Author: FancyFigures
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, wish I did, just enjoy writing about 'em for free etc
Pairings: 5X2
Category: POV, romance
Warnings: Yaoi, lemon (some)
Spoilers: None
Notes: The world accepts and expects the perfect couple; 1+2. Wufei feels the awkward third. But Wufei isn't the most perceptive when it comes to relationships...
Feedback: If you liked it, PLEASE let me know!


A gift for Dacia, just 'cos it's the start of a new year!

The Perfect Couple

They make the perfect couple, don't they? Everyone says so! Both tall, and young and good looking. I am not aware of everyone's taste, of course, but I believe that it is now more acceptable for two men to be together, not just as friends or colleagues, but as partners as well. And they are a striking couple, indeed, so that when they walk out together, heads turn in admiration and probably envy.

I've just watched them leave for the evening, seeking out some adventure, or some entertainment in town. There was a joke from Quatre, another few dollars lent by Trowa with good grace. We all get along very well. But the two of them spend most of their free time together. That's obviously how it should be.

I watched them with the usual mixture of emotions. Tonight I have reached my decision. Tonight is a turning point for me.

I noted, as always, the strong, controlled physique of Heero Yuy. Always the determined look in his eyes, the set of his shoulders that shows he is physically ready for anything that may come their way. His attitude is often forbidding and cold; he's intolerant of anything but the best. He rarely shows personal emotions; I've heard people say that he's made Repression a genetic characteristic. If he hears the same comments, I've never heard him bother to respond!

And then I watched the leaner, more restless body of Duo Maxwell. Perhaps my eyes lingered that much longer there. His physique reflects his more volatile character, but he is none the less fit and extremely able. His mind is fast, and his reflexes often more so. He swings his hair behind him in a long, awkward braid, but it has rarely been a hindrance to his effectiveness in battle. It is part of his personal statement - his individuality. Now, his expression is a very different matter; it is pleasant and appears open to all. I've heard people talk about him, too - who say he's na´ve and fey. I can't tell you how much I hate that word! For I've seen him when he's crossed, and then the bright, wide eyes will narrow, and those that look into them will have reason to fear his anger.

They've fought beside each other; for that matter, they have fought against each other. It's no wonder they are close companions now. After all they've shared together, it is inevitable that they would find everything they needed in each other.

I know them both far better than many. Along with the two others, we work together; we fight as a team. And then, when that is over, we live a life as normal as we can make it. Just young men together, sharing an apartment, sharing the cooking; laughing and bantering and arguing over TV programmes. I found that difficult to acclimatise to at first - but now I find it a great comfort and companionship.

Soldiers by day; just friends and guys by night.

Yes, I live my life with the perfect couple, and I know them well!

*

I know that Heero is the most single-minded and effective operative that I have ever had the honour to work with. His knowledge of computers and communication systems is unparalleled. He does, indeed, repress his emotions when he is required to concentrate on his mission. But when he is back amongst friends and fellow pilots, he will relax a little more. He will allow for a measure of personal freedom that has often been sadly lacking in his life. He has a sharp, dry sense of humour. I know that he laughs - though only for Duo, I think.

I also know that Duo is a vibrant spark of energy, a man who will not accept anything less than your complete attention when he is with you. But his response to you in return is both generous and genuine. His decision-making is immediate and robust. His ability to see the sense of a mission beyond the detailed plans is impressive. He is loyal to his friends beyond the call of duty; and harsh to enemies, in their defence. He is the only man I know who will dare to tease Heero - and still live.

What else do I know, whilst I am in this introspective mood, drafting out my colleagues' CVs?

I know that they must be lovers.

None of us has time to build relationships with others, outside of the group. I will be honest, and say that it is not just a lack of time, but also a lack of appetite, for having to explain our position, to people who would never understand; and may despise or fear us for it. Our lives and experiences have been so very different from others our age.

And I have had little experience myself of such things!

But in other appetites, we are the same as our peers.

We need leisure activities, and a measure of fun, and relaxation. We need attention; we need physical satisfaction. We can look after this ourselves, of course - but I do understand that there is no substitute for a closer companionship. For intimacy. I have seen men and women together; I have seen couples of the same gender. Whilst some are more attractive to me personally than others, I am not so blinkered that I do not see the common thread of mutual support - of need. Of desire.

And it is obvious to me that Heero and Duo have developed their own companionship, in response to this. They have an ease with each other which none of us share to the same extent. Duo, particularly, will hold Heero to him, and laugh, and take his hand - and other gestures that I associate with a more physical relationship. They often share a room on missions - they will think nothing of sharing clothing, and wandering in and out of the bathroom when the other is washing. All kinds of familiarity like that...

As I said before - they are seen as the perfect couple! Everyone has always paired them off, even when they appeared to be so very different in temperament - even when their working relationship was awkward and confrontational. And now that they are genuinely together, everyone is smugly satisfied.

And they appear very happy. They obviously meet and satisfy each other's desire.

I wonder what it's like - to be lovers? To be his lover?

*

It is a feeling I have discovered in myself, as I have grown to adulthood - physical desire. A feeling I have tried to ignore, or at the least to control. I pride myself on total concentration during missions. But I also pride myself on complete honesty regarding my own behaviour; and also on the purity and depth of my own sensitivity.

What I think I am admitting to, is that I envy Heero and Duo for what they have created for themselves.

I think that I envy Heero most of all. Because he has Duo.

I have not always found it easy to admit to my personal desires. The secret ones; the ones that I can never even confess, because I know that they can never be fulfilled. The ones that keep me awake at night, imagining what it would be like to have Duo hold me to him - to laugh - to take my hand. To dwell on these dreams is just another way to misery. To dwell on him is suicidal madness!

But when he's in the room, I am aware of every movement. When he talks, I find I am listening only to him. I have nearly been caught out by Heero a few times, almost drooling over his partner; so fear follows me round most of the time, fear both of humiliation and of Heero Yuy's fury. As a result, I'm sometimes very sharp with Duo - it's the only way I know to keep suspicion away. I know he must find me a difficult person to relate to - I have noticed him staring at me recently, and then dropping his gaze when I look up. Sometimes he'll be chatting away and then catch sight of my glazed eyes - he immediately stops, and flushes. Often, he'll leave the room entirely.

He's a proud man, like myself. I must really offend him, if I have that effect.

But it hasn't been easy to avoid him! He always seems to be around me. I do wonder, what's the matter with him? He has a fine and handsome partner, and plenty to occupy the pair of them - but he seems to be hanging around the apartment far too often. When I want to relax and read, he starts looking for an old book that he hasn't touched for weeks. When I go to fix a snack for myself, he's at my heels, picking at cheeses and pickles that I know he usually dislikes.

And Gods, there is nowhere sacred! When I came out of the shower one night, only a couple of weeks ago, we almost collided - I didn't understand why he had to be standing right outside the door, when I had already said I would be only a few minutes more. I was far more embarrassed than he seemed to be! I grasped my towel to me like a talisman, and wished I had used a larger size - I knew that it barely covered my hips.

I had to scuttle down the corridor to my room like a crab. An embarrassed crab. A crab with a painful arousal that he had to hide or be even further humiliated.

I don't know why Duo had to stay there, watching this undignified scuttle. Watching me!

Yes, it has been a bad time for me. The aching lust is a familiar friend, most every night. Duo Maxwell is not for me. How could I have ever thought he might be?

He's part of the perfect couple, isn't he?

*

Last week, we were all looking forward to some rest and time off, after a difficult and exhausting mission, and someone suggested the movies. I am no fan of the all-action movie, but Duo is. He nagged at me to go with them, although I couldn't see why he would want me there. But I do enjoy the nights that we all go out together - I was willing enough to accompany the group. It seemed like a pleasant way to unwind; to act as normal young men, in civilian life.

But then, when we reached the movie house, Trowa and Quatre split away and got tickets for another film altogether, which was totally unexpected. Well, it was to me. I obviously did not wish to be in an awkward threesome with Duo and Heero, so I was about to follow the others, when Heero stepped in and told me that he had a free ticket, and it would be a shame to waste it. It was a strange thing for him to be concerned about, but he was very insistent. So I went in with them.

It was very full - it was obviously a popular movie with many. I slid into a vacant seat, and Duo followed me, spraying me with his popcorn, and bumping up awkwardly against me. When we sat, I looked along the row for Heero, and realised that he'd found another seat, some rows away.

"Heero's up there," I hissed to Duo.

He looked at me, and shrugged. His eyes were very bright in the semi darkness. 'We'll see him later, then,' he hissed back.

"But you want to sit with him," I persisted.

"'S OK with me to stay here," he replied.

There was a 'shush' from the person in front, so we had to be quiet. I settled quite comfortably for a while, but there didn't seem to be enough room for Duo's long legs in the seat next to me; he kept rubbing his thigh up against mine. Once I heard him sigh; obviously from annoyance. I would have moved away, but I'll be honest - I was terrified of having to clamber over him to the aisle.

I was becoming less comfortable by the minute. I had never realised what an erotic delight it could be, to sit close to a man you desired! I was aware of every movement in his body beside me - every cough, and wriggle, and clench of his leg muscles. Every little shiver of laughter or excitement was communicated through his limbs, and shuddered its way down my own. I was deliciously shocked to feel his breath on my neck when he turned to offer me some popcorn. He smelt of butter, and other sweet things that I usually avoid. Because they're bad for me, of course. He slurped his cola greedily, and I found myself irresistibly drawn to the small 'o' in his lips, where the straw vanished into his mouth. When it popped out, with a soft, wet plop, I had to bite back a groan.

Sheer delight! And sheer agony, as well. Because, of course, I must never admit to my weakness, for fear of offending all of my friends.

I don't think I could have told anyone much about the movie. I sat, and I ached, and I alternately cursed and thanked the God of overcrowded movie houses.

*

Just before the house lights came up, Duo leant over me to grab his jacket. Somehow, it had got pushed under my seat. The movie was ending; people were shifting to leave; there were murmured voices, and the crunching of sweet wrappers underfoot. And Duo's head was bobbing around in my lap as his hands played around my ankles.

I sat as if I were made of stone. Very flushed stone. When the lights came up, I was very glad to be half-lifted out of my seat by the crush of people in our row, and swept on down to the foyer. Duo was a way in front of me - I glimpsed Heero behind me.

I was temporarily speechless, and with a very uncomfortable, very large bulge in my groin area. I was eternally grateful that Duo hadn't seen it when he went fishing for his jacket. We met the other two outside, and we chatted happily enough about the movies, while I struggled to pull myself together. Heero and I talked about the casting and the direction; Duo talked about the explosions. Heero didn't seem disturbed that Duo hadn't sat next to him. In fact, he and Duo moved a little to the side, and began murmuring something or other into each other's ear.

Heero glanced over to me, briefly. So did Duo, and I was so flustered that I imagined his eyes slid down from my face to my crotch, and back up again. His face was slightly flushed as well. It was, of course, very well heated in the movie house. We stared at each other for a moment - I couldn't seem to tear my eyes away.

"We must go now," said Heero, but quite gently. As if he didn't like to disturb us. "Duo and I have another call to make."

Duo grimaced slightly at Heero, and I thought I ought to apologise for monopolising his time; for keeping him from Heero. But when he turned back to me, his face was creased into a wide grin.

"Thanks for the date, Wufei! See you later, eh?"

I didn't know what to say! I was terribly embarrassed at his silly joke - and in front of Heero, too! But when I turned wary eyes on the other dark-haired man, he just shrugged at me. And then he took Duo's arm, they waved goodbyes, and they left.

I followed Trowa and Quatre home. I was rather confused, and still painfully aroused. It was another unsettled night for me.

*

At the weekend, I went swimming. I have been training regularly for some months now. I am a good swimmer, but there is always room for improvement, isn't there? Sometimes Heero joins me; he is a very strong swimmer, and we can race amicably, and challenge each other. He had suggested this visit, actually. He thought we could put in an hour or so before the weekend's work. I was looking forward to it - the pool is usually empty at that time of the morning, and we can relax and concentrate on bringing out the best in each other.

He was already in the pool when I arrived, which was not unusual. Deep underwater, kicking with a powerful, wide stroke, towards the deep end. I stood on the poolside for a moment, towel in my hand. No-one else around. There was something wrong.

It wasn't Heero.

The swimmer broke the water, streams pouring back over his head, and down over his broad shoulders. He caught at the side, and lifted himself easily and gracefully out of the pool and on to the side. A long, wet braid clung to his nude back.

And he turned and waved at me!

"Wufei!" called Duo. "I beat you in, eh? Wanna try some lengths?"

I stood as if I were petrified. Quite ridiculous, of course. It was just my friend and colleague, Duo Maxwell. But he stood there in front of me, dressed in nothing but a pair of bright red, hip-hugging trunks, and a broad grin. His skin was shining with drops of water; lightly tanned from the summer. There was an even brighter sparkle in his eyes than usual - though I believe that the fluorescent lights in the pool area reflect that way. His arm was flung up, gesturing at me. I could see the slim, tight muscles flexing with the movement. I was extremely glad that I clutched my towel to the front of my body. My own trunks were a modest, dark colour and covered a far larger part of my body; but at that moment, their coverage would not have been up to close scrutiny.

"Duo..." I gargled. "Will - Heero be joining you?"

Duo shrugged. Droplets sprinkled off his shoulders, at the movement. He bent his arms back behind his back, to loosen up the wet hair. His chest stretched up; his stomach flattened out. I didn't appear to be able to breathe properly. "Nah. Guess he had other things to do this morning. He owed me some chores." He did not seem at all bothered.

"Does he - know you are here?"

"Sure," smiled Duo. He was walking round to meet me - a slow, loping gait that drew my eyes like a magnet. He paused, a few feet away. There was a brief, puzzled look in his eyes. "You don't mind me being here instead, d'you, Wufei?"

"No..." I had regained some control of my voice. I prayed that he would not come any closer. I prayed that he would. I prayed for some guidance on how to handle the feeling that was consuming me.

"So - let's get going!" he laughed. He spun round on his toes, tipped a hand against his forehead in a mock salute, and dived smoothly back in.

Duo is also an excellent swimmer. Not in the strong, determined way that Heero is. But he moves like a dolphin in the water, and every stroke he makes shows how much he enjoys the exercise. I wanted to join in with that enjoyment. I dropped the towel, drew a breath, and dived in after him.

*

It was one of the most pleasant hours I have ever spent. Duo provided a very creditable challenge to me, and my muscles were protesting by the time we called it a day. He pushed me to practise strokes that I usually ignored; he insisted that I tried his super-fast turn, which actually added a second or two to my times. But he also brought a sense of fun to the whole exercise that I never had with Heero. He played a ridiculous game of chase that had me moving from one side of the pool to the other, always missing him by inches, as he turned and twisted his lithe, supple body through the water. I crowed with triumph when a couple of times I managed to grasp at his slippery, smooth skin. I laughed out loud when he misjudged a turn, and sank spluttering under the water. Finally, we called it a draw, and went to dry off and change.

"I enjoyed that," he smiled, pulling his tee shirt over his head.

I was trying hard not to watch him dressing. I didn't know why I was suddenly having so much trouble with him around me. I thought I had things well under control. There was something about his mood recently that seriously unsettled me.

"You - was it OK for you, too, Wufei?" His voice sounded very hesitant. Very unlike Duo. "I know I crashed your training session..."

"No," I rushed to answer. "It was fine by me..." The words were a bit muffled. I was struggling with my hair, which I rarely wear down. It was still wet, and long strands kept catching around my mouth.

"Wait up -," he murmured, and reached out a hand to help. I felt his fingers on my cheek, as he brushed a lock back over my ears. His hand hovered there, somewhere between my mouth and my ear. His voice was almost wistful when he spoke again. "It's great hair, Wufei. Guys go on about mine, but yours...I love the colour. Like a panther's fine pelt. And it's gorgeous to touch..."

I jumped away from him like a startled rabbit. A rabbit that really wanted to be devoured by this particular snake - but who knew that the option was not available.

He looked surprised. And something else that I couldn't read. Embarrassment, probably, that I might have misunderstood his touch as something - as something -

As something what? I thought. The perfect couple do not need anyone else, do they? If they show any fondness, it is because they are caring people, confident enough in their own affection that they can show it easily to others.

It's not to be taken as anything special.

"Let's go for a coffee before we go back." He seemed keen to break the tension. "Like we're on a date, eh?"

That word again! I really did think that Duo's teasing was just a little inappropriate. And his hand was still raised; his fingertips were still brushing the ends of my fickle hair, which shifted gently in the breeze of his breath. I could feel the warmth of his palm just inches from my neck, and I knew that I wanted him to press his hand to my skin, and pull me towards him, and clasp me within his arms and legs like I was all his...

I have rarely kissed anyone, I must admit. I have never kissed anyone in uncontrollable passion. But I was in serious danger of doing that right now - to Duo.

One half of the perfect couple. Gods!

I realised that he was speaking - while I was feeling nauseous.

"Look, Wufei, this might sound a bit odd, and I don't know if I know you well enough to ask this, but I just wanted to know..."

His head was down, so that I couldn't see his eyes. But I was very thankful for that, for I knew that neither would he have seen my confusion, or my treacherous lust. All he would have seen were my feet, backing suddenly away, and he would have heard my voice, stumbling through apologies for rushing off, but there was work to do, and I had other exercises to complete as part of my programme...

He was staring after me, as I walked - too quickly - out of the sports centre.

He thought I was mad, I am sure.

*

Yesterday, Heero asked to meet me at the gallery, to discuss my plans for next week's assignment. I had scheduled a surveillance mission that I believed just one of us could cover. I was happy enough to volunteer - I thought that I needed something more to concentrate my mind at the moment. I am too easily distracted by one of my colleagues...

The gallery was an excellent place to choose to meet - I always enjoy the Impressionist paintings, and some of the sculpture is very striking. I thought I might spend some more time there, even when our discussions were done.

I don't think I was surprised when Duo turned up as well. They were inseparable, it seemed! And yet, there had been so many strange occurrences these last few weeks, that nothing seemed as obvious as that anymore.

We wandered around for a while, and Heero seemed a little reluctant to start our discussions, despite seeing the file of papers that I had brought with me. We walked through most of the upper rooms, where I admit that my favourite artists are hung. I was afraid that I wasted too much time at some of the paintings; but neither of them insisted that I move along more swiftly. Heero was even more distant than usual; and Duo stood at my heels for much of the time. He kept bumping into me; brushing up against me. He was unusually clumsy that day!

The gentle, but distracting touches were causing me some problems again, but I was determined to control myself in public. So I turned to him, a little shyly, and offered to explain some of my favourite pictures. He was a willing pupil, which both surprised and secretly pleased me. And in return, he seemed surprised to find that he liked many of those that I specifically pointed out to him - and some of his comments were in shrewd appraisal of them. I enjoyed the chance to talk about art with someone. With him.

I heard a cough behind me, and remembered Heero was there with us. We both turned to look at him. He was pressing a hand to his mouth, trying to quieten the cough, but the look between him and Duo was more of a glare. I realised that I must have caused some friction between them.

But it was luckily not too late to recover. I dropped back a little, so that they could walk together. For a moment, I watched them, there in front of me. The match made in the heavens, as some say. Heero and Duo...their arms swinging closely together, their hips nudging occasionally, and without complaint from either of them. I didn't seem able to draw my eyes away from Duo's ass - he was clad in tight jeans, and the crinkles of fabric under his cheeks and behind his knees had suddenly become quite fascinating to me. It was a very different work of art than those on the walls, but just as attractive to me. I could see the irony in that. And the frustration.

*

"I think we must go over the plans, Heero," I said briskly. I was finding it difficult to concentrate, with Duo's braid swinging hypnotically in front of me, teasing at the base of his spine; with Duo's hand rubbing softly at his hip, brushing off some speck of dust; with Duo humming very softly as he gazed at pictures around him.

"I..." Heero seemed uncharacteristically hesitant. He flashed a glance at Duo, and I assumed that he was irritated by my constant presence. I thought that I might have been more than a little irritated, if I had come out with Duo, and then always had to share his company with another... "I seem to have forgotten my copy of your papers, Wufei."

"You may share this copy - I know it well enough to speak from memory -"

"No!" snapped Heero, his voice slightly gruff. Some of the people in the gallery around us tutted at the sharp sound, and he dropped his voice. "No - I mean - I'll go and get them." He was already backing away. I was astonished! What did he mean? There was no need to rush off now - we could talk around my copy, or we could all go back and study them together at the apartment -!

But he was already gone; a rush of repressed energy, and the turn of a muscled torso, and he was almost out of our sight, and heading for the staircase. And I was standing open-mouthed. Duo was still beside me. His arm slid its way into mine, and I was too bemused to push him away.

"Come on then, Wufei!" he smiled. "Let's do the next floor, eh?"

"Aren't you going with Heero?" I asked.

"Nah," he replied, cheerfully. "He's old enough and ugly enough to make his way home on his own, eh? We can take our time..."

I know that he is an affectionate person - that he is tactile with his friends, and is always hugging, and slapping shoulders, and even tickling, though of course he had never tried it on me. But his arm was warm and really very pleasant, tucked into my side. I decided to let it be; to make a fuss at what was normal behaviour for him, would be childish. His height was similar to mine, which meant that his shoulders were next to mine; when he turned to make comments on an exhibit, his mouth was only inches away from me. I know that we had to be quiet there, so as not to annoy other visitors - but was it strictly necessary for him to whisper into my ear? For his lips to brush against my skin like that?

I was in a growing agony of delight and misery. It was wearing me down, I had to admit.

*

[cont]