by Bronze Tigress

...In a Swimming Pool

It was looking to be a splendid party.

The sun bore down overhead, causing little heat shimmers to dance across the water. The sky was that pure crystalline blue that seems to go up forever into the light, and there wasn't a cloud in sight. And here in the swimming pool, the water was exactly the right temperature to be perfectly comfortable - a perfect 25 degrees, and circulating properly so that there were no cold spots. Zechs had checked. Twice. He'd swum from one end clear to the other several times, zigzagging as he went. He'd earned a fair share of covert looks, the tails of several of which he managed to catch, in the process. And then he had proceeded to redo the entire route underwater. The water was absolutely, completely, utterly perfect.

The afternoon had gone swimmingly - quite literally. Everyone had taken a turn or two in the water. Even Duo, who couldn't swim a stroke, had gotten an introduction to the pool - and a lesson courtesy Wufei, who had managed to look exceedingly scholarly while soaking wet. Most of the swimmers had left the water already, and the smell of food cooking was starting to waft past the guests' noses, along with the heady scent of burning fruitwood chips and charcoal. Dinner would be called at any moment, in fact, to judge by the sounds of hustle and bustle from the lawn next to the high-walled pool enclosure.

The scenery wasn't bad at all, either.

Heero was drying off - well, trying to - over on the shallow end deck, with Quatre and Relena both trying to help. Since they were both busily splashing him with more water, Zechs wasn't quite sure what exactly they were trying to help him with, but Heero's two fair-haired assistants were laughing merrily, and even Zech's one-time nemesis seemed to be suppressing a smile, so it seemed to be working out well enough.

Over on the side deck, near where Zechs lounged half on the wall and half on the buoy line marking the beginning of the deep end, seemed to be the ladies' playground. Perhaps it was just the best place to arrange a chaise to catch the best rays. In any event, a veritable bevy of beauties were stretched out down that side of the pool. Hilde and Dorothy were down by the shallow end deck, Lu next to them, then Sally right by the rope, and Une was on the deep end side. The conversation seemed to drift lazily up and down the line of young women, never settling on anything in particular, except for the regularly-spaced commands to "Flip!" which Une voiced every so often. That was always worth turning around to watch.

Farther around, by the deep end, Duo and Wufei were apparently deep in conversation. That in itself was interesting, since they really hadn't seemed too friendly before. Either that or they'd been avoiding each other, Zechs mused. At any rate, they had drawn their chaises up even closer together once they'd gotten back out of the water. Considering that those chairs had been less than a foot apart when Zechs had first seen them, the fact that they weren't quite touching all the way from one end to the other seemed entirely accidental. The fact that the two young men occupying those two chairs weren't quite touching seemed more a response to the fact that there were plenty of curious eyes around, and after the rather friendly way in which Wufei had been holding Duo during the latter's brief swimming lesson it almost seemed a matter of too little too late to the tall blond. All deniability was gone, as far as the former Lieutenant was concerned - or at least highly implausible. Oh, and the small pile of pink and purple clothing the two had shed before the aforementioned swimming lesson wouldn't have helped the impression at all, except that Zechs himself had been presented with some previously-red T-shirts as part of the last set of laundry that had been done, and he had a distinct feeling that the colours in question were part of the same washing disaster, rather than any variety of consciously-chosen indicator.

And then, over on the far side of the pool, there was the most interesting bit of scenery by far. Standing on the bottom just to the deep side of the buoy rope, his arms spread out along the curved splash rim and his head tipped back so that it was entirely possible that he wasn't, in fact, watching the apparently newly-coupled pair's conversation with a wistful expression, was Trowa. Or whatever his name was, Zechs supposed. Names were such a bother; they defined you, and yet at the same time they locked you into a box. Zechs knew, from speaking briefly to him on the subject, that Trowa felt rather keenly the fact that he didn't know what his name had originally been. "All I am is a nameless orphan wearing a dead man's name like a mask. It's not me, but I don't know who 'me' is, and I'd rather have a mask than no face at all," he had said. That sentiment, Zechs could sympathize with. How Trowa could possibly consider his own face "nothing", however, was quite beyond him.

Yes, that was definitely a wistful expression on those features, Zechs decided, as he continued his covert examination. Trowa wasn't the only one whose long bangs provided a simple method of concealing the direction of his gaze. Suddenly, Zechs thought he understood that look. Fine. All that could happen would be a snub, or at the worst, dying of embarrassment. Somehow he didn't think that would happen, though. And what could a little conversation hurt?

With all the ease of a lifetime's worth of summers spent by the seaside, Zechs slipped underwater, braced his feet on the side, and pushed off, skimming lightly along the rope and then angling to pass in front of Trowa before surfacing smoothly a foot further down the wall. He smirked internally as he did so. There were definitely advantages to keeping one's eyes open under the water. And he had been right.

"Too late now, huh?"

"Yeah," Trowa replied, the honest response slipping out only because he was in the company of well-known allies and quite thoroughly distracted by the view. Even so, it was only because Zechs was watching and listening carefully, fascinated by the way Trowa's throat and lips moved with the word, that he caught the quiet affirmation.

"Which one?"

"Huh?" The conversation abruptly registered, cancelling out the distraction factor, and Trowa turned to look at his questioner, tinges of shock, fear of discovery, and confusion colouring his expression.

"I asked which one you didn't speak up in time to snare," Zechs clarified, tipping his head slightly towards the two objects of Trowa's erstwhile scrutiny.

"Oh, well, I," Trowa stuttered, a confused and slightly wild look in his eyes. Zechs smiled warmly, though, and then turned to study the pair himself. Trowa breathed a small sigh, and then, realizing that he was caught, and that Zechs seemed more curious than judgemental, came to a decision and took a quick breath before replying, "Either, I guess."

"Ah," Zechs nodded. "And now?"

Trowa shrugged one shoulder slightly. "Now I hope they make each other happy." He didn't sound so very happy for himself, however.

"And who makes you happy?"

"I don't know. Everyone else has someone."

"Not quite true."

"No?" Trowa looked curious, but mostly skeptical at Zechs' statement. "They've paired up now," Trowa began, nodding briefly towards the pair in the chaises. "Those three down there are too busy playing around to be able to get anything else done right - witness those shorts Wufei's wearing," he continued, this time indicating the trio at the shallow end before continuing, "the girls are all paired up, and Lu's all over you. Nobody left."

"Ah, but Lu is not, as you say, 'all over me,'" Zechs remarked, hooking his elbows over the side and letting his feet float up, so that his head came down level with Trowa's. "She's just over me, last time I checked, and she's moved along. Not that I ever really returned the sentiment to begin with."

Trowa's head tipped down as Zechs spoke, and he looked over at the other man sharply. "Are you serious?"

"Yes." Green eyes widened slightly as they were captured by icy blue ones.

From the large lawn where the picnic tables had been set up, a gong sounded. The sound was followed by a sudden flurry of motion from the row of lounge chairs, and a sharp squeal of laughter from the direction of the trio at the shallow end was followed by not-quite-running footsteps. Duo appeared to be chivvying Wufei into motion - which made a nice change from seeing Wufei chivvying Duo as he had been for most of the afternoon, in Zechs' opinion - and with a small sigh, Zechs turned to the wall to hoist himself out of the water.

It wasn't until Zechs had turned again to sit on the side that he realized his companion had made no similar move. Instead, Trowa remained where he was, watching the older man intently, a speculative and perhaps appraising look on his face.

"Is something wrong?"

"Well, in a manner of speaking," Trowa answered Zechs' softly-voiced question. "I'd... rather not get out of the water just yet."

Zechs blinked, uncomprehending, until he noticed the faint tinge of colour highlighting one fair cheek. Oh. Oh! "Oh, sorry. Um. Someone should stay with you, then, if you're going to swim some more. I can, if you like?" Zechs' voice rose in volume throughout the short speech, until it reached regular conversational levels.

"Sure, that'd be great, thanks," Trowa replied, easily catching the ruse and the slightly raised voice as the other guests began to file past them, heading for the gate and the lawn beyond it. He smiled gratefully up at Zechs, and then looked back down at the water again. In truth, if he had to do any more swimming, he'd probably need the assistance Zechs had purportedly just offered. It really wasn't his strongest skill. However, the words had the desired effect, and no-one stopped at the gate to question whether they were coming for dinner. Duo waved brightly at them as he went, and Wufei offered a small bow, the effect of which was completely ruined when Duo grabbed his wrist and pulled him unceremoniously from the pool enclosure. Duo didn't release the scholar until both had passed through the gate, merely laughing brightly at the resulting complaints. With their departure, Trowa and Zechs were alone.

There was a moment of awkward silence, as the awareness that they were, in fact, now alone - and wet, and clad only in minimal, quite revealing clothing, and that at least one of them was very, very hard - sank in.

Finally, Zechs cleared his throat, and asked, "So. Do you want some help with your problem there, or were you thinking of waiting for it to go away by itself? Because I've been swimming most of the afternoon and I'm not sure I'm up to waiting around too much longer before eating something."

The words, really, should have sounded like something other than the almost-purr they came out in. Trowa licked his lips and swallowed nervously before turning to look over at Zechs. Green eyes dragged slowly all the way up Zechs' body, and Zechs watched as Trowa licked his lips and swallowed again before speaking. "That depends," Trowa began, and then a small challenge crept into his voice. "How hungry are you?"

One blond eyebrow arched, and a small smile touched pale lips. For answer, Zechs shifted forwards enough to drop himself back into the water, moving to stand in front of the smaller man. His hands came forward to settle low on Trowa's hips, already almost lifting, as he asked, "May I...?" Trowa nodded, catching his tongue between his teeth and letting his eyes drift half-shut. He could easily have lifted himself out of the water, and had already positioned his arms to do so, but Zechs beat him to it, hoisting him lightly to sit on the very edge. Trowa's feet braced against the wall of the pool and his hands spread supportively behind him on the pool deck as he watched the blond head approach, tacit permission in his eyes. Zechs' large hands squeezed lightly, then skimmed around over the smooth fabric of Trowa's swimsuit, over narrow hip bones, towards the hard flesh straining the tight nylon.

Zechs couldn't resist. The lightly-tanned skin before his face glistened with a thin sheen of water, drawing his attention away from the half-dilated green eyes. He placed a light kiss at the small dent that marked the meeting place of one set of Trowa's abdominal muscles, let his tongue trace a path down the groove that led to the next one. Another small kiss, and then he backed away enough to look up, getting a good view of the underside of Trowa's chin and chest where the brunet had let his head drop back and was now taking rapid, shallow breaths.

Zechs' hands weren't idle in the meantime. He used his thumbs to trace twin trails up the length of Trowa's erection, stopping to rest just beneath the ridge of the head, and rubbing tiny circles there. Trowa nearly whimpered at the sensation. He did whimper when Zechs repeated the movement, and looked back down to whisper, "Please."

It wasn't quite begging, but it would do, Zechs decided, as he hooked his finger tips into the top of Trowa's swimsuit and popped the fabric clear. The head of Trowa's erection sprang free, and he shifted slightly to help Zechs move the nylon down further, until the full length was revealed. It didn't stay that way long. Zechs leaned forwards again, taking one shudder-producing lick across the top of the head. Blond hair fell in a wet curtain across Trowa's hips as Zechs moved to take the next lick, and then the next.

Zechs' world narrowed to the saliva-slicked cock that pressed insistently deeper into his mouth with each little thrust of Trowa's slim hips, the satin smoothness of it in his hands, the wet slide of it against his tongue and palate, the breathless mewling whimpers of pleasure the younger man fought to suppress. One hand, now displaced by lips and tongue, slipped further into the slightly-stretchy nylon of the displaced swimsuit, and long fingers slipped past tightening balls to cup them in a broad palm, while the fingertips reached further to stroke the soft, sensitive areas beyond.

With a quickly-strangled cry, Trowa succumbed to the insistent hands and mouth, shuddering and thrusting the last few times. Zechs smiled internally; success was sweet, although the taste was more sticky than anything. A quick swallow, and then a teasing bob of his head elicited a surprised little whimper. A tanned hand, surprisingly strong, laced fingers into Zechs' hair to prevent any repeats of that, and Zechs obligingly stilled, and then at the subtle urging pulled slowly, gently away.

Trowa's chest was still heaving as he fought to regain his breath, and when Zechs stood up straight and moved in, laying his ear against that chest, he could clearly hear the brunet's heart hammering a rapid, if gradually slowing, tattoo against his ribs. Zechs wasn't expecting the arm that came around his back, to join the one still cupping his head to the surprisingly well-muscled chest. He certainly wasn't expecting the pleased hum or the soft kiss that Trowa dropped on the crown of his head, or the way those slender, strong arms hugged him fiercely before relaxing again. But not letting go, Zechs noted. Slowly, a little hesitantly, he moved his own hands, slipping them out of their places and carefully replacing the swimsuit in the proper position, and then let his arms move to wrap around Trowa's waist.

The pair stayed that way for a moment longer, while Trowa's heart rate slowed towards normal. Finally, with a small chuckle, Trowa kissed the top of Zechs' head again. "Thank you. But can I ask why?"

Zechs twisted a little to look up, and shrugged one shoulder. "You've been watching them, I've been watching you. It's why Lu left me, you know - didn't want to try to compete with another man again. And it seemed like a good time?"

Green eyes sparkled mischievously. "So, how come you never said anything before?"

"Figured I'd see what you did, first. Didn't realize why you'd discounted me, before, either. Maybe I should've introduced you all to Lu's new boyfriend?" Zechs let a small tone of teasing slip into his voice as he suggested that last. In truth, Trowa was already acquainted with the man in question, but was obviously unaware of the new relationship he shared with Lu.

"Ah. Well, then, I'm glad you decided to come over." Green eyes danced happily, and Trowa smiled. Zechs' knees buckled, but fortunately the water and the light embrace combined to keep him upright. A thought flickered across Trowa's face, and he looked down, started to speak again. "I'm sorry, I should've thought sooner, but, ah..."

Zechs cut him off. "No, I'm hungry. We can discuss repayment after dinner, okay?" There was hope and a hint of pleading in the low voice, and promises of many things.

Trowa smiled softly, and replied in tones that could only be described as sultry, "A nice long private discussion, maybe with a walk down to the beach?"

Zechs smiled as well. "That sounds just about right. But first, food!" He wormed free, and slipped over to the side where he, once again, pulled himself out of the water. Beside him, Trowa was also clambering to his feet, adjusting his suit properly, and trying very hard to arrange his features into an expression that didn't announce to the world that he'd just been blown. "Come on, slowpoke, let's go before it gets cold!"

The pair grabbed their towels as they hurried out of the pool and headed around towards the far side where the picnic meal was already in progress. There was some mild ribbing to be endured regarding Trowa's new-found water-baby tendencies. Zechs countered with a sharp remark about Duo's new wardrobe, and the entire incident nearly dissolved into a full-blown food fight except that Duo abruptly thought better of tossing his (excellent, he proclaimed) burger away for such a petty matter. After all, he remarked, earning himself an amused snort from Wufei, he was gorgeous no matter what he wore. And when Lt. Nichol arrived several hours later to pick Lu up for the evening, neither Trowa nor Zechs were surprised at all, although everyone else seemed to be.

Yes, Zechs mused much later that night as he lay back exhausted from the "discussion" they'd just had, and stroked gentle fingers absently through Trowa's fine, soft hair, it had been a perfectly splendid party.


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