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 9
Respecting Love

"Turn it off!" Duo complained as he slowly did a sit up on the futon with Wu Fei holding his knees. He was grimacing.

Heero had his back turned to them, nose in his newspaper, as he sat at the kitchen counter. He reached out and turned down the volume of his radio.

"Off, not down," Duo said as he grimaced again and forced another sit up. "If you ask me, you're getting your ulcers from listening to that political rot."

"It's interesting," Heero replied.

Wu Fei lifted an eyebrow at Duo and Duo gave a snort of annoyance.

Duo made another attempt at a sit up, but only made it half way. He winced and collapsed onto his back. "Four short," Wu Fei told him. "Grafts pulling?"

Duo nodded and seemed to be waiting for some pain to go away, his eyes shut tightly. "Sally would make a good dominatrix," Duo muttered. "Ten sit ups, Duo. Ten, knee lifts, Duo... "

Wu Fei felt embarrassed. He would never be comfortable with Duo's off color jokes, he thought. Instead of replying to it, he said, "She's given you an easy therapy routine, and you know it," he defended. It wasn't what Duo wanted to hear, though.

"Won't let me kid myself, will you, Fei?" Duo sighed and there was a hint of depression there.

"You aren't going to whine about how you think you'll never be the same, are you?" Wu Fei shot back, "because I refuse to listen to it. There is nothing wrong with you that some diligent exercises won't cure. Now get off your lazy ass, Maxwell, and give me four more sit ups."

Duo's eyes were open and looking amused, not angry."I need motivation," he complained.

"Motivation?" Wu Fei smiled. "I think I can supply something."

"Oh?" Duo wondered and there was a hint of nervousness..

They were so uneasy it hurt, Wu Fei thought. Even now, their words were bold, but said almost timidly. They weren't sure of each other yet. When they had awakened earlier, in a tumble of limbs and blankets, they had separated quickly and gone about their business, none of them mentioning it, or their new found relationship.

They were all awkward, inexperienced, and afraid of doing something wrong... or inappropriate. What was permitted, what wasn't? How did one begin to be intimate, to show that intimacy was wanted? How were they going to get over the hurdle that would take them from partners and friends to... lovers? Maybe... Maybe small steps, Wu Fei thought, small experiments? It sounded as if if he were looking for weaknesses in an enemy when he was looking for strength and certainty instead, but it was the only approach that he could think to take.

Duo's legs tensed as he brought his weight up. Wu Fei braced him. When Duo groaned as he made it upright, Wu Fei impulsively leaned forward and kissed him very lightly on the lips. Duo's eyes went wide and then he let out a gasping breath.

"That's..." Duo swallowed hard. "Okay, I'm motivated."

Duo was in pain. Sally had assured them that it was a good pain and necessary as long as the grafts weren't split or bleeding. They needed to be stretched. Skin and muscle needed to be reminded of their flexibility. Duo lowered himself, took a moment to prepare himself, and then did yet another sit up. Wu Fei's kiss was waiting for him.

He was kissing Duo and enjoying, Wu Fei thought, as he searched the depths of Duo's purple eyes and saw the same appreciation there. When Duo struggled up for a third time to claim another kiss, Wu Fei suddenly wanted more than that and felt the answering need in Duo as his kiss deepened. 'Yes!', his body cried out, 'Take him, take him now!'. Clothes off, body underneath, legs spread out and... Wu Fei's hands were up and ready to act, ready to follow where his heated imagination was taking him , but then he used force of will to lower them. Small steps. He broke the kiss and inched backward on the futon.

"Tease," Duo complained in a strained voice as he lowered himself to his back again.

"Sorry," Wu Fei told him, eyes lowered. "I won't do that again."

Duo very deliberately made his last sit up, sweat running down the side of his face. His hand took hold of the front of Wu Fei's shirt very deliberately and pulled him in close. He kissed Wu Fei deeply, as if in revenge, and then fell back onto the futon.

"... and I leave to Sally's cat, my favorite car magazines and my used gum collection..." Duo panted and grinned, as he waited for the pain to go away.

Wu Fei smiled back. Kissing was good and acceptable, he decided, as long as it didn't lead into something they both weren't physically or emotionally ready for yet. He found himself following Duo's gaze to Heero's back, as if having the same thought, and then they looked at each other. Maybe kissing was easy for them, because they had spent so much time together since the war? Heero was different.

"You having the same problem visualizing sex with Heero?" Duo whispered in an almost inaudible voice.

Wu Fei went scarlet and almost spluttered. They hadn't been thinking the same thing, exactly. Now that Duo had broached it, though, Wu Fei couldn't help but wonder how he could casually proposition someone whom he so completely respected as a man and as an agent. Last night, Heero had seemed calm and open. Touching him had been natural. Heero had already kissed him. They had already shared some small intimacies. It shouldn't have been so difficult, imagining himself leaning forward and taking Heero's lips as he had Duo's, yet...

"I want to," Wu Fei whispered as he pulled out a medical cream and opened the top.

"So do I," Duo replied as he pulled off his shirt and rolled so that Wu Fei could reach his more inaccessible grafts.

"It's just..." Wu Fei tried to define the feeling as he rubbed a small dollop of cream over a large patch of graft. It looked red and raw.

"He's intimidating as hell, "Duo said as he looked over his shoulder at Wu Fei. "But someone has got to break the ice."

"He already has," Wu Fei mused with a small smile.

"Naw," Duo corrected him, "That was just fooling around. This is serious now."

Duo was quiet for a long moment and then he said, almost a breath, "I guess you're kind of intimidating too. I mean... I've always wanted to... you know... but actually doing it... You sure you... I mean, I feel like maybe I'm not..."

Duo stammered to a halt and then looked very uncomfortable.

Wu Fei massaged lightly with his fingertips. "Duo, don't doubt how I feel about you, about Heero. Let's not make doubts part of our obstacle course."

Duo smirked. "Obstacle course. Guess that's what it is, isn't it? We have to find out where all the no no's are."

Wu Fei nodded solemnly.

"I could get a lot of this out of the way by telling you mine," Duo suggested.

Wu Fei's hands paused and then he nodded as he continued. "That's... acceptable. Heero should hear this, too."

"Okay," Duo said uncertainly, "But it was easier when it was just you and me."

"Heero," Wu Fei called. The man grunted and swiveled in his chair. "We need to talk."

Heero nodded and came to sit on the edge of the futon. Duo sat up and put on his shirt. "Were you whispering about me?"Heero wondered and looked almost dejected. "If you've decided-"

Wu Fei was quick to stop that line of thinking. "No, that's not what we were talking about."

Heero relaxed, looking relieved. "So, then?" Heero wondered.

Duo cleared his throat. "Well, I'm going to tell you all what's off limits with me. I think that might help... you know... get some of the shy crap out of the way."

Heero nodded. "That sounds reasonable."

"Okay..." Duo struggled to begin, eyes looking down at the hands in his lap. "Uh... well... I don't like people... forcing me... you know, making me get into it. I say go or stop. I don't like... that, uhm, anal stuff... you know... putting your mouth-"

Wu Fei stood up abruptly and took several steps away, back to them as he fought with his shock.

"Sorry, Fei," Duo said fearfully. "I've never done that sort of thing... but I've heard about it."

Wu Fei gripped his elbows hard, head bowed.

"Uh...," Duo tried to continue. "Don't like being tied up. Nobody grab my hair or push my head down to do... uh... well, you're likely to get punched. No toys. Just the thought of someone putting one of those things... well, only the real thing, okay?"

"Stop," Wu Fei said and turned back to them, looking fierce. "Duo... What do you think we feel for you? Why tell us not to do these things? Do you honestly believe that we would demean you in that manner?"

It was Heero and Duo's turn to exchange looks. Duo replied carefully, "Some people don't consider that demeaning, Fei. They think it's fun. I'm not one of them, though."

"Neither am I," Wu Fei said angrily.

"Okay," Duo smiled weakly. "Guess that means ditto for you. Anything you want to add, Fei?"

Wu Fei blushed to the roots of his hair and floundered. They gave him time and it took several long minutes of internal struggle before he said in a small voice, "Nothing rough. I want respect, to be equals. Nothing... nothing demeaning."

"That covers a lot," Duo said uncertainly. "I think you'll have to be sure to tell us when we're stepping over your line, okay?" When Wu Fei nodded, they both looked at Heero. "Your turn, Iron Man. What's off limits?"

Heero became thoughtful and then shocked Wu Fei and Duo by replying, "Nothing, except, I don't want to be fucked."

That was clear and crude and he meant it to be, Wu Fei realized. It wasn't going to be a subject for debate for more experienced times. It brought ugly thoughts to Wu Fei's mind and he found himself asking, before he could clearly think it through, "Has anyone been...molested in any way? War is ugly. Some of our lives have not been the best. I think we should know. It would guide us in our relationship with one another."

Duo was wide eyed. He said tightly, "That's hitting us square on the jaw, Fei, but I guess you're right. Well... someone did it on my face once and he was six foot two and wearing an Oz uniform. Since he was holding the point of a knife up under my chin, I didn't have much of a choice. Not rape, really, but I still remember how he held me there..." he shivered

Heero frowned. His arms crossed tightly over his chest. He nodded, once, and then half turned away. "I consented, but it was very unpleasant," he said. "It was a long time ago and the circumstances were..."

"You did it for a mission, didn't you?" Duo guessed, going very pale.

Heero nodded again, jaw working.

Wu Fei swallowed. Now he understood Heero's refusal to be submissive. He found himself replying, almost feeling as if he had betrayed them, somehow, by coming out of life unscathed in that respect. "Some soldiers threatened," he replied, "A few put their hands on me... but... nothing like you experienced."

"It's not a club," Duo told him, sensing Wu Fei's unease. "You're lucky and we're glad, right Heero?"

Heero nodded.

Duo blew air through his bangs. "Okay, that was hard, but it makes us closer though, right? We have to all get over the 'I'm not worthy', and the 'I'm terrified of him.' stage of things or we're going to be taking the 'alone train' right out of each other's lives. Nobody wants that, do they?"

"No," Wu Fei and Heero both replied.

"Good," Duo sighed and then smiled as he grabbed Heero's shirt and pulled him in close. Eyes sparkling, he seized a long, hot kiss. Heero's eyes closed and then he eagerly moved closer to deepen the kiss, banging Duo on the nose in the process. Duo started back, rubbing at it, and glared. "You have a head like a piece of Gundanium, Heero," he complained in a nasal voice.

Heero looked flustered. "Are you all right?" he asked anxiously.

"Yeah," Duo chuckled. "We have to work on our docking procedures, though."

Wu Fei saw Heero's uncertainty. He was a man who dealt out death and destruction. Hurting, even unintentionally, someone he cared about, must have hit him deeply. That had to be remedied, Wu Fei thought. He gathered his courage, and felt butterflies in his stomach, as he reached out, took hold of Heero's chin, and guided their lips together.

Heero Yuy was sex, Wu Fei thought. The touch of their lips, the feel of that strong, warm body so close to his own, the light feel of Heero's breath, overwhelmed him. He wanted those strong arms around him. He wanted that body pushing him back, dominating him, naked and powerful... and then he realized that he was on his back and that Heero was between his legs on the futon, devouring his lips and pressing close and hard.

"Uh, guys?" Duo's face suddenly appeared, looking anxious. "Should I leave?"

Heero and Wu Fei both reached out as one and gripped at Duo. "No," they both said and then Heero was backing away, his hands on his crotch as he turned and tried to adjust something trapped by his jeans.

"You know," Duo said, looking from one to the other, "I think everyone is freakin ready, don't you?"

"No," Wu Fei said again and saw confirmation on Heero's face. He tried to explain when Duo looked pissed and frustrated. He sat up and felt his own painful tightness. "You just proved that there is so much that we don't know about each other."

Duo shot back acidly, "You sound like a damn woman- !"

That was as far as he was allowed to go. Wu Fei was suddenly ice, his hand at Duo's throat. His black eyes were deadly as he said, "You will apologize for that insult."

He could feel Duo swallow under his grip and he saw Heero tensed for action out of the corner of his eye.

"O-Okay! Geez!" Duo swore in a choked voice, "I was just joking! Make note to self: No jokes about Fei's sex."

Wu Fei released him and stood up. He went to sit in a chair and then said, feeling as if he had just burned a very large bridge between them, "I will not be insulted in that fashion, " and then added, "As you see, we are still ignorant of each other's deeper selves."

"Yeah," Duo replied. "Guess we are... but," Wu Fei looked up and saw Duo's eyes sparkling again. "What we have is pretty damn strong, Fei. Mistakes aren't going to kill it."

A tightness in Wu Fei relaxed. "No," he replied, utterly relieved. "It won't."

"We won't let it," Heero chimed in and looked determined.

[part 8] [part 10] [back to Kracken's fic]