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

Dragon's Home + Part 1
Finder's Keepers

He was doing it again. Wu Fei pretended to read the papers in front of him, but his eyes, under cover of his dark lashes, watched Duo Maxwell stretch like a lazy cat. He sat on the other side of the board room sized table from him, dressed, like Wu Fei, in a crisp, Preventer uniform, his green jacket tossed over the back of the empty chair next to him. He had his own stack of papers, but he seemed confident that he was prepared enough for the meeting with Une, and he wasn't bothering to look at them.

At twenty, Duo Maxwell hadn't grown much taller or heavier, but his shoulders were not a boy's and his chest had broadened along with them. His face had lost the big cheeked roundness of youth, but he still retained a mischievous, almost impish, shape to it. He looked friendly and open. Something that Wu Fei did not, nor the sullen looking young man sitting on Duo's other side.

Heero Yuy was reading over his own stack of papers, chocolate hair unruly and hanging in his face, dark blue eyes intense under dark brows, as if he dared the papers to have any mistakes. Still entirely focused, still entirely selfless, still entirely... not personable, friendly, or anything other than brutally blunt. Wu Fei was his twin, or almost. Heero lacked his volcanic temper and his intense sense of justice.

Heero was completely unaware of Duo, or so he seemed. When Duo stretched out and yawned, slim neck arching back, shoulders flexing under the fabric of his shirt, strong hands reaching out and then fisting the air, he didn't so much as twitch a look Duo's way, unmoved by the display. Wu Fei was finding the same detachment elusive. Something about the powerful, graceful movement fascinated Wu Fei. It made him feel uncomfortable, slightly warm, slightly...

Wu Fei lowered his eyes to his paperwork again. He was the last of the Dragon Clan. He was expected to find a suitable wife of the right standing, have heirs, and take his place as the head of his reconstituted clan. He might be allowed a concubine or a 'close companion' or two, but not until he had solidified his position. Not that he was considering it. Not that he was considering Duo Maxwell for...Wu Fei scowled, angry at himself for letting his thoughts wander into such ridiculous avenues. Besides, Duo Maxwell already belonged to someone, that someone being Heero Yuy.

Wu Fei found himself considering that relationship, despite his best efforts not to. Before he had found out, before he had happened to hear something he wasn't supposed to in the handicapped stall of the Preventer bathroom, he would have scoffed at anyone suggesting that either Duo Maxwell or Heero Yuy were homosexual, or that they had chosen each other as companions. Wu Fei himself was completely circumspect, but Heero and Duo were role models for indifference. Wu Fei had never seen any behavior other than Heero Yuy ignoring Duo with sullen irritation, making mono syllabic responses, and Duo treating him as a challenged friend who needed encouragement in the friendly department. Duo might put a hand on Heero's shoulder, but tender looks, or any other touching, was nonexistent. They were partners, though, and they did work together with excellent results. When Wu Fei worked with them on occasion, he never had anything to complain about.

Wu Fei tried to imagine the two of them having sex. The image refused to materialize, even though he had heard... He refused to blush, throttling the bodily reaction with a ruthless application of fingernails to his arm under the table.

"Want some?" Duo asked suddenly and Wu Fei started, giving that sentence an entirely different meaning, before seeing that Duo was holding a styrofoam cup of coffee and that Wu Fei had been glaring at it for, how long, he wasn't sure.

"No," Wu Fei replied stiffly, not letting his thoughts touch his _expression.

Duo grinned and his large eyes, with their odd purple tint, sparkled as he chuckled, "You two have GOT to relax! She isn't going to eat us!"

Heero grunted sourly. "When she sees your hack job of a report, she may consider it," he said.

Duo looked sideways at him, not losing his grin. "Maybe I don't know where all the commas go, but I know we did a good job on this mission and that's what she really cares about."

"Your opinion," Heero retorted.

"Yep," Duo agreed. He sipped at his coffee and then sat back in his chair. His head jerked sideways, just a tiny bit. He glared at Heero, who looked oblivious as he studied his report. When Duo pulled his very long, cinnamon colored, braid over his shoulder, away from Heero, Wu Fei guessed that Heero had tugged on it. It might have proven some intimacy between them if Duo hadn't looked so very angry about it. "Don't make me get ugly," he warned Heero. "Don't pull on my hair!"

Heero just grunted.

When Une entered the meeting room, Wu Fei brought himself to order, putting his mind back where it belonged, away from useless speculation about a young man who was, not only beneath consideration, because of the future mapped out for Wu Fei, but who was already the companion of the best agent in the Preventer ranks... after himself, of course.

Une was tough, but fair. Wu Fei still felt 'grilled to well done' by the time she let them go with a few days leave to recover from their rigorous mission. Walking out of the room at last, his papers tucked under his arm, he was startled when Duo came up from behind him and draped an arm over his shoulders.

"Hey, Wu Fei!" Duo said with a grin. "Me and Heero scored a crash pad by the lake. Vince from ballistics, broke up with his girlfriend and tossed me the reservations. There's boating, swimming, fishing....Whatever guys like you do, I'm sure they have it there. There's three rooms..."

"Three?" Wu Fei said before he could think, wondering why a man with a girlfriend would have wanted that many.

Duo explained with a shrug, "I guess she wanted her mother and sister to come along. That's what the fight was about."

"I see." Wu Fei kept his voice almost chilly and his face unreadable. "After two weeks together on our mission, I fail to see why you would want me to come with you and Yuy."

Duo made a face. "Because, we all have closets for rooms in Preventer central, where privacy, and peace and quiet, are non existent. Who the hell can relax there?"

That made sense, the rest didn't. "You and Yuy don't want to be... alone?" That was as tactful as he could be.

Duo blinked his purple eyes at him blankly and replied in confusion, "You had two weeks to get a load of Heero's sparkling personality. I think I'd like someone to talk to along for the ride. It was kind of nice during the mission."

Wu Fei tried to remember having any lengthy conversations with Duo. He couldn't remember any. When they had talked, it was to address the mission, what to eat for meals, and to organize duties. Most of the mission had been spent taking turns observing the targets, apart from each other. They had only worked together when the final operation had been executed.

Duo was right, though, about the noisy, confining rooms, that they had been assigned since the end of the war. Wu Fei had chosen to live there to escape having to face his duty until it was necessary and to stay close to the work he had grown to love. Heero and Duo had stayed because they had been underage, had refused guardians, and had wanted to continue in the Preventers as well. The thought of getting away for a rest, by a lake, perhaps to meditate and experience some peace... with Duo Maxwell, a deeply hidden, inner voice added... sounded very desirable just then.

"I accept," Wu Fei replied at last and gave a small bow of his head.

"Great!" Duo exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear. The arm draped over Wu Fei's shoulders tightened briefly and then he was letting go and springing over to Heero to give him the good news. Wu Fei saw Heero listening with head bowed. He looked up when Duo was done and gave Wu Fei a long, unreadable, look from under his bangs, and then his _expression changed to one of... relief. That was the last thing Wu Fei had thought to see and it gave him something to think about as he returned to his room, emptied his duffel from the mission, and filled it with clean clothing for the trip.

______________________________

They took Duo's jeep, open to the warm sun and wind. Dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a dark colored, high collar, shirt, Wu Fei sat in the back with their gear piled around him. Heero drove and Duo sat in the passenger seat next to him, testing Wu Fei's patience as he craned his neck to peer back at him, grinning from ear to ear and talking nonstop. Because of the wind, Wu Fei only heard half of what he was saying, but he didn't think that was too important, since Duo never slowed enough in his running monologue to give him time for a response. It seemed that Wu Fei was only required to look interested.

Duo had a red baseball cap on backwards, his cinnamon bangs dancing wildly in his excited purple eyes. His shirt was white with blue sleeves, as tight as a second skin, and he wore a pair of jean shorts that hugged his ass. Wu Fei had found himself admiring Duo's lean, strong body, and the way his shirt enhanced his rounded shoulders, as much as he tried not to, before they had climbed into the jeep for the ride to the lake. Angry at himself, Wu Fei had once again promised himself that he would forget about any interest he had in the young man. Having Heero, sitting not an arms' length away, helped.

A touch, Wu Fei thought, or even a look with some feeling from Heero, would have been enough to solidify his resolve to shelve his sexual attraction to Duo Maxwell, but Heero wasn't cooperating. Wu Fei had been celibate for some time, his career and his station, as the last of the dragon clan, requiring him to be above reproach in his conduct and in his choice of companions. Brief flings, or one night stands, were not something that he could honorably avail himself of, nor did he really want to, even if he were free to do so. It was part of his personality to be choosy, to seek pleasure where there was not only attraction, but also respect. It was understandable that, having deprived himself for so long, that his thoughts would be attracted to a handsome face and pleasing body. Duo had both in large measure.

Orphan, thief, sweeper, Gundam pilot, and who knew what else in between, Duo talked in slang, was irreverent and loud, and seemed to have very little in the way of culture or formal education. On the surface, he seemed a boyish, wide eyed, innocent. Wu Fei, during the war, had made the mistake of accepting that veneer and indulging in contempt. He had learned rather quickly, fighting along side him, that there was another side to Duo. He was a genius, competent, thoughtful, and selfless. If he was honest with himself, Wu Fei had to admit an attraction to Duo that was also based on those qualities. Too many times, he had caught himself looking for them, trying to see past the talk and the smile to what lay just underneath.

Heero suddenly reached out and pushed Duo back into his seat. He grumbled something Wu Fei didn't hear. Duo made a face at him, and then looked at Wu Fei apologetically, before he straightened in his seat and watched the scenery go by. Wu Fei surmised that Heero had chastised Duo for talking too much.

Wu Fei felt a flick of anger burn along his spine. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Heero. Duo hadn't been bothering him. Wu Fei had been enjoying watching Duo's animated features as he talked. He might not have been so charitable if he had been forced to actually listen to Duo's entire monologue, but what little he had heard, hadn't seemed burdensome. Duo had mostly talked about the lake and some of the things they might do there.

Wu Fei reached out and touched Duo's sleeve. Duo looked back at him, startled. 'Later' Wu Fei mouthed and Duo grinned and turned back to face the front again in a better mood. He might regret it, Wu Fei thought, but he had felt the need to rectify Heero's action on his behalf. No one spoke for him.

It was a long drive, down winding roads, and deep into a forest. Duo consulted a map, giving clear directions that Heero followed wordlessly. They were displaying the teamwork that always impressed Wu Fei. They might seem mismatched and argumentive with one another, but, when it came down to accomplishing a task or a mission, they worked in perfect tandem. It had surprised Wu Fei, on their missions together, that they had accepted and worked well with him as well. Their two man team had easily opened to include him and he had found himself, not a third wheel, but an integral part of the team. He supposed that made sense. Duo's skills ran in one direction, Heero's another, and Wu Fei's in a third. They had blended and complimented each other, though, not run contrary or competed. Even Une had been impressed by the level of competence and professionalism in their last mission. In light of that, it seemed reasonable that Heero and Duo, who worked so well together, would choose to take advantage of that unity in their civilian life.

Why didn't they show it, though? Wu Fei wondered. Being homosexual wasn't the taboo it had been, so Wu Fei couldn't imagine that they felt the need to hide a relationship. It occurred to Wu Fei that, maybe, a working relationship didn't translate well into a civilian one. Love, tenderness, the things that spoke between two people of their commitment and feelings for one another, weren't things that a person indulged in when life and death decisions had to be made.

Was it just sex, then? When he looked at Heero's total absorption with the road, as if neither Duo or Wu Fei existed, Wu Fei could accept that, but when he watched Duo's fidgeting, his attempt to become a pretzel in his seat by putting his booted feet on the dashboard, his fiddling with his hair, and his lively and, yes, warm regard of their surroundings.... Wu Fei couldn't see someone with his strong, bold personality, his open and sparkling nature, either being subject to Yuy's loveless lust or indulging in it himself. He seemed too much a creature of emotions.

There was a third explanation and it seemed plausible, that, being who they were, and isolated by their unique pasts and experiences, that their options for companions, who truly understood them and could accommodate their equally unique personalities, were confined to five people, five Gundam pilots. Two, Trowa and Quatre had already paired off. If Heero and Duo had paired off as well, then Wu Fei was where he had always expected to be in life, alone and sacrificing for his clan and it's future. Considering how his clan had sacrificed everything, including their lives, for his future, he thought his sacrifice insignificant and surely not too hard to bear.

Heero pulled off the road at last and they suffered the bumping and jiggling of the vehicle as they took a smaller, gravel road to a clearing among the trees. There were four cabins scattered there, the lake sparkling beyond them.

"Cabin three," Duo said as he looked at the reservation ticket.

Heero grunted and then pulled in front of the correct one. They sat looking at it for a moment and then Duo was craning his neck to look at Wu Fei, eager for his opinion. "Great, right?"

Wu Fei gave the area a critical eye. It was secluded and quiet. He could hear a soft wind in the tree tops and birdsong. The cabins themselves were simple wood structures, boxes with tin roofs, but they all had porches and large windows to allow them to experience the natural setting as much as possible.

"Nice," Wu Fei replied and Duo beamed.

They climbed out of the jeep and gathered up their bags, Duo talking the entire time. Heero moved slowly, eyes scanning the area as if it were enemy territory. He was dressed in camouflage pants with zipper pockets and a black tank top. He didn't look relaxed, he looked as if he was expecting orders for another mission at any moment.

"A boat comes with the cabin rental," Duo was saying as he shouldered a pack. "Tomorrow, if you want to, we can take a ride around the lake, catch some sun, and maybe explore that island over there."

Wu Fei nodded, liking that idea.

"I read that there are eagles," Duo continued, not making any move for the front door. Heero finished unloading the rest of their bags while Duo launched into a story about each time, in his past, that he had seen eagles, how much he loved them, and how he was hoping to get some photos of them. He didn't talk in a hyperactive manner. He sounded paced and thoughtful. Some of his stories were amusing and interesting. Wu Fei didn't mind listening. Heero, though, lost patience.

Heero opened the front door of the cabin, turned, grabbed Duo around the lower legs and slung him over one shoulder. He carried Duo inside in that manner while Wu Fei followed with a frown. When Duo was put back down on his feet, he grinned apologetically, not disturbed at all by Heero's treatment."Guess I talk too much," Duo said in a sheepish voice.

Heero didn't agree, but he didn't disagree either. He didn't say anything, already walking away to explore the cabin. Wu Fei felt the need to say, "I suppose you don't have very many chances to talk around Heero."

Duo chuckled. "Well, I actually do, but... he never knows what to say back. He's a thinker, not a talker."

"A man of action," Wu Fei said and Duo nodded and smiled... fondly... over at where Heero was emerging from one of the bedrooms.

Wu Fei felt the sting of disappointment. He had been secretly hoping, up until that moment, that he was wrong about their relationship. He called himself a fool as he picked up his bags and claimed a bedroom. "This one's mine."

Duo peered inside curiously. "Why?"

"He likes to exercise with the rising sun, "Heero said almost gruffly as he picked over their own bags. "There's a window in that room that faces in that direction."

"Oh," Duo replied

Wu Fei stared, surprised and yet not surprised that Heero had observed that about him. A soldier was supposed to make note of the habits, strengths, and weaknesses of his fellow soldiers. "Yes," he confirmed. "That's right."

Heero smirked at him and that was another surprise. It wasn't malicious or condescending, it was Heero being honestly amused by his own knowledge of Wu Fei's habits. It made Wu Fei re-evaluate. Heero hadn't noticed because they were soldiers, he decided. Heero had noticed out of curiosity and interest in Wu Fei himself.

"Heero's a people watcher," Duo sighed as if it were a point of long suffering on his part. "Almost stalkerish, if you ask me."

Heero put a hand on Duo's shoulder and gave him a small push so that he lost his balance. "Get the bags. Talk later."

Duo scowled as he righted himself. "And who died and made you boss?"

Heero didn't argue back, he simply said in a reassuring tone, "There will be time, Duo, later."

Duo's scowl smoothed out and he nodded. "Okay, let's unpack."

Wu Fei tried not to watch them, tried to kill the traitor thoughts that wanted them to go into separate rooms. Duo didn't give him the luxury of prolonging his ignorance. "Uh, Wu Fei, me and Heero... " He looked embarrassed and rubbed the back of his neck as he searched for the right words. "We're sharing a room... you know?" He watched Wu Fei's face for his reaction as he added, "I guess I should have said something before now, but... I really did want you to come on this trip... sorry... does it bug you?"

"No, not at all,"Wu Fei replied. " It makes sense, that you're a couple."

Duo snorted, "You think so?" He looked amused and then gave him a keen, searching look. "Are you sure you aren't bothered?"

"No," Wu Fei assured him.

"You don't need to worry," Heero told Duo quietly, "Wu Fei is homosexual, too."

Wu Fei felt his temper rise to the occasion. Nostrils flaring, he demanded, "And how do you know that?"

Heero actually laughed lightly as he took up some of their bags and began walking towards the second room, "It's obvious that we share an interest in common."

Wu Fei felt his gut go cold. Heero knew!

Duo was looking confused. "What are you talking about?" he was asking as he followed Heero, but Heero didn't answer him.

Wu Fei felt his face get very hot. If Heero knew... he hadn't looked angry, but perhaps he had just marked his territory in a very subtle way. Heero knew Wu Fei was homosexual and he knew he was interested in Duo. Wasn't that as good as saying that he was now watching Wu Fei for any moves towards Duo? That he was now on guard against him?

Wu Fei went into his room and closed the door. There was a single bed with a quilt bedspread. Tossing his bag onto the end of it, he stretched out on top of the quilt, on his back, and felt anxiety string his nerves tight. He had come on the trip for a chance to relax and come down from a mission high. A fire fight would be less stressful, he though sourly.

"Duo is definitely off limits," Wu Fei growled softly at himself and hoped that his libido, and the foolish part of his brain that was finding Duo interesting, would now, finally, understand that reality would never see Duo Maxwell as a part of his life.

There was a knock on his door.

"Yes?" Wu Fei called.

Duo opened the door and peeked in cautiously. "We should leave around seven tomorrow, get out before it gets too hot, okay?"

Wu Fei searched for an excuse, "Duo, I-"

Duo looked instantly disappointed. "Oh," he said, guessing what Wu Fei was going to say, "You want to rest... that's why you came. I'm being stupid. Heero says I should listen instead of talk sometimes..."

"And he should talk instead of listen sometimes too," Wu Fei found himself replying.

Duo cocked his head sideways and said, "Yeah, he knows.... You're good at figuring things out... life, I mean. That's why I wanted to talk to you. " He shrugged self deprecatingly. "You relax, though. Maybe, another time, we can talk about things."

Wu Fei could sense a great deal going on under the surface of their conversation. He suddenly felt that his next decision was very important and that he needed to make the right one. "I wanted to say ...that, I get up early, so seven is not a problem."

Duo seemed frozen and then he grinned. "All right! I'll get everything ready tonight so we can just walk out of here when we get up." He started to leave, but then paused, "Dinner's at six, hope you like spaghetti?" When Wu Fei nodded, Duo looked so pleased and excited, that Wu Fei didn't mind the lie.

[part 2] [back to Kracken's fic]