Walking the Tightrope + Chapter 6 (cont)

+

Duo finally got out of the shower, half an hour later, humming a song that was running around in his head and rubbing at his hair with a towel along with the song's rhythm. He quieted when he approached the bed. There was no movement and no sign that they were awake, he didn't want to bother his lovers.

Noon already, and he was beginning to feel really, really sleepy. And he hadn't done anything, really, apart from waiting for them all night long. After a mission, they must have been exhausted.

In silence, he lowered the blinds and went to close the door to the kitchen, which let past enough light to bother the two other pilots. Abandoning the towel on a radiator, he walked to the couch, the only sound in the room being the legs of his pajama pants brushing against his skin.

Heero was sprawled on Wufei's torso, sleeping peacefully. Duo could see his bangs fluttering slightly with each soft exhale of breath. He didn't seem to be in pain, and Duo admitted that maybe, he had been a tad too hyper-protective. But Heero had already, so many times, aggravated one of his injuries by refusing to admit that it was serious, that Duo had been forced to take the opposite stand and treat every bruise like a life-threatening wound. Because there might be a time where he was right, and he wouldn't be able to know it before it was too late, because Wing's pilot was just too plain stubborn to complain.

Smiling softly at his Japanese lover, Duo sat down on the bed and crawled close to him, his smile widening when Heero, still asleep, instinctively reached out with an open hand for him.

He bend over Heero to take a look at Wufei's face.

"Help me to move him away, please," mouthed the Chinese boy, adding a pitiful look for the effect.

Laughing as silently as he could, Duo shook his head no. Then, he deliberately looked away to be able to say that he hadn't seen Wufei's frantic request for help, nestling against the two boys.

"Night, Heero-love, night Fei-love," he whispered, and closed his eyes.

He heard a long-suffering sigh from Wufei, then nothing at all. But he never really knew if it was because Wufei had stopped trying to escape or if it was because he had fallen asleep.

But then, he didn't really care.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Over the two weeks and a half it took for Heero's ribs ­definitely cracked ­ to heal entirely, Duo and Wufei gradually went into a full-blown contest. Wufei's pride had demanded that he take care of Heero to stop nagging him. Duo had wanted to coddle his usually too hard-working lover. And so...

...

... the contest began.

They would be seated on the couch, watching the TV. Heero would shift to get a more comfortable position. Wufei would, totally randomly, bring him a cushion to get installed more comfortably.

Duo would then bring him a cover for his bare legs, and tuck it with care. Wufei would snort and act as if he didn't even see it.

Approximately ten to twenty minutes later, Wufei would get up to search for a pullover for Heero, who seemed to be so cold with his bare shoulders.

Or...

"I got you dessert," would say Duo.

"You forgot to bring him a spoon, Duo," Wufei would say. And Wufei would bring the spoon.

Duo's fingers would itch with the barely restrained urge to feed Heero himself, just to outdo Wufei.

Good thing he never tried. Heero would have bitten them off.

Or...

"I made you lunch, Heero."

"I made something he can actually EAT, Duo-love," Wufei would answer, perfectly polite.

The platter of food prepared by Duo would then mysteriously end all over Wufei. While Wufei would be ranting, something would mysteriously happen to HIS platter, rendering it inedible. Meanwhile, Heero would be calling the closest pizzeria with a long-suffering sigh.

Things would end in the bathroom, where they would all be trying to clean each other and themselves off without getting in each other's way, laughing the incident off, and innocently pawing at each other ­but without actually doing anything, since attempting anything even slightly acrobatic on wet tiles was the only thing which his caretakers agreed not to let him try, not even to win points.

Which would leave Heero hungry, cold, and with a hard-on. He was glad they didn't decide to put him to bed and play alone, though. Injured or not, for that one he'd have torn out their flesh with his teeth and eaten it.

Luckily that had only happened once.

Heero himself was busy hesitating between being annoyed at them because they barely let him breathe, or being amused because they were actually more concentrated on trying to outdo each other than on being nice to him.

On the plus side, he had been getting fantastic back rubs and massages from Wufei and lots of nookie from Duo.

He was still pretty relieved when they decided to let him off the hook. He had been beginning to think that being left without any care was preferable to being taken care of too much. Next time he would go to a hospital, even with all the bad memories. Even being tied down to a table by Sally and playing human guinea pig was preferable than having Wufei AND Duo for nurses.

And so, slowly, things got back to normal.

Well, what passed for normal amongst the three of them, anyway.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"YESSS!!!"

Wufei started, and nearly tore out his fingers with the tool he was using on his bike.

He was in the garage, taking care of the engine, something he had neglected for quite a long time now in favor of devoting himself to Heero's care. Now that Duo had decided that Heero could once again move around like he wanted, provided he didn't do anything dangerous like climb his Gundam without a security harness in case he slid off and fell ­ using a harness was something that to his knowledge none of the pilots had ever done ­ Wufei had a little more time to himself.

The Chinese boy stretched his arms and back, glancing at his watch in passing, and gasped. It was evening now, and he hadn't even realized!

Dropping the tool into its box, he decided to continue another day. He had been away from his lovers long enough.

And he had to admit, he was intrigued as to where the shout had come from ­well, not who it had come from, since it had clearly been Duo's voice. Furthermore, if he heard Heero scream "YES!", he would not really need to be told why. He didn't know many things that could make Heero scream, and most of them were very ... private ­ Anyway!! He was wondering why Duo had shouted, yes, that was what he wondered, not what it would take to make Heero shout like that. Not at all.

He was only wondering what Duo had done. Yes, that was it.

He didn't have to walk far, because the moment he opened the back door to walk in the kitchen, Duo nearly ran him over, having apparently been rushing outside at the same time as he had been coming in. They bumped into each other, and Wufei had to grab the door to keep from sprawling on the ground. He managed to stabilize Duo too, but it was a close call.

"Hey, Wu! Just the one I was searching for!" Duo exclaimed a second before he could ask where the braided boy had been going in such a hurry.

"What do you want now, Maxwell?" Wufei asked, lifting his chin in a superior way, his eyes glinting amusedly.

"Oi! So now I'm back to being Maxwell? You're a bastard, you know that?"

Wufei smirked in his trademark way. Just like the Chinese teen had intended, Duo's eyes softened from their mock-angry glaring to a contemplative look.

"But a sexy bastard... Hmm. I guess I can forgive that," he added, leaning forward to press against Wufei and stealing a quick kiss.

Chuckling, Wufei pushed him back in the kitchen and closed the door behind him.

"What did you want?"

"Oh, Fei-love..." Duo whispered, his voice turning low and seductive without warning.

"Should I begin running now?" Wufei asked, his tone ironic enough to cut through stone.

Duo punched him in the shoulder. "Bastard. I think it's gonna be my new nickname for you. Anyway. There's a movie on TV tonight. We're watching it," he added, his tone playfully commanding.

"If I don't want to?"

"You'll want to. It's historical!"

Wufei lifted a surprised eyebrow. Since when did Duo like historical movies? He found them annoying as hell.

"It's about a wrongfully enslaved General, betrayed by the Emperor's son, whose family gets killed, who's forced to kill against his will, and his fight for freedom and revenge in Ancient Rome."

The Chinese boy blinked. "You're going to tell me that you want to watch a movie that talks about something like that?"

Duo had an impish grin.

"Of course, it helps that they're fighting half naked and all oiled up for more than half of the movie and that the Emperor has the hots for the hero."

Wufei facevaulted.

"I should have known," he muttered.

"I'm taking care of the snacks, you go get Heero!" and with that, Duo shooed him out of the kitchen and into the living room where the messy-haired boy was typing away, so engrossed in his computer that he didn't even look up.

Wufei gazed after the boy for a while, letting his thoughts drift. They had been so silly with that competition over Heero's care, but it had made him feel better to authorize Duo to sidetrack him, less tense. It had been good not to take it too seriously. Plus it had been revenge for Heero's teasing the other day.

Heero was now totally healthy again, exactly like he was before... and Wufei's way of seeing him had been totally changed. Taking care of him had broken down the last barriers the Chinese teen had used to protect himself from getting attached, had destroyed for certain the image of the Invincible Soldier that Wufei had believed for so long was all there was to Yuy. Now he knew that Heero had a wicked sense of humor, was capable of teasing someone to death without batting an eyelash, cuddled in his sleep, had a love/hate relationship with long hair, especially when he inhaled it while sleeping, and blushed a lovely soft pink if you covered him with a blanked when he was cold.

Sure, he was also coldly aggressive when you pissed him off, lashed out with deadly accuracy when provoked, and was totally obsessed with his hacking contests with other computer-addict geeks all over the world to the point he could go days without eating, and he would probably never be able to make a meal that took in consideration the taste more than the nutritional balance or to leave something lying on the ground without his fingers itching to straighten up what he perceived at mess, but...

But he was a person now. Not an archetype. Not an ideal.

And currently, he was engrossed in one of his online things. Wufei stepped behind him to glance at the screen; he was hacking in a random computer, probably just for fun.

"Tssst," Wufei smirked, slapping the screen down, nearly catching the boy's fingers with it.

Heero tensed and Wufei couldn't help grinning when he heard him growl. The Japanese pilot turned to face him, glaring for all he was worth.

"Tell me that it's bad for my health and die," Heero announced in a voice whose calm was only an appearance.

"The master of our lives decided that we were watching TV tonight," Wufei informed him with a smirk, biting his cheeks not to burst out laughing. Heero had heard the 'It's bad for your health' spiel so many times in the two previous weeks that he was now allergic to anything that sounded even slightly like it. "And I know that you weren't doing anything mission-related. Finish it fast or Duo will drag you away himself..."

Heero sighed. The Chinese boy patted his shoulder, a gesture that was laced with less sympathy than it was with amusement.

+

"Poor Max, snack for lions..." Duo mumbled, blindly reaching in the chips bowl to munch on something some more. The lions had made him remember about his own stomach.

His hand continued to search for a few minutes, his eyes glued to the screen, but finally the stressful moment ended and he was able to glance at his target. No wonder he hadn't found anything, the bowl was empty.

Sliding over the couch's armrest, he padded toward the kitchen in silence on his bare feet, trying not to disturb his lovers. It was at least the seventh trip to the kitchen he had made, and so he had finally lost his place between the both of them for a place on the kitchen's side, when they had become annoyed enough with his moving around. Wufei was now in the middle, arms crossed over his chest, but Duo was proud to see that his back had finally begun to follow the curve of the cushions and that he didn't sit so ramrod straight anymore. Heero was leaning against the armrest on Wufei's other side, one knee propped up. He glanced at Duo when he saw him leave, and Duo came back toward him in silence, trying not to disturb the Chinese pilot.

"Want something?" Duo whispered.

"Water please," Heero answered in kind.

"Ok. Make sure he doesn't take my place," Duo added jokingly, pointing at Wufei, before leaving for the kitchen.

He began to rummage in the cupboards, still trying to stay silent. Apparently he had been more right than he had thought when he had believed that Wufei would like the story. He was totally engrossed in it. So engrossed that when Duo had burst out laughing after hearing the immortal line "You sold me queer giraffes!" he had made the poor chestnut-haired boy eat a cushion ­without even looking away from the screen. Apparently, Wufei hadn't found the sentence that funny. Or maybe it was the fact that Duo's guffaws prevented him from hearing the rest of the scene...

+

Back in the living room, Heero was shifting positions. He had been sitting on his leg too long and now, he barely felt it anymore. He unfolded it and folded the other in its place, mirroring the position he had been in before.

Just a problem with the position, he thought with annoyance. When he had been leaning on his other side, he had had the couch's armrest to rest against, but the cushions were too soft and would not bear his weight well on this side... He would probably fall in the dip Wufei's weight made, or would have to bend uncomfortably to avoid it... And he was missing details of the movie with his tries to find a comfortable position.

He glanced at Wufei, and thought, what the hell.

+

Totally engrossed in the movie, Wufei didn't even notice at first when he felt Heero lean against his shoulder. He even moved around a little to accommodate him, and leaned back on him when Heero's arm went to rest around his shoulders.

It wasn't before Duo came back with his snacks and a bottle of water and stopped a few feet away, as if surprised, that he figured that something was... not wrong, but not usual either.

Chuckling softly, Duo deposited his game on the table and slid over the couch's armrest.

"After all, it always comes in threes," he mused.

"What are you talking about?" Heero asked.

"This thing that says that if I leave you alone in the living room, I must come back to find you getting snuggly with each other."

Wufei blushed, realizing with a new accuracy the presence of Heero's arm around his shoulders and of their sides pressing in each other's.

"At least, this time, you're not sucking each other's tonsils out..." he added, smirking at them.

Wufei made a noise that could be considered anything in the scale between a grunt and a chuckle, and turned back to the TV, hoping that no one saw his cheeks turn pink.

Heero smirked and turned around on the couch to face the other Asian teen.

"Well, shall we?"

Puzzled, Wufei turned to face him, his confusion fast giving way to surprise and a little something else that made his heart accelerate without really understanding why.

"Traditions are important after all," the short-haired boy added with a smirk.

Wufei would have answered something, except that his brain seemed to have decided to take a vacation just then. When Heero leaned closed, he didn't react at all, apart from his eyes opening wider and wider for each centimeter closed.

Heero stopped his advance when he could feel Wufei's breath on his face, and stared at his eyes, asking in silence. But the Chinese teen was still too surprised to react, either by closing the distance or turning away.

Chuckling, Duo slid his hand in Wufei's hair and pushed his head forward. The Chinese boy didn't have the time to protest; Heero's lips were over his.

This time it was slower, and not as competitive. Just lips, really, nothing too deep. But it was good, too, and the black-haired boy relaxed and kissed back, sighing with pleasure in Heero's mouth when Duo's hand in his hair slid downward and caressed his nape.

Disengaging, Heero smirked at Duo over Wufei's shoulder, and the braided boy winked at him. Then, together, the two blue-eyed pilots turned to face the screen, ignoring Wufei completely.

"Hey!"

"I thought you wanted to see the movie, oh bastard-mine?" Duo asked innocently.

Grunting something indiscernible but probably insulting, Wufei grabbed his lovers by the neck and dragged them against him. Duo chuckled again, and slid his arm around Wufei's waist.

"You admit it, you're great at being furniture," he whispered in his lover's ear.

Heero playfully swatted at Duo's thigh. "Silence, I'm trying to follow the movie here..."

Relaxing, the three of them got back to being absorbed in the gladiator's adventures, cuddling as if it was the most natural thing the three of them had ever done.

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