by Bronze Tigress

Rainbow Sherbet + Chapter 3

Tuesday night and Wednesday morning : Talking It Over

Taking a deep breath, Trowa steps out through the door of the master bedroom and walks down the short hall to the kitchen for debriefing. Suddenly, the complete inaccuracy of the military term - considering that the couple waiting for him are no longer in that condition - causes him to break into a chuckle. Matters are not improved by the fact that Duo eeps, blushes crimson, and ducks his head into Wufei's shoulder on seeing him enter the room.

Trowa has to get right up to the table to see how they are managing to share the same kitchen chair. Wufei is sitting all the way back, almost off the back of the chair, his legs spread wide off the sides. This leaves just enough space for Duo to perch somewhat awkwardly on the front half of the chair, with both of his legs draped over one of Wufei's thighs. Wufei has one arm wrapped firmly around Duo's waist, keeping him in place, while the other cradles the head on his shoulder.

Shortly, Trowa brings his amusement under control, and a muffled sniff precedes Duo's commenting, "Look at me, blushing like a girl..."

Wufei laughs at that. "Not as far as I can tell, but then I may not have the best possible sample set... Now, do you think you can move over to your own chair so I can pour this coffee?"

"Ah, yeah, I think so." Duo stands up, and keeps one hand on the table as he turns to sit down again in the third chair.

"Alright, Duo, what exactly is wrong with you?" Trowa, to the best of his knowledge, has never seen Duo look quite this way. He's not certain whether it's the wobble, however, or the relaxed look of ecstasy still lingering at the corners of Duo's eyes and mouth that is more unusual, or raises more questions.

"Nothing that not trying to get up so soon wouldn't have solved." Duo sounds remarkably chipper, considering his appearance. An image of a stray cat that had wandered into camp one time and managed to walk off with a chunk of half-cooked meat nearly the size of its own head comes to Trowa's mind as an analogy. There is a certain very pleased note under Duo's cheer, as if this minor inconvenience is a cheap price indeed.

"I am given to understand that the experience can be extremely intense, Triton, and I was deliberately pushing for that, feeling that a fairly extreme example might be in order. This is just a minor, very temporary side-effect. Duo stressed his thigh muscles by inadvertently tensing them, which exhausts them. He is correct, it is nothing to worry over, and normally, we would simply have stayed put for another few minutes until they had rested. However, he would probably have fallen asleep had we done so," Wufei explains, then adds with a small smirk, "and right now, he is probably playing the shivers for all they are worth since it generally buys him extra attention - not that I mind giving it to him."

"Hey!"

Wufei laughs, then. It is obvious to Trowa, watching the two, that Heero was correct, six months ago, in saying that Duo's antics were starting to rub off on Wufei.

"Feels pretty cool, actually, as long as I'm not trying to stand up," Duo says, smiling at Trowa reassuringly.

Turning to bring down three mugs, Wufei asks, "You still take your coffee black, Triton?"

"Ah. Yes, please."

Wufei adds milk to Duo's mug and a spoonful of sugar to his own before delivering the coffee to the table.

"Now, what was so amusing? It can't have been Duo's blush, charming as that is, because you had already begun laughing before getting in here."

"Oh, I was thinking that I needed to get to the debriefing," Trowa says, "and then I realized, you two had already done that and gotten beyond it..."

Duo blinks and then doubles over with laughter, having first narrowly escaped snorting some of his coffee up his nose. Wufei obviously has to puzzle out the joke for a moment but soon joins in the merriment, the light of comprehension appearing to spark his own laughter. Finally Wufei manages to get out, "Only you, Triton, only you..." in between chuckles, and then, "Or perhaps Yui..." That last thought sets Duo off again, albeit not quite so badly.

"Yeah, but 'Fei," Duo amends, "Heero wouldn't have realized that it was funny..." He snickers into his cup.

Tension thoroughly broken, the three settle in for a good discussion, beginning, at Wufei's suggestion, with a thorough run-down of Trowa's past experience, present observations, and current conclusions.(1) Finally, he finishes his tale with, "It was so completely different from anything I'd ever seen before - leaving out the genders involved, since I've seen all sorts of things getting fucked, and they weren't all even human - but... I had heard it called 'making love' before; now, I think I can understand why. I need to learn how to do that. I want to see that look," he says, waving towards Duo, "on her face, and know I put it there."

"Well, then, should we discuss how that's going to happen, first, or have you other questions to ask of us?"

"Aiee... Where to start?" Trowa wonders, before venturing, "This is all such a surprise. I mean, I'd never have guessed either of you for gay, much less being together this way..."

Duo blinks, then asks his own question. "Who says we are? Gay, that is? I know I sure as hell never thought I'd be shacking up with a guy, and I don't think that was the top item on Wufei's list of things to do in life, either, somehow." Wufei shakes his head.

"Well, bi then," Trowa amends. "Even so, I wouldn't have picked you guys for a couple."

Duo shrugs. "I found someone who understands me - and loves me anyway."

Trowa waits a long moment for an elaboration before realizing that one isn't forthcoming, then turns to look at Wufei for his reasoning.

"I found someone to love, Triton, who loves me as I am. Even if he will not say so," Wufei quips, a wry smile playing on his lips. "Anything else?"

Trowa nods, then after a moment's consideration, asks, "Is it always like that?"

"Like what, exactly?" Wufei begins, before starting to suggest and answer a few possible meanings for the ambiguous question. "That intense? No, not always, but it is always good, and there are times when intensity isn't really what either of us is after. That caring? Yes, absolutely. Or were you looking for more technical details?"

"Um..."

"Is it always that position? No, although it is a favourite one. That particular activity? Not usually, because it takes longer and there are times when we are in a hurry, or too tired, or not feeling up to it. Those roles? So far, although that may well change."

"Um, okay. That's about five off the list..." He quirks a smile. "Er. Duo's hair...?"

"Hey, man, some things gotta stay private!"

"Besides which, a little more practically, it is very easy to tangle or pull when it's loose. It does not often come down in the evenings, because it is easier to sleep with it braided - for both of us." Wufei rubs absentmindedly at his nose before continuing, "In fact, you might suggest it to Dorothy, as no doubt it will come up shortly after you manage to pin her to the bed by the hair and pull out a good hank..." Wufei smiles rather sheepishly at that.

"Okay, then... Um... The jelly?"

"Ah, the lube. Probably not so necessary for you and yours, given that you will be with a woman after this, but then again, it might be of use. Most definitely useful for what we were doing, however; it makes everything work much more easily and comfortably. We would not start without it."

"Duo? It didn't look like it, but it doesn't hurt, does it?"

"Nuh, uh. Nope. Far from it - and you know I don't have much of a tolerance for pain, either. I know, you probably heard what I did, that it always does to start with, but no. Wufei turned up some stuff when he was doing his research that said it wasn't ever supposed to, so... He made sure it didn't."

"Research?" Trowa is actively blinking at the term.

"The technical information is out there, Triton - one has only to seek it."

"And... you can show me? I mean..."

"Not everything, but enough to get you going."

"When do we start?"

"We already have, no? Come, the hour grows late, and we need to get some sleep. We can discuss the details in the morning, but let us say, tentatively, you will be here for the weekend?"

Trowa nods. "Sounds about right."

"Good." Wufei gets up and clears the coffee cups off the table, leaving them in the sink to deal with in the morning. "Then there is just one thing," he says, before walking around the table, and stopping before Trowa. He lifts his left hand to feather lightly through the still overly-long bangs, and gently holds Trowa's head steady, and leans in slowly. He pauses, while still about a foot separates their faces, and looks searchingly into green eyes, running his thumb across Trowa's lower lip and quirking one eyebrow as he asks, "May I?" Trowa swallows, studying Wufei's face in turn, then nods sharply and lifts his chin in invitation.

Wufei's kiss is gentle and quite undemanding, which surprises Trowa; considering what he has seen so far of the man currently kissing him, he rather expected a little more force. But... as the kiss continues past the point where it could, properly, be called "chaste", Trowa concludes that it is certainly more pleasant than he expected, as well. Finally, Wufei breaks the kiss, leaning his forehead against Trowa's as he quietly wishes him, "Pleasant dreams," and then dropping a small kiss on his forehead before straightening up and moving past him.

When Trowa looks up, Duo is standing before him, practically wringing his hands with indecision. "What is it, Duo?" he asks of his friend.

"I promised, Trowa, remember? Back on Peacemillion? I promised not to start anything with you..."

"Ah. So you did. Your turn, right? Come on then," Trowa answers the unspoken part of the plea, standing and opening his arms a little.

Duo nods happily, then steps in close enough to lay his palms lightly on Trowa's shoulders, and runs his tongue nervously over his lips, waiting for his goodnight kiss. Trowa smiles softly as he steps in closer, rests his palms on Duo's hips, and leans in to kiss him. It is as he steps back again that Trowa realizes that Duo has grown some since the last time he was this close to the other young man, because he hadn't had to tilt his chin down at all to meet his lips.

"Mmm, nice," is Duo's comment - even before his eyes flutter open again. He blinks sleepily at Trowa then, before bidding him good night and walking to the doorway, where he waits by the light switch. "After you?"

"Ah, yes. Good night, Duo. Sleep well."

Duo smiles and follows him out of the kitchen, flicking off the light, stopping by the front door to check the lock, and then padding softly down the hall to his room. Trowa can hear a flapping of fabric like tent flaps in the wind. As he gets to his door, he can also hear Wufei's soft tenor voice speaking, and Duo's lower tones answering, but the words are muffled by the intervening walls. Then their light flicks off and Trowa is left alone to contemplate all that has transpired this evening. With a tired sigh, he flicks his own light off, pads carefully to the bed, slips between the sheets, and closes his eyes.

+

Trowa wakes early the next morning; the surroundings are unfamiliar, and a lifetime of training that forces caution in unfamiliar surroundings makes itself known.

Of course, it could also have been the soft sounds of a radio alarm clock switching on to an annoyingly gruesome thrashbang station and the equally faint smells of coffee beginning to drip. Or the thump of a body hitting the floor and then the (relatively) quickly-muted sounds of a baritone voice growling about the injustice of having to get out of a nice comfy warm bed and cross the entire room to get to said radio alarm clock to turn off said thrashbang noise. It takes him a moment to place the voice as Duo's, and he notes with some amusement that evidently Wufei's habits have been affecting Duo just as much as the reverse.

With an almost audible snap, memories of last night flood into his brain, in turn causing a rush of blood to other regions. He sits, somewhat dazed by the onslaught of images, for a few minutes until a sudden banging on the door accompanied by, "Yo, Tro, man, up and at 'em!" breaks through his reverie.

"I'm up, Duo," he calls back. The sudden thought of just how appropriate that particular assessment is nearly causes him to laugh - again -but he quickly squelches the urge. Five minutes later he is out of bed, dressed, and entertaining thoughts of Tsuberov dancing in a pink tutu as he is heading for the kitchen.

Breakfast is a fairly subdued affair. Duo is, oddly enough, smiling with his eyes instead of his mouth (even given that he is using the latter for dealing with breakfast), and he seems to be inordinately pleased with himself. His expression once again reminds Trowa of that cat with its loot.

Beside him, Wufei seems intent on using up his entire monthly allowance of smiles, most of which are being directed towards Duo. Trowa realizes, with something of a start, that he can now account for probably every other occasion in the last while, where the two have come in to work wearing those same expressions.

Wufei turns, and promptly uses up another one of his smiles on Trowa's suddenly flushed face. "What are you thinking, Triton?"

"Ah..." He pauses, trying to assemble his thoughts into something resembling coherency. "Ah, I was just thinking you were both wearing the wrong expressions - you're smiling and he's not. And... uh... that I'd been seeing you two doing that - wearing those expressions - for the last," he pauses to count, "six, seven weeks or so... and now I probably know why."

"Ah," Wufei chuckles, "a mystery solved, then?"

"You could say that."

Wufei nods, before noting, "It is closer to two months, though." Then some indeterminate expression flits across his face. "You should probably drop by your place before heading in to the office - be seen leaving there. Take the overpass - it is unlikely to be too busy at this hour. You do not need to have too many rumours flying about concerning how you spent the evening, considering, from that last comment, that there have probably been enough of them concerning how we have been spending our evenings." This last remark has a twinge of a sour twist to it, which Trowa is quick to note - and comment on.

"No, there haven't been, really. About you two, that is. Last I heard, Quatre thinks it's awfully cute that you're finally developing a sense of humour, Wufei, although he's not quite sure it's such a good thing that you're developing Duo's sense of humour," he adds, barely ducking a thrown bit of toast. He grins broadly at Duo's expression before continuing, "But beyond that he doesn't think what's going on is anything more than what he and I had at the end of the Eve Wars.(2) Heero is of the avowed opinion that Duo has been a bad influence on you, and I've heard Zechs say you both seem more sedate now, but nothing beyond that."

"Hey! I resemble that remark!"

"Of course you do, silly one," is Wufei's reply to Duo's strangled squawk of protest; it is followed by a soft kiss to his cheek, which causes Duo's smile to spread across his lips. It is still, however, a softly joyful one, rather than the manic grin he usually presents as his smile.

"And, well, I have to admit I hadn't really thought any more of it than what Quatre had, until you started with the 'we' bit last night at dinner, Duo. I don't recall having seen you two really acting any differently since you moved in together, really - well, except for those odd occasions when you walked in with each others' expressions on, and that time back in May when you shocked Yui into spraining his elbow, but you say that was before you..."

"Yes, that was quite a bit before; back then, we really were not together in that way at all..." Wufei nods. "Although it was not entirely a joke; I know I had been thinking about it, and it turns out Duo had been as well. Mostly, though, that little charade was played for the pure amusement of seeing the reactions."(3)

"Anyway," Trowa continues, "between that little surprise and then you," here he swivels his attention to Duo, "guessing so close to my fears, well... I think I spent the whole way to my place and back here wondering if I'd wake up any time soon, except that I really don't tend to dream stuff like that. And what came after... uhm. That was..." Trowa trails off again.

"Different? Interesting? Hot? Ow! What was that for?"

"Duo, hush and let the man think, hmm?"

"Eh, well, yes, those. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what I saw and make it jive with what I knew before, and it's not working that well."

"And it may not, Triton. Rape isn't usually even about sex, let alone love, from what I have managed to find out - merely using it as a means to an end. And while power and control may play a part in making love, it really isn't about those elements. They are very different emotionally and psychologically, although it is essentially the same physical act. Perhaps you should consider that..."

"Aah. I will. Look - dinner's on me tonight, okay?"

"If you wish it. It is not necessary, though."

"Yes, it is, but... I'm going to be a mess at the office today. Frag. I have to get going or I'll be late. Thank you, both, for... all of it." Trowa stands, then, and bows somewhat awkwardly to them both, takes his dishes to the sink, and heads to the door where he grabs his bag, slips on his boots, lets himself out with a quiet, "See you guys in a few," and jogs down the hallway towards the overpass.

In the kitchen, Wufei turns to Duo and says, "Come on, we should get moving as well. Being late won't help any. And," he pauses to lean over and nip at Duo's earlobe, "think about Tsuberov waltzing in pink, hmm? You look entirely too much like a cat with feathers in its mouth..."

"Eeeewwww! Oh, thanks for that image, babe, I'm going to be thinking about it all day now."

"Babe?"

"Babe, baby... its an endearment. You don't like it?"

Wufei *hmphs* and then appears thoughtful. "Not sure. Ask me again later... Now - shall we go?"

"After you!" And with that, they are off. The two men walk down the apartment complex corridor towards the main buildings and work, a few minutes early as usual, with Wufei, as usual, chivvying his partner along to a stream of grumbling emerging from Duo about not needing to be in such a hurry and what he could have done with the extra two minutes.

"I am sorry, Duo, but what you have in mind would probably take longer than the two minutes. Now, get going."

"And you would know what I have in mind, how, exactly?"

"Silly. I know because it is what you always have in mind on mornings when you wear that face."

"Hah. I was thinking something different. And I'm not silly, either, as you know very well."

"Oh, is that how it's going to be? Well, if we are on the subject of nicknames, I am neither a Dragon nor a baby. As for the other, if it was so different, perhaps you could tell me? With this lovely crowded hallway coming up?"

"Not that crowded, and, er... probably not."

Wufei snorts, but his expression is fondly amused. "Thought as much. Come on. If we are late, Une will hang you out to dry by those parts and then you certainly will not be getting to do whatever it was you were not thinking about..." They turn the last corner into the main building, and are immediately surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the main HQ building as Agents and other staff arrive for the main shift of the day.

The workday proceeds relatively uneventfully for the three young men. Duo is rather quiet, although the look of a cat that has found its way into a dairy remains pasted to his face for most of the morning. Trowa is even more quiet than usual, which causes his partner, Zechs, some concern. When Zechs mentions the matter in passing to Duo, however, he is somewhat reassured to learn that it is a matter of a recent dose of new information rather than being anything he actively needs to be concerned over.

Zechs spends most of the morning in a pursuit which Trowa finds vaguely amusing - hunting through databases and compiling lists of suitable, semi-suitable, and barely-suitable unattached society maidens of anything approaching the proper age. Once he has these lists compiled and the names sorted, Trowa watches as Zechs lays out names, addresses and contact information in neat tabular blocks, according to some scheme which is not immediately apparent but seems to involve a lot of flipping back and forth. Finally, he prints out a double-sided copy and disappears with the small sheaf of papers in his hand.

When Zechs returns from what has to have been the print shop, he flips the results of his labours onto Trowa's desk, startling him out of his reverie. Trowa picks up the missile - a little black-bound booklet, with three categories of entries, each perfectly placed in alphabetical order - and lets out a low appreciative whistle - both at the thickness, and the workmanship. Then he glances at the cover again. "Little black book, Zechs? Didn't take you for the type," Trowa laughs.

Zechs snorts, "I'm not," before retrieving it and sitting down at his desk to begin working his way through the list of televid numbers. Trowa blinks at him, then returns to his own musings for the rest of the afternoon.

++

(1) And no, I am not going to speculate on Trowa and rape; it's irrelevant to this story. My opinion is that, rape or not, Trowa saw and heard, and probably experienced, far too much violence along with whatever he managed to glean regarding sex. Regardless, the expressed opinion of my source of military knowledge is that growing up in a Merc camp is liable to severely mess one up socially and give one a rather skewed idea of how interpersonal relationships work. That's good enough for me...

(2) All things considered, as far as this version of reality is concerned, that would have been a very close sibling-type relationship.

(3) A reference to 'Orange Sherbet'. Poor Heero had a small problem with a chair...

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