Home + Part 5
Dressed in a light coat, over a wool sweater and a ragged pair of jeans, Duo's hair was half out of it's braid and he looked barely awake. Leaning against a piling on the end of the dock, his arms crossed over his chest, his _expression was troubled, at all odds with the tranquility of the mirror like lake and the soft mist dancing towards the lightening sky.
Wu Fei brought the collar of his own coat up higher around his neck and then sank his hands into the warm softness of the pockets. He had been up already, doing his stretching exercises and meditating, when he'd heard the front door open and close. Going into the main room and looking out of a window, Wu Fei had seen Duo walking towards the lake in the dark. There had been something in the slumped shoulders and the bowed head that had alerted Wu Fei that the young man wasn't simply going to watch the sun rise. He had given Duo time to himself, finished his meditating, and then ventured out when the sun had begun rising, giving himself an excuse for his presence there.
"It's too cold to swim," Duo replied.
Wu Fei snorted at the weak diversion. "The sun will warm things up soon enough."He waited and then said, when Duo stayed silent, staring at the water, "I'm here to listen."
Duo half smiled and then shrugged. "This is really... personal."
"You can generalize," Wu Fei suggested.
Duo nodded, sighed, and then said simply, "No lock on the bedroom window."
"Ah." It was a clear explanation. Intimacy had been attempted and the room hadn't met Duo's security expectations. It told Wu Fei something else as well, that Duo was trying to keep things back, things that would show someone he respected how insecure he really was. It wasn't in his nature. He was a man who was open and unselfconscious in most of what he did. He faced the world bluntly, with a challenging grin and a fast tongue. Perhaps subtly wasn't a tactic to use on a man like that? Perhaps, Wu Fei thought, he needed to prod, to goad the real Duo Maxwell into telling him what he needed to know to help him?
Wu Fei, very deliberately, moved to block Duo into the end corner of the dock, where he had chosen to watch the sunrise, and then reached out and took a firm hold on Duo's arm.
"Wu Fei," Duo warned and uncrossed his arms as he tried to pull away.
"Duo, it's time to tell me the truth," Wu Fei told him very gently as he applied more pressure, sinking his fingers into sinew so that pulling away would cause Duo pain.
"Truth? What the hell-? Wu Fei..." Duo didn't want to hurt him. Wu Fei could see him struggling to both get away and control an impulse to strike out. He wasn't panicking. He was alarmed... alarmed about...
Suddenly Duo stopped struggling, realizing that Wu Fei was an immovable rock, and he did something that surprised Wu Fei. He twisted and backed Wu Fei up against the wooden piling, facing outward as if he were shielding Wu Fei from some danger. Panting, he begged, "Please, Chang... let go."
"You aren't protecting yourself," Wu Fei guessed with certainty. "You think that people will be hurt by being close to you."
Wu Fei let Duo go and Duo stepped away, checking his surroundings even though the mist still obscured a great deal. A loon called, loud and mournful, and Duo jumped, his hand going to the back of his pants, where, Wu Fei suspected, he still had his gun.
"Why?" Wu Fei asked. "Who is hunting you that you are so afraid?"
"Life." Duo was almost panting with anxiety, but he calmed himself with an effort as he finished his check. "Life has it in for me, Chang, and anyone who gets close to me has died, with damned regularity."
"We are at peace," Wu Fei argued.
"Tell that to the hair trigger part of my brain," Duo growled. "You think I want to live like this? Always thinking I'm a target?"
Wu Fei considered him, studied his anger, bitterness, and sense of helplessness, and then asked, "When did you first start feeling like this, like you had to keep people away from you?"
Duo turned away from him and stood on the edge of the dock, staring out at the water as if he was considering jumping off and drowning himself. "I think... I know... back on L2, back when I was on the streets. I was an obnoxious little brat. I wanted attention, wanted the little kids to follow me like I followed Solo. I made like I knew everything and they ate it up. I pissed off the wrong person one day, a drunk soldier. He called me street scum and I flipped him off. He pulled out his semi-automatic and just started firing at me. Nick and Penny were with me. He shot them dead, just 'cuz they were with me." He shivered and then looked even angrier, brows coming down over seething amethyst eyes. "They were the first, but there were a lot of others... people who were just standing with me, close, when someone wanted to try and take me out."
"You have made yourself responsible for something that wasn't your fault," Wu Fei surmised and Duo looked at him with wide eyes."You have made it your responsibility to keep everyone else safe."
Duo thought hard about that and then he whispered shakily, "Yeah."
Wu Fei felt relief, felt the world right itself without having realized that it had been off it's axis. Duo Maxwell wasn't afraid for himself. "You are not a coward," Wu Fei said, without realizing that he was saying it aloud.
Duo bristled. "Fucking straight! Is that what you were thinking?"
"Because of the information you have given me, it was a conclusion," Wu Fei explained and couldn't help giving Duo a small bow of apology. "I was finding it very difficult to believe."
Duo looked chagrined and then guilty. "Sorry. I guess... I guess what you think of me means a lot more than... than I thought it would. It was too hard to tell you about it."
"I understand," Wu Fei replied and then backed off, seeing how tense Duo was. He let the silence grow between them and then said, finally, "So, you wanted to swim today? I think I would like to do that as well."
Duo eyed him and then grinned. "Is this my pat on the head for spilling my guts, you taking a swim in freezing water with me?"
Wu Fei gave a single nod and found himself smiling as well.
They walked back to the cabin together, Duo only stopping briefly to pat the small dog on the head, but he didn't linger. When they reached the cabin, Wu Fei said, "Allow me to make breakfast."
Duo eyed him as he opened the door and waited for Wu Fei to proceed him. "Only if I don't get fish and rice."
"Omelets?" Wu Fei suggested.
"Sounds good." Duo flopped onto the couch and sighed as he stretched out.
"Don't fall asleep," Wu Fei warned as he took out a small pan and placed it on the stove burner. "It won't keep."
Duo yawned, but assured him, "I'm okay. Wish there was a vidscreen here, though."
"That would be counter productive," Wu Fei replied as he took eggs and cheese from the small refrigerator. "This is a place to rest and forget about the outside world for a short while."
"Yeah, well I managed to bring problems in my luggage," Duo said sourly. He sat up suddenly. "I should wake Heero up. I wouldn't want him to miss omelettes."
"Duo," Wu Fei rummaged under the sink and found a small box of hardware for minor repairs. He took out some nails and a light hammer. "I think this will solve at least one of your problems,"he said as he held them out to Duo.
Duo took them, puzzled. "Uh, which problem?"
"The window," Wu Fei reminded him.
Duo blushed even as he chuckled. "See, you're good!" Duo exclaimed as he turned away and walked towards their room. "You'll have everything solved in no time."
Wu Fei sighed as he turned back to the stove. He hoped that childish statement by Duo was a joke.. Habits and traumas, suffered in childhood, weren't going to be addressed in days. In fact, therapy was becoming more and more a viable suggestion. Wu Fei was certain that he could find someone with enough experience dealing with soldiers, to make Duo comfortable. Convincing Duo to trust such a person might be the only problem that he might have to solve.
Wu Fei finished the omelets. He wasn't an expert cook, but, like Duo, he could handle a small repertoire of dishes; fish and rice being one of them, he thought with wry amusement. Placing the food on a platter at the center of the table, he called tentatively, "Breakfast is ready, gentlemen!"
Heero came out of the bedroom first, wearing just a pair of jeans and dark socks. He padded over to the table and sat down as if he were still half asleep. His chocolate hair was all awry and small lines showed on the skin of his face where some fold of pillow or sheet had left an impression there. He yawned and scratched at his scalp.
"Duo decided to take a shower," Heero told Wu Fei. "He won't be long."
Wu Fei heard the water and the sound of the pipes, and he thought of setting the table, but he found himself staring at Heero's naked chest instead. The man was lean, every muscle defined, and he was crisscrossed by thick and thin scars. There was a puckered area as well, where it looked as if he had been shot. It was a map of Heero's dangerous life, depicted on his skin. Wu Fei found himself feeling awe, sympathy, and... he told himself it was normal as he flushed and turned to get plates from the cupboard. He told himself that he was a homosexual, that he was attracted to men, that there was nothing wrong with... getting excited by seeing Heero's dark, stiff nipples.
There was silence now, as Duo's shower ended. Fast on trying to recover from a reaction to the lover of the man who Wu Fei was attracted to, he was suddenly hit with a mental image of a naked Duo toweling off in a steamed filled bathroom. A wave of heat went through Wu Fei's body and he found himself reacting physically. Mortified at such a loss of control, and afraid Heero would see it, Wu Fei muttered something about going to his room. Before he could turn and escape, a hand was placed on the counter on either side of him. Bare arms, cored in muscle, with their own share of scars, kept Wu Fei facing the kitchen counter.
Heero smelled like musk and male as his body pressed to Wu Fei's. Heero leaned, bowing Wu Fei over with his strength. Then Wu Fei felt Heero's pelvis pressing against his backside as Heero took a dominant position. Heero rubbed ever so slightly and Wu Fei felt an erection there, stiff and prominent. Heero nuzzled under Wu Fei's ear, breath hot. Wu Fei felt himself...melt... there was no other way to describe it. Heero was mounting him, showing obvious dominance, and he was, bowing to it, letting it happen, lacking the desire to fight back.
It lasted moments, an eternity, and then Heero said very distinctly, "Don't run away. Be honest. Follow your emotions." He released Wu Fei gently then, and, by the time Wu Fei was straightening and turning around, Heero was sitting at the table as if nothing had happened and Duo was coming in the room, whistling and braiding his hair.
Duo was dressed in shorts and a loose shirt. His bare feet padded over wood floors as he blinked at the table and then went to get the dishes himself. "Sit down," he told Wu Fei good naturedly. "I'll set the table. "Do you want water? Juice? Coffee?"
"Tea," Heero said around a yawn and slumped on the table, chin supported on his fist.
"Chang?" Duo asked as he set the table. When Wu Fei found it impossible to gather his thoughts, Duo leaned down into his line of sight. "Are you feeling okay? You look... weird."
Wu Fei's temper burst through his confusion and he knew he was scowling. He couldn't help a tight lipped, "I'm fine... tea will be fine."
Duo blinked and then straightened. "Okay, guess you're another one who gets grumpy before his caffeine."
Duo turned back to the kitchen and Wu Fei turned his glare on Heero. Heero was watching Duo and... Wu Fei's anger roiled in confusion, not sure of it's ground. Heero was watching Duo with a mixture of gentleness and longing, a look any man would have for his love. The feeling of Heero pressing against him, the knowledge that he had bowed to his dominance, had accommodated Heero's advance, was generating a level of shame in Wu Fei that was rivaling his anger. Wu Fei considered himself a dominant personality. He was strength and the one in control. It couldn't be that his body would betray him as something other than what his personality pretended... other than what it WAS, he amended fiercely to himself. He told himself that he had only been caught off guard, that Heero had confused him. And what sort of head game was Heero playing anyhow?
Wu Fei continued to glare at Heero and Heero continued to act as if nothing had happened between them. Was it revenge? Was it a warning? Heero had effectively shown his virility, shown his strength, and shown his ability to make Wu Fei bow to his... Wu Fei clamped down on that with a dose of denial. He had been surprised, nothing more. Another moment and he would have found the anger he was feeling now and shoved the man off. Wu Fei's anger was righteous, until he remembered that it was Heero who he wished to take Duo away from. It was this man's lover that he was attracted to, so strongly that he couldn't even hide it. Any other man would have done more than embarrass him, Wu Fei thought. Another man would have used his fists.
The situation had suddenly become untenable, Wu Fei thought bitterly. He needed to leave that situation, go back to Preventer headquarters and attempt to steer Duo to a qualified psychologist when he and Heero returned. He couldn't help Duo when he was so physically, and emotionally, a stubborn part of him added, involved with him. He was only going to cause a rift, one that was going to cause Heero to finally act like the jealous lover he should be, and Duo to be hurt.
"Okay, Heero, what the hell did you say to Wu Fei while I was taking a shower?" Duo suddenly demanded. He was holding two steaming cups of tea in his hands and facing them both, his angry gaze on Heero. "He looks pissed enough to chew on the silverware."
Heero grunted and then said as he took his tea, "I told him that he could be honest with us."
"About?" Duo demanded as he gave Wu Fei his tea. When Heero didn't reply, Duo made an exasperated sound."Heero, you made it sound like Wu Fei's been lying to us. I can see why he would be pissed!"
Wu Fei went cold. His anger tied itself into a knot. Trust Duo to see things clearer than anyone. He had been lying, lying about his feelings and lying about his underlying motives for being on that vacation to begin with. Heero saw it. Heero had taunted him with it. 'Called him to pay the piper' Duo would have said. Heero had shown him the base desire that he felt for Duo and was trying to hide.
Wu Fei bowed his head to Heero, deeply and respectfully from where he sat. "Heero is correct, Duo. Please, don't be angry with him."
Duo frowned, looked from Wu Fei to Heero and then shook his head as he sat down. "You guys make me crazy. If there's no problem, then let's eat."
Wu Fei nodded and kept his eyes on his omelet as he slowly ate, not wanting to see Heero's reaction to his bow. Later, he would say that Une had called... another mission... a report not filed... anything to get him out of that situation. Heero wanted him to be honest, but he couldn't, much to his shame, if he wanted to keep his friends and not make Duo's problems worse than they were. It was true that he lusted after Duo Maxwell, but he was determined not cause himself, or Maxwell and Yuy, any more dishonor because of it.
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