The Perfect Couple (cont)

*

And we did take our time, indeed. Duo seemed to have no commitment to a brisk pace; no sense of urgency to rejoin Heero and discuss the mission. We ambled along the corridors until I was almost lulled into thinking we had nothing better to do except walk, and talk aimlessly about art, and the peace here, and to link our arms in that warm, friendly, intimate way that he has...

I barely heard his voice, because my mind had allowed itself to weaken, and it was enjoying the sensation of Duo's fingers on my elbow, and his body pressed close beside me. I should have known better than to have let my defences down, of course.

"This is like a date, isn't it, Wufei?" he murmured.

I think I gasped, or something to express my shock. He was still persisting with that teasing idea - still using that astonishing word. And I still didn't understand what mischief he meant! I just thanked the Gods that Heero had already left.

All I knew then was that he brushed his head up against my neck, and his lips touched the edge of my cheek.

It was a kiss. It felt like a kiss. I wanted it to be a kiss, I suppose.

I knew it couldn't be. But I would have sworn that it was deliberate.

I was ashamed that I flushed so deeply. I didn't want to move; to break the contact. I wanted more of it. Much more. And I knew I couldn't have it. I didn't dare hit him, out in the open like this. But I was angry that he was fooling around, when his partner was elsewhere. Fooling around with both of us. I pulled away from him, and he was the one to be startled now.

"This is a nonsense, Maxwell! I - I will make my own way back, and you may follow, or spend whatever time you like in dawdling back at your own pace. I - cannot waste my time in this way..." Words failed me. I strode ahead of him, following in Heero's hurried footsteps, down the staircase and out of the gallery. I struck up a speed that I was sure Duo would not follow.

I was right. I risked just one glance back over my shoulder as I reached the lobby; he didn't seem to be trying to follow at all, just standing there, watching me go. His hand was raised a little, as if he had been going to call to me. He looked a forlorn figure, but that was just my imagination.

*

When I got back to the apartment, I paused at the door before entering. I touched at my cheek. Duo's breath was still with me. I rubbed hard at it, angry with us both.

I wondered if he touched Heero's cheek like that. I didn't feel particularly pleased with myself.

I did not look for Heero - though he didn't seem to be anywhere around when I got back. The apartment was often empty during the day. I left a brief note for anyone who may come back, to say that I would be out for the rest of the day. And that's where I went. Out. I wandered around the town, and settled in the park, on a bench. To think.

I cannot say that it eased my turmoil.

I just did not understand the complexities of relationships. There was obviously some critical parameter that I was not aware of. Some new kind of relationship that meant you could sit up tight to another person in the movies; that you could stroke - sensuously - the hair of another person; that you could kiss another person's cheek, and hold their arm possessively, and yet your partner would not mind.

I think that I minded. Regardless of whatever Duo and Heero may have arranged between themselves.

I did not understand what kind of relationship they had. Heero seemed careless of him, even when they were perceived as inseparable. I would have expected Heero Yuy to keep a better hold of his man. I would have, if I were in his place.

It must be something to do with love. They say that's the great unscientific ingredient!

Perhaps one day I would learn enough about it.

Perhaps I didn't want to, if it were that painful.

*

I had to return at some time, of course - I had no intention of sleeping out in the park! And there were signs that others had arrived back. Boots, changed in the hallway; a coat slung over a chair. It was Heero's coat.

For one wild moment, I thought that I would seek his advice. I even walked down along the corridor, towards his room. You see, he has a calm appreciation of a problem that I greatly admire. He can weigh up several options, and he then has the decisiveness to choose one. If anyone could help me see the sense within this nonsensical situation, he could! But how could I discuss such a thing with him - when it so intimately involved his own lover? How would I be able to retain him as a friend if I did?

I heard the noises first - the whispers; the soft chuckles. I registered that it didn't sound like Heero. Seconds after my hand touched the door handle, I realised that there were two voices. As the door cracked open, I connected the other voice to Duo.

It was far too late to draw back.

They were together, in Heero's room. I mean, of course they were - they often were! But this seemed different. As the door swung wide open, I saw them sitting together on the bed, poring over something between them, spread out on the cover.

Like I say - they made the perfect couple. Heero's hand rested lightly on Duo's hip, anchoring himself on the bed. Duo was leant slightly into Heero's neck, as if he were whispering something into his ear. As if he were kissing him.

Despite my misery, the sight sent a thrill down my body. I imagined Duo's lips on my neck, just like Heero's; I imagined my hands on Duo's hips. On his body; on his naked body...

I confessed everything to myself, then. I knew that was what I wanted. Without any doubt! I was in love with Duo Maxwell, and I wanted to be near him, and to hold him, and the feelings were not going to go away! Or get any better. Or give me any sort of peace or release - ever.

The two of them realised I was there, and turned slowly to stare at me. Duo's eyes were very wide. Heero looked furious - I had obviously disturbed his privacy once too often. I felt a fool because of my weakness. I was not used to admitting defeat of any kind! But this was a situation I had never faced before. A rather more personal one!

So I turned and left with what dignity I could muster.

Behind me, I thought I could hear voices being raised. I didn't listen - I went to my room for the rest of the evening.

There was another bad night in store for me. But this time, I spent the long hours planning my escape from all this.

I would move out! I enjoyed sharing the apartment, but I believed that the increasing discomfort needed more drastic action on my part. It was tormenting me. Duo and Heero were always together; they seemed always to be smiling; to have a private understanding. They were my friends, and yet they were agony to live with.

Yes - that is what I would do!

*

I stood in my room on this quiet evening, and began to pack up my belongings. I had waited until now so that all the others would be occupied. Heero and Duo were now out; Trowa was cooking; Quatre had buried himself in his headphones and his music collection. I had no desire to answer a lot of questions. I would leave quietly, and stay at a motel until I had found a suitable room somewhere.

And then the knock came at my door, and I found Heero Yuy outside my room.

"You went out," I said, a little stupidly. I glanced up and down the empty corridor. There was no noise from either the lounge or the kitchen. "With Duo. Why are you here now?"

"I must talk to you, Wufei Chang." He was almost growling. He looked uncomfortable; but that may have been anger, of course. One is never sure with him. Was my secret out? Had he finally noticed my sorry, hopeless passion for his partner? Lost patience with me; with whom I believe they call the 'gooseberry' in a relationship? He marched in as if I had invited him - but I was not going to protest. At least he shut the door behind him.

He paced the floor in front of my chair. He ran his hand through his hair. He didn't appear to be a man who was wracked with jealousy; who was preparing to dismember me for inappropriate behaviour. However, I do believe that discretion is the better part of valour; I kept my silence until he should explain himself.

"Duo is a wreck, and I cannot bear his moaning any longer!" he snapped. "I've told him that I've done all I can - that if he's dissatisfied with that, he should pull himself together and see to things himself!"

He glared at me, as if I should understand what he was talking about.

"I can't believe how I got talked into broking this whole thing to start with! The man is a virtual coward when it comes to dating matters! I'm expected to arrange everything for his benefit - and then, if there is the slightest hitch to the plans, I'm expected to take the blame! That's hardly fair, is it?"

"No," I agreed, my voice weak. And totally bemused.

"He begs for my help, because he seems paralysed by a fear of rejection; then he's unable to follow through the project. There are only so many times I can put the opportunities in his path - if he won't be honest, and make his feelings known, what more can I do?"

"I don't know...that's true..." I murmured. Had they had an argument? Had there been some kind of crisis? I had never seen Heero this way before. He was a strange mixture of anger and nervousness. And uncharacteristically voluble!

"You have got to sort him out, Chang! He won't do it himself!"

"I - don't know what you are talking about!"

He stared at me as if I were an alien. A stupid alien. "Your dating, of course! You and Duo! It will never progress unless he tells you how he feels. And then you can both relax and enjoy it, can't you?"

"Dating -?" My mouth opened and closed like a koi. "We're not dating -"

Heero made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a snort. A very undignified snort. "Please don't you take me for a fool, as well! You've been dating all this time, Goddammit! But I can understand that you are irritated with that baka's shyness -"

"Shyness?" Now it was my turn to snort. "Duo Maxwell?"

Heero seemed to focus on my expression for the first time. "The movies, remember? And then he hijacked my swimming session - then the gallery, where he nearly swung for me, just because I had a slight cough -"

I still gaped. My legs were shaking slightly. My stomach felt both warm and chilled.

Heero was gazing at me now, with a dawning realisation. And a glint of mischief in his eyes. "Are you telling me you hadn't realised what he was doing? That he's been pursuing you all this time, and you never knew? I've been his poor lackey, setting up the dates for him - sitting out my free time, letting him take over my room, listening to him plotting night after night - manoeuvring the two of you together at every opportunity..."

"You have been forcing dates on me...!"

He nodded, impatiently. But he had a grin on his face, now. "This is too precious! It seems that Duo has been having dates all on his own! I can only say, it serves him right, for not having the courage to approach you directly...he just wasn't sure if you were interested in him, you see."

"Interested in me..." I stumbled over the bizarre words. "Me? But you're partners - you're the perfect couple -"

Heero stared at me, his eyes widening now with something like amused horror. "Me and Duo? Great friends, yes. Comrades in battle, yes. But the perfect couple?" I wondered what the strange noise was, and realised it was Heero. Laughing. "I would rather date Wing than Duo! He would drive me insane within the week! Wufei, you fool! I only take him out because otherwise he sits in all the time, moping after you; because I know what good company he can be; because by a supreme effort of will, I can listen to the myriad descriptions of his frustration for long hours, while the others have despaired of him..."

He seemed to notice the rest of the room for the first time. "What are you doing with your bags?"

His eyes flashed, with something that looked suspiciously like a wary fright. "Are you going somewhere, Chang? Have I misread something? You're not telling me you aren't interested in Duo, are you?"

We both fell silent. But we were saved from having to answer, because someone else did, on our behalf. The door opened abruptly behind his back, and Duo stumbled in. His face was very red.

"Is that true, Wufei? God, is it true - you're not interested in me?"

*

"Damned eavesdroppers..." murmured Heero, with a spiteful grin at Duo's awkwardness. "Never hear good of themselves..." He earned himself a prod in the ribs from Duo's elbow. It didn't diminish his amusement.

I stared at Duo, standing in front of me. In my room. Very close. Breathing heavily, so that I could see his chest moving under his thin vest. "You're with Heero. You two are a couple."

"No, we're not!" gasped Duo. "Is that what you thought?"

"Everyone does..." I said, a little weakly.

"What?" snapped Heero. "Who does? I want their names -!"

"You look so good together -"

Heero gave what sounded like a wail. Duo hissed at him.

"You're always together... you're close... I've seen you - you - I thought you were kissing -"

Heero made some noise like he was vomiting.

"No!" Duo almost yelled it. There was that sparkle in his eyes that I'd seen at the pool. "That's never been the case! I asked Heero to help me find out about you - to put myself in your way. I just - I just didn't feel I could ask you outright. You're so - cool... And then at the movies, I really thought you were interested in me - y'know, in a physical sorta way -" He blushed, and he obviously couldn't help it - his eyes dropped to my crotch. I knew then that he had seen my reaction that evening. I remembered his thigh pressing tight against mine, time and again; his hot breath on my lap, as he fumbled about under the seat...

"And the pool... " he rushed on. "I know it was a pain, to have me thrashing about, but I tried so hard to get you to touch me, and you'd only do it in that stupid game - and then you rushed off so fast I thought I'd shocked you -"

I remembered the wet slickness of his skin, as he twisted in the water like a bright, tropical fish, and my laughter, and his grin, and his long, strong legs, kicking out as he darted beneath me...

"And then the gallery, when you really opened up to me, and I never knew how you felt about art, 'n things, it was marvellous just to listen to you - and then I spoilt it, I guess, but I just had to kiss you or go mad -"

Another snort from Heero.

"And with little or no help from my supposed friend -!" He glared at Heero, who was smirking behind him, and making no attempt to cover it up. The dark-haired boy shrugged, and glared back.

"It was a genuine cough, OK? And I made myself scarce, didn't I? Like you begged me to! Shot out of there like a burning Gundam, I did -" he scowled back at Duo.

"I understand now..." I murmured, and they both spun round to look at me.

"But it was no good, was it?" said Duo, rather sadly. "You don't find me attractive after all -"

"Oh, but I do..." Was that weedy little thread of a voice coming from my mouth?

"You do?" whispered Duo. He leant a little towards me. His face had lit up again.

"Very much..." I gasped. If I stretched out, I could touch him. I really wanted to do that... "I just had to keep away... it's an honour thing, of course... you were with Heero... well, I thought so..."

"For God's sake!" hissed Heero, barely under his breath.

It was Duo's turn to scowl now. He didn't turn away from me, but he muttered back at Heero. "Get out of here, Yuy."

Heero raised a sardonic eyebrow. "So that's the thanks I get? For finally getting you in the same room, admitting your crush on the guy -?"

"We'll discuss it later -" Duo's voice was tightly controlled. His eyes devoured me, and I liked the effect. Very much.

But Heero folded his arms, and stood firm. "For weeks I have been planning occasions when you could be left together, and for weeks I have been listening to your bleating about his hair, and his body, and the sexy way he wears his reading glasses -"

"Later, OK?" Duo hissed. There was real venom in his voice. And a high blush on his cheeks. I liked that even more.

Heero looked from Duo's furious discomfort, to my amazed delirium. He took a deep breath. He shrugged. "There is a distinct advantage to the repression of emotions, you know?" he growled, to nobody in particular. "I do not have these astonishingly awkward situations in my life..." But there was the return of a satisfied smirk at the edges of his mouth. "You want me to leave you alone again, now, do you -?"

"Out! Out!" Duo almost shrieked. He whirled around, put hands on Heero's shoulders, and bodily pushed him towards the door.

"You owe me three weeks' washing up -" came the tail of a smug comment, as Duo slammed the door shut behind him.

*

So that's where I was, now!

Standing in my room, face to face with the boy of my dreams. Who wanted me. Who'd pursued me!

I think that you would say I fell on him! It was a swift, unpremeditated movement, fuelled by pure lust and thrilled delight, and something that felt akin to blessed relief. He gasped, and laughed, and fell back on the bed, totally pliant beneath me.

"Hey, Wufei! Does this mean you wanna date properly now?"

"What does that entitle me to?" I breathed. The smell of him was fantastic - the touch of him, as I stroked at his arms. The taste of the gum and the cola and the cool, fresh skin of his lips...I knew, with a rush of blood to my head and one other very significant place, that I was going to find out what kissing someone with uncontrollable passion felt like. Now!

When we'd kissed for a while, he agreed to answer me. "It entitles you to kiss me like that."

"And again?" I gasped. I swallowed his 'Uh-huh' in my mouth, and he seemed happy enough not to bother repeating it.

We broke again, for a moment, to take gulping breaths of air. "It entitles us to go out together for everyone to see -"

"Do we have to?"

"Huh?"

"Go out? Can't we stay in?"

"What ya got in mind, Chang?"

I didn't answer, because the memory of his body beside me in the darkness of the movie house was sharp and greedy in my mind. The memory of his slender, athletic body, glistening with water, lifting itself easily from the pool, clad only in a scrap of red fabric that clung to his ass...

The memory of his arm, folded into mine, clutching me to him. His breath on my cheek; the brief, risky kiss.

I reached for his vest, my fingers fumbling with their eagerness. As I tugged at the hem, I looked down into his face. He lay on the bed, perfectly relaxed. Long limbs spread out...mouth still swollen and moist from my last attack...

"Wufei Chang..." he murmured, his eyes half closed, and his tongue licking suggestively over his lips. "I just don't do that sort of thing on a first date..."

"First date?" I protested. "But this has got to be at least our fourth!"

His eyes flickered with amusement, and his breath hitched with excitement. A large, slow grin crept across his face. "Yeah - I guess it is 'n all!" He stretched up underneath me, allowing me to lift the vest off over his head - and he shivered, almost like a cat in the sun.

Slowly, I bent my head, and licked at him. The pulse on his neck; the lobe of his ear; his sharp, brown, crinkled nipple. He groaned. I licked on down, nuzzling into his navel, breathing in the smell of his skin; feeling the trail of light hairs tickling my nose. His hips bucked a little under my hands. My heart began to beat faster.

I slid a hand into the top of his jeans, greatly daring. I felt him tense under my touch, then he reached up and took hold of my wrist.

"Where ya going, Wufei?" he whispered. "There's no popcorn down there..."

"Sorry -" I gasped. But he laughed softly, and pressed my hand back down to the button. I took my cue, and flipped it open. He sighed. I could feel the heat of him; the promise of excitement that had been captured inside those little red trunks; the same excitement that was throbbing in response between my own legs, even now. I wanted to take hold of him - of the swelling inside his jeans. I wanted to give in to the thick, aching, consuming desire that I'd been trying to resist for so long. I wanted it all - and at the same time, I wasn't quite sure what it was that I wanted. I hesitated.

"'S OK," he murmured, twisting so that he could whisper into my ear. "Kiss me again, and we'll see where it goes..."

I was happy to oblige, though I didn't know what he meant. And then his hands lifted, and slid around my waist and further down, and they gently, firmly squeezed my ass. The twitching response in my pants was beyond belief - and demanded attention before the night was out. I felt my mouth grow hot and greedy, and it slid away from his lips, and his fast, flickering tongue, and I went back to my trail down his torso. But this time he put his hands on my shoulders, and he guided me on down further, and he wriggled his hips at me, asking me to loosen his jeans and boxers. I didn't need any encouragement! I was suckling gently at his skin, and I caught at the fabric with my teeth, worrying the zip until it creaked open. My mouth licked over the thin fabric covering a very impressive erection, and he moaned.

"Let me out, Wufei..." he hissed. "I've been living with this torture for weeks...you gonna keep me in suspense any longer?"

I smiled, and my lips felt the reflex jerk underneath them. I nipped at the boxers, and tugged them down - I released the hot, damp arousal between his legs, and for a moment I paused. My heart was beating so hard that it hurt to breathe. My tongue was millimetres from the red, straining flesh that reared up out of his lap.

I licked him there, as well.

He whimpered. I smiled, again. It was delicious...! Warm with life; hot with lust; tasty with the smell and essence of Duo's body. He was wriggling, and I thought it might be with impatience.

"I want more of that," I whispered. "Is that OK, on this date?"

"Yeah..." he sighed, tugging my head closer to his groin. "It certainly entitles you to that...!"

*

As we lay together later, on the bed, in various states of undress, we heard the muffled growl outside my door.

"And don't forget, Chang, by tomorrow I want the names and personal e-mail addresses of all those pathetic morons who called us the perfect couple -!"

Then Heero's steps, backing away quickly, before one of us could get up and yell at him. And a low laugh, vanishing up the corridor.

end

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