Author: Kracken
Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them
Warning:Male/male sex, graphic, language, violence.

Cadence + Part 8
Settling Down

"He's asleep," Heero whispered, looking both uncomfortable and covertly pleased at the same time. It was the sparkle in his eye, and a softness around his eyes, that told Wu Fei that Duo's weight, sagged against his shoulder, wasn't unwelcome.

"He likes to pretend that he is completely well, but he isn't," Wu Fei whispered back. "His body is still healing, still using all of his energy."

The movie played on and empty food containers littered the coffee table. They had experienced a relaxing evening, full of easy talk and companionship.

Duo mumbled something under his breath and then rubbed his cheek against Heero, as if seeking comfort. Wu Fei blinked in surprise and then grew suspicious. The young man had refused to outline his plan and Wu Fei had been given far too long to imagine disaster resulting from anything Duo should try to implement.

It was shameful what they had wanted, and that was a feeling that had been slowly creeping back to reassert itself, after the first heated flush of understanding between himself and Duo had banked. Finally facing Yuy, Wu Fei feared losing the man's respect. How could he ask it? How could he propose something so decadent, something so out of the norm? He couldn't, he knew. He didn't want to hear Heero shout at him, call him weak, call him pervert, call him fool...so it was up to Maxwell, up to some plan he had called out of thin air at a moments' notice.

Duo started screaming. Wu Fei's blood chilled and he reached for a weapon he didn't have. Heero started badly as well and then his arms came around Duo's body and held him securely. Nightmare? Wu Fei thought so. Duo tried to thrash, tried to defend himself against... something... and then he went wide eyed and awake from one instant to the next.

"Oh, God!" Duo cried and he choked on a sob. "That was awful!" he shuddered and burrowed into Heero.

Heero looked at a loss and so did Wu Fei. Was Duo crying? He couldn't imagine it. Under great pain and depression, maybe, but over a simple nightmare? Duo was shuddering though and refusing to look at either of them.

"Just a dream," Heero said awkwardly and patted Duo's shoulder. Unfortunately, he used enough force to hurt. The light slaps alerted him and he decided to simply hold Duo again. "We are both here," he assured Duo. "You are in your apartment."

Duo wrapped arms around Heero and there was a suspicious sniffling noise. Heero stiffened and Wu Fei was alarmed. The world was surely ending. Wu Fei edged closer so that he could gently rub Duo's back.

"Duo," Wu Fei soothed. "Perhaps, it will help you to talk about it?"

"I-I just need..." Duo sniffled again. "You're going to think I'm an idiot, or something, but... I just need you guys to hold me."

Wu Fei's angry _expression almost gave him away. He had actually started to believe the little... little... love of his life. He sighed and decided to play along. He was stiff, though, and finding it hard to fulfill his part. He avoided Heero's eyes and gingerly hugged Duo from behind. With Heero in front, they made a sandwich with Duo between them. Their skin touched, they shared their warmth, and Duo was probably extremely pleased with himself.

"This is nice," Duo sighed. "We should do this all the time."

"Maxwell...!" Wu Fei exclaimed and then, finally, met Heero's eyes. The man was looking stunned. Wu Fei tried to remain calm, telling himself that it was too late for shame and embarrassment. Heero was stubborn, hot tempered, and not... an idiot. The deception was over.

Duo lifted his head, sensing the sudden tension. He looked from Heero to Wu Fei and then asked, "Okay, who here wants a relationship with everyone else in this room? Be honest." He raised his hand, his act discarded.

Wu Fei slowly, reluctantly, raised his hand.

Heero went very pale and then he gasped in pain and gripped at his stomach.

"Pills!" Wu Fei shouted to Duo. Duo broke from Heero's embrace and found Heero's pills under the mound of food containers. He read the directions as quickly as he could. "Two," he announced, poured them out on his hand, and then handed them to Heero.

Heero popped the pills into his mouth and swallowed as he left the futon and went to get a glass of water in the kitchen.

Duo scowled. "He didn't raise his hand." He sounded hurt, disappointed, and anxious.

"Why should he?" Wu Fei snarled under his breath. "He was so outraged, he had an attack! Obviously he rejects our perverted-"

Duo's scowl was directed at him then, "Perverted? I didn't know love was a perversion, Fei," Duo retorted angrily.

Wu Fei throttled his temper, that was more fear than he was willing to admit. Duo had severely complicated things. He had attacked their problem in a childish fashion and come up with a solution that could have been a script on some ridiculous vid show. "Which show did you see this ruse on?" Wu Fei suddenly asked bluntly.

Duo looked embarrassed. "Sammy's Place," he replied. "Two women, living together, and trying to get a guy to get in the sack with them both."

"Ah," Wu Fei replied, feeling temper again. "Do you see where you went wrong? You were seducing, not attempting to explain to Yuy that we wish for an emotional, as well as physical, attachment to him."

Duo found a snicker. "Sounds like you're re-calibrating your Gundam. No wonder you never went on dates."

"Duo!" Wu Fei growled. "You are failing to see how seriously this might have damaged our relationship with Heero. We should have been honest with him and allowed him to reject us without any tricks."

"But..." Duo began to argue again and then he swallowed hard, looking miserable. "I was afraid he'd say no... I was afraid he'd...get weird and never want to see us again."

"Asking a man to enter into a three way relationship..." Wu Fei sighed. "Perhaps we deserve that type of response?"

Duo rubbed at his face, looking weary now. "Maybe if we let him get one good punch in, we can forget all about this... but..." He paused his _expression was pained. "I don't want to Fei. I... I love you both. I've always wanted you both."

Heero suddenly cleared his throat. They both looked up at him in trepidation, afraid of the worst. Heero looked tight and withdrawn, his wild bangs hanging in his face and his eyes hidden behind them. Very slowly... he raised a hand.

"Really?" Duo asked, stunned and eyes wide.

Heero pulled a chair close to the futon and sat within touching distance. He looked down at his clasped hands in his lap. "I've always been attracted to... both of you. I never hoped... I thought that Chang and I were the most compatible, so I've been-"

"You've been hitting on Fei?!" Duo exclaimed and grinned from ear to ear.

Wu Fei frowned. "I thought you were more suited to Duo," he said to Heero. "I've heard that people who are too much alike, don't give any strengths to the relationship, only weaknesses and arguments."

"Where did you read that?" Duo snickered. "Me and Heero knock heads all the time. We couldn't work together if we tried. Me and you now," He hung an arm over Wu Fei's shoulders. "I always saw us together. We've been great partners and we're nothing alike, so I was zeroing in on you."

Wu Fei thought about that."Heero wants me. Duo wants me. I want Duo."

"Seems you're Mr. Popular," Duo chuckled, "But thinking about who I can get, doesn't mean I don't want Heero too.... and speaking of which...." He suddenly looked embarrassed. "Uhm, what now? I mean, do we put training wheels on this and see how it goes or do we just jump right into bed and-"

"Maxwell!" Wu Fei snapped. "We must go slowly, cautiously, and let things develop in their own time."

Duo sighed and stretched out on his back. "I was afraid you'd say that."

"It seems wise," Heero interjected.

"Meaning you're not ready to rip off any clothes and tango either," Duo growled. "Am I the only one with a libido?" He looked at them suddenly, going a little pale, "Uh, guys... do we even know what we want? I mean, there's ways of doing this. Do we switch off, I get Fei on Tuesdays and Heero on Thursdays? Or, do we have one big, uh, session, together?"

Everyone was very quiet.

Duo looked at them and then asked suspiciously. "Who here actually knows what they're doing enough to make any decision about anything?"

No one looked at him.

Duo sighed heavily in exasperation. "Okay, I guess we need to experiment, see what everyone likes or doesn't like. If we all want to... top... or bottom... we're in trouble." He narrowed eyes at them. "You do know what I'm saying, don't you?"

They both nodded and then Wu Fei suggested stiffly, "Can we postpone this conversation for later, when we've all become accustomed to this situation?"

"It is what we all want, right?" Duo asked and his voice was almost needy, wanting that reassurance.

Wu Fei understood his rush to find their bounds, then. Duo was afraid that, if they waited, they might find sense and ... He swallowed hard and replied, against his better judgement, "Top or bottom, is all right with me, " he said in a small voice and shrugged.

"Top," Heero said not a moment later, as if he were forcing the word out through acute embarrassment.

Duo relaxed and said, "Top or bottom for me... though I know we might change or minds later when we know what we're really getting into."

"Of course," Wu Fei said and felt the need to clear his throat. "We don't really know..."

Duo reached out and carefully pulled Fei towards him until they were touching, and then he reached out and brought Heero onto the futon so that he was close as well. Knee to knee, Duo said warmly, "This is what it's all about. Being together, being friends. If someone's going to get jealous, or feel left out, it won't work That means we have to talk to each other. If something isn't right, say so, and give us a chance to change it. Okay?"

Wu Fei nodded, but Heero was frowning. "It won't be perfect,"Heero said, "Someone might find that they prefer someone else."

"Life isn't perfect, not by a freakin' long shot," Duo retorted. "So deep six thinking this isn't going to be without some bad days."

"No one will understand," Wu Fei warned.

"No, they won't, but what do we care?" Duo replied. "We're killers, mass killers, terrorists since we were old enough to get in the cockpit of a Gundam. They already don't understand, Fei."

"That is true," Wu Fei agreed and felt some bitterness at that, but that was the past and he had learned not to carry it with him into the future."I think," he said carefully, "That no one needs to know."

"Yes," Heero said firmly. "We should-"

"Hide?" Duo looked suddenly furious. "If you're that ashamed., then maybe you can't handle this?"

Wu Fei reached out and took hold of Duo's braid. He gave it a small tug. "That isn't what I meant, and I know Heero wasn't thinking that either. We only wish to avoid conflict."

"Oh," Duo ducked his head. "Sorry... I'm touchy... I just want this to work... very badly."

Duo looked weary suddenly. Exchanging a look with Heero, Wu Fei saw him nod. They had all had a very stressful day. It was time to stop and get Duo to rest. Wu Fei himself was feeling tired and his wounds were aching. Attempting to heal, and handling so much emotional stress, couldn't be healthy.

"Go to sleep," Wu Fei ordered Duo briskly. He began to stand, to move to a chair and rest there, but Duo caught his hand and held him back.

"You're tired too," Duo told him. "Lay down, Fei."

Wu Fei didn't have enough strength to really argue. He stretched out along Duo's back and found a soft spot on the pillow to put his head on.

"You too, Heero," Duo said sternly. "You have circles under your eyes. You stay awake any longer and you'll upset your stomach again. There's enough room. Lay down."

Heero hesitated. They could all see and understand his _expression. Someone should be on guard, that look said.

Duo snapped. "I can damn well take care of myself, Yuy, and so can Fei. Screw trying to be our guard."

That was 'Mission Duo' Wu Fei thought with a satisfied smile, not the one who had been so impishly talking about sex and love. This was the Duo he loved, the one who could dismantle a bomb in the middle of a fire fight and still worry about others after he had been seriously wounded.

"Stop trying to be the teacher and Heero will stop trying to be the guard," Wu Fei chuckled in his ear.

Duo stiffened, but then said, "Okay, okay, but who else is going to get you guys together with me? I have to talk plain and crude and toss in some hearts and flowers too."

"No," Heero grunted. "You don't. You have us. We know what we want. Our inexperience doesn't mean that we will be frightened away. Everything will be all right, Duo."

So, he had seen Duo's insecurity as well, Wu Fei thought, and was pleased when Heero stretched out along Duo's front. They sandwiched the ex pilot of Deathscythe, but he was fierce and smiling as if he were being challenged. Perhaps his libido was what was being challenged in that position. Weariness won out, though, and he was soon asleep.

"He looks like a boy relaxed like that," Wu Fei murmured to Heero, a bare whisper.

Heero lightly brushed back Duo's cinnamon hair with a gentle hand. "This isn't going to be easy," he said.

"No, it isn't," Wu Fei agreed, "But the alternative, denying how we feel and staying separate, would be much worse."

"All together," Heero whispered and smiled with some embarrassment, his head nestled on his arm and his nose a bare two inches from Duo's nose.

Wu Fei was startled, but then he imagined, Duo's wiry strength in his arms and Heero's strong muscles wrapped around him. He flushed hotly and then said, trying to regain control of himself, "You are more like Duo than you care to admit, Yuy."

Heero chuckled, reached across Duo, and caressed Wu Fei's arm lightly, then he was turning and going to sleep.

Wu Fei pressed against Duo's warmth, against the hard lines of his body, and couldn't help imaging them all together, being... intimate.

"I can't sleep with that pole shoved against me, Fei," Duo snickered sleepily. "Are you sure we shouldn't..."

"Sleep, Maxwell," Wu Fei grunted in embarrassment and turned away as much as he could.

"Okay... but all together sounds much more... right... than everyone sneaking off to do it with each other.... er... you know what I mean?" Duo mumbled, but he was drifting off to sleep and he didn't wait for Wu Fei's reply.

They already were all together, Wu Fei thought, as he looked at his sleeping companions. He felt suddenly possessive and in love, wanting to hold both of his bed mates close. He reached out tentatively and draped an arm over Duo and as much of Heero as he could. No one complained and he found himself relaxing and falling asleep, content.

[part 7] [part 9] [back to Kracken's fic]