run. Just be there."

"Where else would I go?" Trowa muttered distractedly.

Wufei smirked at him and walked into the office. Trowa sighed and followed.

[part 8] [part 10] [back to Aoe's fic]