Walking the Tightrope + Chapter 1 (cont)

+

Once finished, Heero took care of the dishes while Duo put back the food. Wufei looked at them, they were acting so in tune that they almost never got into each other's way, feeling useless but not wanting to just up and leave like he would have done if it had been a normal day... a day before The Night, that is. Now he had a feeling his life wouldn't be what he had considered normal for quite some time. Well, anyway, he didn't want to leave them just like that without warning...

When they were finished, they looked at him then at each other.

"I've got repairs to make on Deathscythe, someone wants to go to the hangar with me?" asked Duo.

It was a half hour away in the woods in a straight line, and none of them would have attempted it because of the grounds, which made such a trek very difficult. The easy path went on long, annoying curves, but at least you didn't arrive with your clothes shredded and your knees and hands bloodied. And there was no way to go there using a bike or a car. Usually when they went there, they stayed most of the day, because making the trip took so much time. Made sense Duo wouldn't want to be alone all day up there.

"I have a meeting with a contact," said Wufei in a sorry tone.

"I need to wait for information right here," added Heero, apologetic. Sadly, he needed to use the house's internet connection, using his Gundam's made it too likely to be spotted, and if he had to sacrifice something to avoid getting caught, he preferred it to be an old house, easily repaired, and that nobody would miss that much in case of total obliteration by OZ forces.

The braided boy sighed.

"Well, see you tonight I guess..."

He grabbed Heero by the neck and gave him a little kiss on the cheek, then walked to Wufei and pecked his nose, winking at him. Then he grabbed the sandwich he had made for himself before they came into the kitchen, and a bottle of water, and disappeared to his room to pack the things he would need. Heero and Wufei glanced at each other, then shrugged and went to take care of their occupations.

"Later," Heero called as he left the room.

"Later," answered the other boy, sounding pensive in someway.

Heero wondered if he was having second thoughts too.

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

"Guys? I've got a question."

Heero and Wufei glanced at Duo who was standing between them in the little bedroom, facing the bed under the roof, fists on his hips.

"How the fuck did the three of us fit in THAT?"

Wufei blinked and considered the small bed.

"That's a good question, you know," he mused, nodding pensively.

Duo had a disgusted snort.

"With lots of mortgage on our future back health," answered Heero derisively, making a face as he was stretching some protesting muscles, a leftover from the last night.

Wufei snorted, Duo snickered.

"There's no way I'm sleeping in this bed with you guys again. It was nice, but one night dreaming I was a sardine in its little box is more than enough for me, folks."

Wufei stared at the floor, pensive, reflexively biting his lower lip.

"I could..."

He didn't even have the time to propose to let them sleep together in their bed while he returned to his own like he had intended to do. Duo had flung a bundle of covers and sheets at Heero, and was loading his arms with the pillows before he could find his words. The Chinese boy blinked over his armful.

"Duo?"

"Duo, what the hell are you doing?" asked calmly Yuy.

"You'll see!!"

He was dragging the mattress on the floor. It landed with a loud thud, on his feet, but didn't deter the tornado one second. The braided boy propped up one side of the mattress and began to drag it through the door. He had some trouble maneuvering the thing in the corridor, but finally succeeded in making it fit, and dragged it to the staircase with a renewed energy. The two Asian boys followed in confusion, exchanging startled glances.

"Wu? Could you go to the living room and drag this little table with the phone to the other side of the room, please? And just put your pillows on the couch."

Bemused, Wufei obeyed. It was always funny to go along with Duo's ideas, anyway. Well, most of the time. When he wasn't the target of said ideas.

After having thrown his armful on the couch, he put the little table as far from the staircase as it was possible. If he read Duo correctly, the mattress would go descending the stairs in a few minutes. Gods, but the thing was hideous, what with its twisted-over legs and the little crochet tablemat. Would not have been a big loss if the mattress ended up crushing it, but still, the house wasn't theirs after all.

"OK!!" he called.

The mattress went rolling on its edge, then crashed on the floor once it was free of the walls of the staircase. Duo went bounding down the stairs after it, and dragged it with enthusiasm between the low couch and the fireplace. He passed Heero running, bounding up, and they heard his feet slap against the planks and a door opening with a bang. A minute later, he was back with Wufei's mattress in tow.

"Maxwell..."

"Pyjama party!! Ain't it a great idea? Go fetch your pillow, Wu-love, we've got to make this as comfortable as possible!"

The Chinese boy started. Wu-love? And Duo hadn't even seemed to realize he had called him by that pet name...

He had a pet name. He didn't know if he should feel annoyed or all fuzzy inside; feeling fuzzy didn't seem very becoming for a serious young man like he was... But hell, it was what he was feeling anyway, so there.

Wu-love.

He bit the inside of his cheek and stalked up the stairs.

+

"I could learn to really love this," sighed Duo contentedly.

He stretched and let himself fall flat on his back, arms crossed behind his head. The low and fluffy couch provided a very comfortable headrest, and the two mattresses crammed between it and the chimney were so covered in comforters and pillows that it looked more like a nest than like any kind of human bedding. Near from their feet, the fire danced merrily in the depths of the chimney, not close enough to burn, just to warm them nicely. Sitting cross-legged at his right, Wufei was staring at its orange and red depths, looking hypnotized. The flames made his skin glow in warm tones, and his dark eyes seemed softer. There were bangs escaping from his ponytail, framing his face, erasing the usual harshness of his features. His knee was brushing against Duo's hip, and the braided boy wanted to purr. It was so perfect. Even more perfect when he looked left, because on the left, there Heero was, leaning against the couch, his eyes half-closed, dozing off, his hands crossed on his belly, near enough that he could feel his warmth against his side. Rrowr.

Well, it would be better if he didn't know too well that Wufei didn't lean back and enjoy the comfort because he was too tense for that, which Duo couldn't see because the man had control of his body language, but could feel anyway. He didn't know yet what to do to make them relax in each other's presence, but he thought about it, and he thought hard.

Heero was voluntarily acting laid-back to show that he accepted Wufei being so close in an intimate situation, but the Chinese pilot wasn't sure yet that it was true. He was acting skittish, in a way, always checking with Heero's reactions to his acts to see if he hadn't passed a line. Duo hoped he would accept that he was here to stay and had as much the right as the other boy to be in this relationship. But in a way, he knew that it wasn't quite true. Because if Heero hadn't proposed, the said relationship would never have begun. And if Heero decided to change his mind, it would all crumble. Wufei knew that Duo wasn't a problem, because he knew that the braided boy loved them both equally, but Heero tolerated him like someone who had to be tolerated for Duo's sake, nothing more.

Or so the Chinese boy thought. The American had caught more than once, and before even he told Heero about his love for the both of them, an amused, sorta condescending, and somewhat affectionate look on his face when the two Asians had just had a disagreement, and Wufei turned away to leave, in annoyance if he had lost or in pride if he had won.

Heero liked Wufei, Duo could tell. Now, how he liked him was another matter entirely. If it was friendship, or a sort of brotherly thing, or a strange rivalry thing...

Damn. It was too late and he had worked too long today to think about that. Time to get to sleep. His brain was thinking fuzzy thoughts, sure sign that he should rest.

Fighting the sleepiness, he sat up in a leap, making Wufei start and Heero glance at him, puzzled.

"I wanna sleep."

And before one of them could ask him what was preventing him from doing so, he had grabbed Wufei by the neck and had fallen on his back again, dragging him after him.

"Hey!!" protested the boy.

"You go to sleep too. I need cuddles to fall asleep, so there," he added, mock-pouting. The Chinese boy snorted at his antics, a little ill at ease anyway.

He snuggled against Wufei's side, snaking an arm around his torso, then looked back. Heero was observing them, unreadable.

"What are you waiting for?" Duo asked in mock-annoyance. He indicated with his chin that Heero was to come nearer, then, as he didn't comply fast enough, the braided boy rolled on his back, caught Heero's arm, wound it around his chest, then turned around again to cuddle against Wufei, making the Japanese boy spoon him.

Duo sighed happily. "There is no way I'm sleeping alone ever again," he informed his two boyfriends, his voice muffled in Wufei's shoulder. Heero laughed and wriggled closer, molding his front to Duo's back.

Wow. The best of two worlds. His head on a strong shoulder, his arms around someone's waist, and a hard body plastered against his backside at the same time. Heaven.

"No way in hell..." repeated the braided boy, feeling the first stirrings of sleep invading his mind.

+

Wufei sighed, relaxing slowly into the embrace. He was still unused to being so intimate, to have the right to be so intimate, with the boy he had been crushing on for so long. And it had been even longer since he had touched someone as intimately.

His mother had stopped hugging and cuddling him when he had been about six, and his father had never done it to begin with. Then there was Meiran, who had been supposed to be his wife, but with whom he had never even shared a bed. They had been supposed to, and had had many angry talks about the invisible line not to cross ever, but finally he had just gone to sleep elsewhere... to find out that she had done the same, anyway. Never used marital bed... The only contact he had ever had with her had been the fight, her fists on his belly, his own against her cheek. And those rare encounters after their most intense fights, which couldn't really be called making love. Mating, probably, or something like that. Even then, the contacts hadn't been tender at all.

In a family of Chinese descent and culture, you didn't hug or kiss. You bowed, you nodded. You didn't touch. Ever. What a shock it had been for him the first time Duo had glomped him after a battle, the second or so they had fought together. He had pushed him back, violently, just refraining himself from hitting because the braided boy hadn't meant anything by the gesture, had just let loose some of the battle excitement he still felt coursing in his veins. Miffed by the rejection, Duo had decided to make it his personal goal to hug him as often as he could, to relax him.

After a while in which he had discovered that Maxwell was about the most stubborn person in the galaxy, Wufei had just stopped trying to escape his clutches and had let himself be hugged, just waiting for it to stop. After another while, he had found out that he kind of liked it.

After yet another while, he had realized that he would have wanted it to be more. More contact, for longer, maybe a different kind of hug too. Totally floored by that realization, he had avoided Duo for a while, trying to make sense of this strange attraction. Then he had admitted to himself what he felt. But by then it was too late; Duo had been with Heero. The braided boy still hugged him every time he got the chance, but Wufei just went back to his old way of bearing the hug, stiff and distant, just counting the seconds until it finally ended, not letting himself appreciate it too much. Maxwell was Yuy's from now on. Off limits.

Not as if the enthusiastic pilot could like a sarcastic, cold, haughty boy like himself in any other way than as a sort of friend.

A lock of dark gold hair slid against his cheek, tickling his nose. Wufei lifted a hand and caught it between his fingers, letting the soft strands slide against his rough fingertips. Duo mumbled and his hand slid to Wufei's belly, and the Chinese boy sighed silently, a tiny smile on his lips.

The hug was definitely not one of the kind you submitted your just-friends to.

On a whim, he rolled on his side to press his chest against Duo's, sliding an arm around his waist to hug back.

And froze. He had brushed against Heero's arm. Startled, he glanced over Duo's shoulder, to see dark blue eyes looking back. He removed his arm, awkwardly letting it fall on his own hip, but Duo's arm made it not very comfortable. He wanted to bend it to rest his hand on Duo's shoulder, but the contact would probably wake the boy up.

Damn. And why couldn't he put his arm around Duo's waist too? he thought with annoyance. Just because Heero's arm was already there... There was enough place. He just had to hug higher, that was all.

He carefully slid his arm around Duo's torso, stupidly ashamed because he knew that Heero was awake, and was looking at him putting the moves on Duo. But the braided boy was his boyfriend too now, he had a right to hug him back! Annoyed at himself as much as at Heero for his supposed thoughts, he closed his eyes, nesting his hand just under Duo's braid.

+

Heero smirked awkwardly. His own hand was closed on Duo's braid, only two folds higher. He toyed with the idea of letting it go, knowing that if Wufei moved his hand they would touch, but finally he didn't move. If he moved now Wufei would feel it and know that they were nearly touching anyway. And, hell, they were sleeping in the same bed, of course they could end up touching! He didn't have cooties anyway, so there wasn't a problem. Damn, they had even slept in each other's arms yesterday, so he didn't understand why he was feeling so skittish now. It was stupid. Damn his emotions.

He closed his eyes too, gently kissing Duo's nape as was his pre-sleep ritual, and wondering about a time where Wufei and him would feel comfortable enough in each other's presence that they wouldn't fear end up in contact.

He didn't get to really sleep until much later.

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

Heero woke up to the smell of toasts and coffee.

'Damn, how does he do that?' he wondered when he realized that Duo had escaped from between the two other boys without even waking them up. Hard thing to do when he had been sandwiched between them, their arms around his body...

... oh. Oops.

Wufei's arm was resting on Heero's hip, Heero's wrist brushing against the Chinese boy's torso. The messy-haired pilot swore. How was he to disengage without waking the other boy up? He froze, embarrassed, totally undecided, unable to find a way.

+

Black, slanted eyes fluttered open, slowly. And then widened when the face that greeted them wasn't the one he had been waiting for. And Heero looked as flushed as he felt. Shit. He froze for a second, then began to lift his arm, realizing with shame the place it had been resting over. Damn, and for a moment, before being totally awake, he had enjoyed the contact, thinking it was Duo... Damn damn damn!

+

"Wow, that's such an erotic picture you're making together like that, resting face to face and barely touching at all... Methinks I should take a picture. A life-sized poster of you two would look good in DeathScythe's cockpit..."

The two Asian boys jumped out of the bed-nest faster than if it had been on fire, their faces red. Bent over the couch's back, Duo was laughing his ass off at them, tears of mirth in his eyes, pointing to them and clapping his thigh.

"You..." growled Yuy, advancing menacingly. Wufei imitated him on his other side, cutting Duo off from another escape route.

"Eep!"

'Mission accomplished,' thought Duo while running away from the two homicidal boys. 'Now they're not worrying about waking up together anymore... But how the hell am I gonna get out of there alive?

****

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