Author: Maldoror
Title: The Arrangement ­ the war days.
Rated R for sexual content, violence, language, and some other stuff I'll specify in the relevant chapters.
Disclaimer: The usual, Gundam Wing belongs to its owners (Bandai, Sunset, and a whole host of others, none of which are me) and I'm not making any money off of them. Not a single peanut.

WARNING: Okay, please read this, or you're not allowed to flame me.

This is NOT A ROMANCE as such. This is a story about an intricate relationship between two slightly warped men. Though it will evolve throughout the story's length (15 chapters, give or take... ) into something complex and deep, if you're expecting this to end with candles and moonlight and sap, you're going to be disappointed. Also, it's from Wufei's POV, and though I step out of it slightly from time to time, it's mainly seen through his eyes. This means the story doesn't always say what it means or means what it says. Sometimes you'll have to read between the lines.

Oh and since this is a story about an essentially sexual relation (at least to start with), there's a fair amount of citrus. Most are light limes, like this one, some might be on mm.org only (chapter links will be provided for ffnet users over 17).

And no. Wufei does not go on and on about justice, though he does mention it occasionally in context... I tried to bring out the complexities of his character, as well as Heero's (to a lesser extent).

Enjoy!

 (Big thanks to t3h j4ck for re-reading this and making sure this chapter didn't come out half-baked. I owes ya! Thanks also to Crimson for planting the notion of a 1x5 in my twisted little cranium, I hope this isn't too far out of what you were expecting... )

The Arrangement + Chapter 1
Part I

Punch, lunge.

Kata and meditation. Two sides of the same coin. The kind you placed in a corpse's mouth before the journey to the underworld.

Swing, bend, kick.

The meditation helped him take a step back from everything that his life had become. A never-ending pursuit of justice, strength, revenge. A living monument to the dead.

Dodge, swing, punch-punch.

The katas... plunged him right into it. He WAS justice. Strength. And above all, revenge.

Straighten, kick wide.

The kata was a distillation of the battle fury that blew all traces of sadness and doubt from his soul.

Slide fist down leg, sweep, turn, punch.

And it existed only for one thing. To harness the fury, and fight.

Straighten, fists pulled back in to sides. Breathe out. Fists down.

Never enough though.

Stop.

"Got an eyeful?" Wufei snarled.

There was no perky, embarrassed answer. He turned in surprise. The presence he'd felt behind him wasn't Maxwell, creeping up behind him to ogle him during his practice (for the third time).

Wufei'd retreated to the Gundam's shed, where their metal alter-egos lay like sheeted corpses in a morgue upon their flatbed trucks. The huge space was mostly shadows, but there was one light flickering where none should be. The laptop's screen made the cobalt blue eyes glisten.

Of course. There was only one other pilot who was just as likely to be here as Duo, though he wouldn't have come to look at Wufei.

Heero Yuy was sitting next to Wing's open hatch, reading something on the laptop's screen. He didn't bother to respond or even glance over at Wufei.

"Thought it was Maxwell." Wufei said in lieu of apology, not that any were needed, and turned away. The Chinese pilot wondered how long Heero had been there. And if he was also escaping from Maxwell. Probably.

Wufei brought his fists up to his waist, breathed, then started to move, the twenty-four step Yang form as ingrained as the katas. As he slowly reached, stepped, turned, body almost floating, his mind dwelt lightly on Heero Yuy.

He'd been slightly curious about Heero when they'd first met. Not that much though. The slow moves of the Tai Chi forms were misleading to the casual observer. Except when he was meditating, Wufei was never that tranquil. He was a battlefield of emotions; anger, humiliation at his failures, the burning desire to become better, stronger, to finally accomplish his revenge, to attain justice for the fallen... that storm tossed a few other feelings around like beaten rags, and curiosity was one of them, easily forgotten. Mainly he'd wondered if the same storm blew through Heero. The way the man laughed after shooting down half a dozen mobile suits was enough to make a typhoon shiver and creep away quietly.

He'd observed the other youth for awhile, and decided they were not the same at all. Yuy could control his emotions perfectly and was an admirable soldier, but he wasn't constantly taming and challenging and pushing himself to become any better. Heero was a weapon. He didn't have a purpose. He was a purpose. Sometimes, Wufei caught himself envying the simplicity and icy calm of that state of being. But he wouldn't trade it for the storm that gave him strength as it constantly ripped him apart. This was who he was.

Wufei finished the Yang forms and started on the more vigorous Chen. Slow movements uncoiling into more rapid twists and lunges, like a snake uncoiling to strike.

He wished Heero would spar with him. He'd seen some video footage of his escape from the OZ base, as well as some other actions. Yuy was better than Barton and way above the other two, and Wufei longed to see how he measured up against him. But he was sure Yuy would not agree to a match; he wouldn't see the point. Wufei was constantly trying to find new tests to measure and improve his skills. Heero only knew missions and the most efficient way to fulfil them. He trained against the enemy. It didn't matter to him that most enemies they faced ­including the hated mindless puppets Romefeller were using now- were way below him and didn't test the purity of his skills the way one-on-one bare-hand combat would...

His loss.

Wufei finished the form, then started the series of pressure point movements which always made him think of his master. The old man had sworn by the Thirty Four Points method, which, he told his pupil, would insure Wufei would never go deaf, or suffer from arthritis in his old age. The Chinese pilot still performed the moves, fingers pressing and rubbing vigorously over points of his skull and his joints, never mind the fact he was likely to be dead before his sixteenth year was finished; it wasn't something that occupied his thoughts much. He just remembered the wrinkled old man in the artificial dawn of the colony, in a simple tunic and loose pants quite removed from his usual ceremonial garments, doing the same slow moves day after day... until... enough.

Wufei fell back into first form. Straight, legs slightly apart. Breathe. Draw fists up to the side, elbows bent back. Breathe. Begin. The cleansing violence of the kata took him over once again.

A flicker of feeling tried to tell him that dark blue eyes were, in fact, watching him over the top of the computer's screen. The feeling was ripped apart by the storm. It was probably wrong anyway.

*

Several days passed and still no mission, just the endless running, dodging and evading of enemy troops, swarming like ants after giants. There was no opportunity for a real fight, and Wufei was beginning to feel the lack, a creeping numbness in his mind. Without real battle, the storm died, and most of his soul died with it.

Wufei sat, cross-legged, in the spare room. In the dark, bar a trickle of sunshine from the shuttered windows and the light coming in from the partially open living room door. All the pilots were feeling the pressure, and Maxwell was fast becoming unbearable. Some things in particular were getting... hard to ignore. Wufei snarled silently, forcing the braided fool out of his thoughts, he'd interrupted him enough! And beating him up would not provide much of a challenge. Hopefully Duo wouldn't come looking for him in a dark and apparently empty room. Wufei needed to meditate or he was going to go insane.  

Emotions roiled and he separated his centre from the sticky strands, forcing himself to rise above them, confront them, dominate them and subdue them. Putting his mind through the same kind of gruelling, punishing routine he inflicted upon his body.

Meilan in a field of flowers; flowers of fire as his colony exploded like a budding rose; rose scent from Treize holding a sabre to his throat before letting him go as if casually tossing out useless broken suit parts floating in space and among them Meilan in a field of flowers of fire as his colony exploded like a budding rose scent from-...

The front door closed with a click. Wufei glanced up automatically checking for danger. It was Yuy, back from one of his endless revisions of Wing (well everyone needed a hobby).

Wufei didn't relax. Something was... off. He unfolded his legs and leaned forward to better see out the half-open door.

Heero stood at the entrance to the living room, staring straight ahead. The slight scowl was usual. The tension in his shoulders was not. Neither Trowa nor Quatre noticed though. To Wufei's practiced eye, the slight imbalance in Yuy's stance screamed trouble

Heero's eyes flicked over Quatre who glanced up in nervous surprise at the foreign feelings brushing him. The gaze lasted all of a heartbeat, sweeping on dismissively and resting on Trowa on the couch. Trowa was motionless for a few seconds, reading a mission print-out under the blow-torch glare. Then he lifted his head, one steady green glance from behind the thick bangs, eyes calm and flat. Heero hesitated then his eyes travelled on. They caught on Duo as he walked out of the kitchen with a ration bar and the scowl that exploded onto Heero's features sent the braided L2 pilot ducking back into the kitchen on pure instinct. Wufei didn't blame him.

The eyes ran over the room, still searching. Wufei rose in a fluid movement and walked to the door. Cobalt blue eyes caught his movement and focused on him. He felt himself weighed and measured to the last atom. Hackles rising slightly he faced the gaze with the calm of his lingering trance.

"Chang. A word." Heero turned without any further comment and headed out the door again. Three pairs of eyes ­Duo had cautiously emerged from the kitchen- fastened on him. Wufei followed Wing's pilot calmly.

Heero was walking quickly two dozen feet ahead as if he'd had no doubt of being followed. Wufei felt a little needling urge to return to the safe-house, but ignored it. Heero would have a good reason to want to talk to him, and if he was high-handed it was because he didn't see the need to be anything otherwise. There was a war on; matters of politeness were contemptible.

A change of direction caught Wufei off guard. He'd assumed they were heading to the barn where the Gundams were housed still on their flatbed trucks. But Heero, with a glance behind them, had taken off at an angle and was walking swiftly toward the left. Wufei remembered a long low shed off to one side of the property they were hiding out in. It housed a broken tractor and a lot of dusty empty space. He followed, curious.

Heero was staring at the tractor when Wufei closed the door behind him and moved into the shed, hazy dust-speckled sunlight rippling around his movements. Then the L1 pilot turned and walked in a half circle around Wufei, keeping a few feet of space between them. Wufei could feel cobalt blue eyes on him, coldly assessing him, his reaction to something. Was he needed for a mission? No, this felt different.

Wufei ignored the man who was moving slowly between him and the door although of course he noted the position. He moved forward a few feet eyeing the tractor, a broken rusty relic rearing from folds of tarp like a fossilized reptile half caught in rock.

"I find myself with an issue." Yuy's voice echoed behind him in the dusty air, flat, slightly nasal. "You may be affected too. I want to suggest a mutually beneficial arrangement."

Wufei turned slowly to face the soldier.

"We are at war and cannot afford distractions." Heero's voice was abrupt, his eyes as hard as always. "However, adrenaline, hormones and the after-effects of action take their toll on self-control. Sexual tension can interfere with proper functioning. We can assist each other with that."

"You wish me to teach you how to control your urges through meditation?" Wufei asked, slightly derisively. His face was his usual mask, impassive bordering on disdainful. Behind the facade he was dealing with the shock that Heero Yuy had just admitted to having urges that broke his iron self-control.

The offer of meditation was padding against the second shock, which was what he thought Heero was actually proposing-... and it wasn't anything to do with mental exercises.

"Meditation helps you with this?" Heero's voice was coldly incredulous.

"Any weakness can be overcome with sufficient focus and determination." Wufei snapped, looking down his nose.

"Is that why your temper around Maxwell has gotten steadily worse over the past few days?" Now the nasal voice was downright mocking.

Wufei's eyes glittered with anger. "Maxwell annoys me!"

"Yes, but you can ignore that. The fact that he's flirting with you is what seems to be getting to you."

Wufei's fists clenched in anger, though he couldn't actually deny it. "Well there's your answer then, Yuy. He's been flirting with you too, maybe you should-"

"Don't insult me." A cold sneer. "I need physical release, not an emotional train-wreck. Maxwell ­and Winner- do not have the detachment necessary to see this as a need to relieve, a purely physical problem. They lack, as you call it, focus."

"Try Barton."

Blue eyes weighed him again carefully. Wufei felt himself grow hostile under that gaze as it judged him and found his answer wanting. "I can, if I need to, though I'd rather not. Barton is an unknown quantity to me. I don't think he has the emotions to get in the way. But I'm not sure he has the need either."

"And I do?"

A smirk was his only answer.

Wufei turned and walked slowly towards the tractor, getting his temper back under control. He heard footsteps shadow his a few feet away.

"So is your hand injured?" Wufei asked, once more impassive as he faced Heero again.

"Hand? Oh. I find that sharing the need is more satisfying."

"Really."

"One of the rebel soldiers who worked with J partnered me previously but now I need another arrangement."

Onyx eyes narrowed. Arrangement. Partnered. What... quaint terms. Yuy was ten feet away, between Wufei and the exit.

Partnered? "I guess we can discuss-" Wufei's eyes flicked to the door behind Heero in surprise and annoyance. Heero glanced behind him then turned back with a question in the cobalt blue eyes that was answered by the gun pointing straight between them. Heero glared at it.

"A simple 'no' would have sufficed." Anger and adrenaline radiated from the deadly killer.

Wufei ignored the death-threat scowl. "That's what I wanted to be sure of."

"... If I was a rapist, Chang, I would be making my own arrangements." The voice was coldly contemptuous. "In that case you would not be my first choice of victim."

But he had been his first choice for the... arrangement. Wufei was now the one weighing, measuring. Trying to figure out if he was supposed to be slightly flattered or hugely offended. Neither felt right in the face of Heero's attitude; a straightforward and efficient approach to a calmly stated problem. That was what was keeping Wufei's temper in check. Because part of him ­in fact the biggest part of him since his clan was destroyed, erasing his past, his self, in a blaze of fire - thought like that too. Efficiency. You saw a problem and you solved it and then you went on to kill the enemy in bigger and better ways. But still... there was one point on which they seemed to be different.

"Not your choice of victim? I think you enjoy challenges."  Wuefei finally said.

"I do. But I keep things separate." Yes, neatly compartmentalized, Wufei thought. "And I am no rapist." Heero repeated, obviously waiting for Wufei to put the gun away so he could leave. Partnered...

"Neither am I. But then again I seem to have better control over myself than you do in this matter at least." Blue eyes blazed in cold fury and Wufei's finger instinctively put pressure on the trigger. Then he loosened it again, and lifted the gun. "I have other needs though. I've seen some of your hand-to-hand fighting skills, I'm curious to measure myself against them."

Without the gun in his face Heero was actually listening to him, but the blue eyes looked puzzled. The man can only think in straight lines, Wufei thought. He glanced down at the gun in his hand, saw his thumb brush on the safety as if it belonged to a stranger. He couldn't quite believe he was contemplating... as a small piece of him cringed, the answer came out from the dead part of his soul, the one that didn't care about anything but battle anymore.

"Pin me, and you have your... arrangement." He tossed the gun aside. It hit the beaten dirt ground with a thud, spinning lazily.

Heero stared at him for a whole ten seconds. Enough time for the part of Wufei's mind that could still worry about details to catch up with him.

"But no-... " Wufei stared at his own raised finger, tension ringing through him. No what? What exactly did Yuy have in mind? Wufei's knowledge about these matters was nil. He didn't even know what it was that he didn't-

Heero turned his back on Wufei, who was surprised at the strength of both his relief and disappointment. But Heero didn't leave; he slowly reached behind him and drew his own gun out of its back holster by the top of the barrel and flicked on the safety blind, before turning and tossing the weapon to join Wufei's, whose tension returned with a vengeance.

"No penetration. Agreed." Heero lifted an arm and rolled his shoulder, eyes steady and thoughtful as if he hadn't just said that.

The words were making this all too real to Wufei as he dropped into a defensive stance. The dead part of his soul shivered in anticipation of a real challenge; the small part that was still the prim, reserved scholar was swearing to do all that was possible to not get pinned down and-

Heero didn't adopt a stance or anything, he just leapt forward. No formal style, Wufei had time to think, then he was parrying blows that were still light and probing but probably wouldn't be so for long.

The warrior took over, and Wufei welcomed him. The battle-hardened fighter couldn't feel pain, loneliness, despair, humiliation, doubt. The emotions were blown away and he became a thing of controlled dark fury, the heart of the storm.

The emotions coursing through him now were harsh and crude; dark joy at seeing the cobalt blue eyes widen in surprise as he spun and twisted with ease inside Heero's guard. It was like punching gundanium, he felt he'd bruised his fist more than Heero's ribs. He'd held back a bit, the blow wasn't crippling. Heero wasn't trying to injure him, and he, in turn, wouldn't do anything to remove a gundam pilot from the war effort even temporarily. It would soon be obvious to Heero he couldn't get through his guard.

Wufei blocked a blow that numbed his arm for a few seconds and retaliated instinctively, following the moves that had been imprinted into his very cells by constant practice. Fist pistoning out ­Heero dodged- half a step forward to keep him off-balance, strike again- But he could feel it, the sheer potential in the lithe body he was targeting as Heero manoeuvred to get into position, analysing Wufei's moves.

Wufei smiled in fierce elation. At last an opponent to his measure. What Yuy wanted from him almost seemed a fair deal in exchange for finally fighting someone who could challenge his best, who wasn't an abyss of weakness pulling him down. Wufei's smile widened as Heero's quick jab got through his guard, striking his side before he could entirely twist out of the way. The pain was a small flash of light in the fury of the storm, easily ignored.

He couldn't pin down Yuy's style, it was so different from sparring with a real martial artist- Wufei suddenly bent at the knees, blocked Yuy's automatic kick, shoved the leg and shot up in his opponent's slight stagger, left fist up for a punch to the jaw that would put Yuy out for the count- Heero moved faster than was almost imaginable and the fist merely knocked him in the mouth in passing. Wufei was already following through with his right fist. Heero intercepted; the hard blow impacted on a steely arm which barely moved a fraction.

Heero dropped back a few steps, running a casual thumb across his lip to flick away blood seeping from a small split. His eyes were measuring Wufei more carefully now. The perfect soldier smiled, a small cold movement of the lips that must have stung and didn't reach his eyes.

Thirty seconds later, Wufei was flat on his back. Two steel hands were wrapped around his wrists, a strong body was pinning his legs and sides, and he was staring up dazedly at two cobalt blue eyes that showed as much emotion as the LED in a computer. Wufei tried to twist against the hold but he could barely move. He glared up at the victor. Who was waiting. Giving him, he realized, the option to change his mind if he wanted to.

"I'm as good as my word." Wufei snapped, offended. "You can-"

Hard lips crushed his own, not so much a kiss as another kind of hold. Wufei tasted blood, he couldn't tell whose. Heero's body twisted against his own, his knee forcing Wufei's legs slightly apart, lowering and- Wufei tensed as he felt Heero grind down against him, groin to groin, a hard nearly bruising movement.

Wufei lay, unmoving, mind replaying those last thirty seconds, trying to figure out how Heero had beaten his guard so quickly. Trying to distract himself. Not so much from what Heero was doing ­ it was the winner's prerogative, and hardly the worse he could have chosen to do with it- as from his own body's mechanical reaction to the friction. He didn't need that. This was humiliating enough.

A writhing part of Wufei he wasn't fully in touch with insisted that this was only fair. He'd lost. He'd not been strong enough. A man who lost deserved death or humiliation; not to be let go as if he was nothing.

The lips left his own. Wufei took a trembling gasp of air, his body still shaking a bit from the brutal take-down that had pinned him to the chaff-ridden dirt floor. The rhythm of thrusts increased, Heero was breathing hard near his shoulder. The hold on his wrists became painful, then bruising, then agonisingly crushing. Wufei snarled silently but said nothing. Winner's privilege, he thought, grinding it into his mind to ignore the grinding of flesh against his own, and his own hardness in response.

The steel body pinning his stiffened, then, well, it wasn't a relaxation, more a slight uncoiling of tension. Wufei shifted. Fine, now they could just forget the whole-

The lips crushed his again, and Wufei gave a muffled cry of surprise. What the-

Heero released Wufei's bruised left wrist ­his hand, numbed by the pressure, could only twitch for a few seconds- and dropped between them, jerking Wufei's black cloth belt loose and slipping down to- Wufei gave another muffled shout, and his weakened left arm shoved against a hard shoulder, which didn't move an inch. His right hand was still pinned down with bone-cracking force and the body atop of his stopped him from twisting away. Wufei's initial fear ­to have that hard hold on a much more delicate part of himself than his wrist ­ gave way to anger and affront as he realized that the hand was gentler than he dreaded but was purposefully caressing him, half-hardened as he was, with sure, efficient movements.

He didn't-! He didn't require this! His left fist tensed but there wasn't much he could do with just one hand. Well, no, there was a lot he could do, but not while Heero had his own left hand where it was; this was no time to startle the perfect soldier with a sucker punch or a nerve pinch. Wufei cursed internally, anger burning through him, matching the humiliation as his body responded. He tried to control it, deny it, ignore it, not even notice exactly what Heero was doing to him, and how it felt, and all this wasn't helped by the fact that... even left-handed, Yuy... appeared to be...

... very...

... talented...

...

Wufei slowly returned to the low shed, dust falling eternally in the crude light, the smell of dirt, oil and old wheat muffling the more organic scents of sex and sweat. His body was thrumming, and he was embarrassingly wet and sticky and thoroughly confused about how he felt about any of this. Heero released his wrist and rose in a fluid, unconsciously graceful movement, neither looking at Wufei significantly nor particularly avoiding his glance. It was as if nothing special had happened. Slight gratitude for that went into the emotional mix churning in the Chinese man's guts. He managed to sit up, rubbing his arm across numbed and bruised lips, head spinning. He heard Heero pick up his gun then rummage near the tractor behind them.

"Here."

Wufei turned and barely caught the rag before it hit him in the face. He glared at Heero who was wiping his hands against the spandex, oblivious. The long green tank top, now hanging loose from the shorts, dropped low enough to hide any traces of their... activities. Wufei grudgingly cleaned himself up and straightened his clothes, wishing the mental repercussions could be sorted as easily. A strong hand appeared before him. He glared up, ignoring it. Cobalt blue eyes measured him again.

"Do we have an arrangement?"

Wufei stared in anger and disbelief, fighting to keep his face impassive as he tried to figure out what to say. Since he wasn't sure himself.

Heero's eyes dropped to the dirty oil-stained rag Wufei was holding. "Next time I'll bring something cleaner." He added.

"Next time I won't go down so easily, Yuy!" Wufei snarled, surging to his feet, ignoring the proffered hand. It was withdrawn without embarrassment. The other one was extended. Wufei stared for three second at his gun held out to him by the barrel, then he took it without a word and holstered it. A small humourless smile brushed Heero's lips as he turned away and walked to the door. Wufei, who couldn't quite believe what he'd said and implied, followed.

They walked back side by side in silence. Heero was quiet because he was, well, Heero. And Wufei was busy sorting through the words that would explain some things to Yuy, hopefully right after they'd explained things to Wufei.

He didn't know what he felt about the... arrangement he'd just agreed to. Well, furious and embarrassed, of course. But also oddly... pleased that Heero had chosen him, had realized he had the focus and dedication to not let something like this interfere with his efficiency. And it didn't; because all the emotions he felt were just flapping around uselessly in the cold wind roaring in his soul, temporarily sated with the aftertaste of a real battle. No, the deal was fair... except for...

Wufei had been a scholar once, before the storm. He was widely read, and knew quite a bit about traditions in many Asian countries. He knew what he'd agreed to; shudo, the Japanese called it. The sexual relations between samurai who, shunning the weakness of women and the ties they implied, preferred the company of men. That he understood, and as such he wasn't repulsed, or dishonoured. On the contrary. The relations were normally between an older, more experienced warrior and a younger one. As such, it probably hadn't surprised Heero that Wufei had suggested a fight first, just to establish who was who in their relations, since they were the same age. But the fact that Heero had also... why creep around the facts. The fact that Heero had jerked him off afterwards indicated that the Japanese youth considered him something of an equal, or at least, a fellow warrior with the same urges he had. It was a neat, efficient solution to a problem, typical of the perfect soldier. Heero hadn't meant to insult him, either with the proposal or the... the last part.

As such, Wufei didn't know how to find the words to tell him he didn't want anything to do with that bit. In his view, his share of the... arrangement would be the chance to measure himself against someone who could beat him fair and square. He already knew how he'd respond to some of the moves Heero had shown him today. Next time, he wouldn't go down so easily.

But when he did go down ­ and he was good enough a fighter to realize that it would take more than one round for him to figure out Heero's informal fighting style- he didn't want Heero pawing him afterwards, he didn't need that release.

Not that it wasn't-... No, he didn't need it.

He used meditation to calm those urges. No, actually, he used the memory of Meilan ­ a hundred thin needles rammed themselves into his heart and soul, in a customary act of self-punishment- to conquer the urges, then meditation to recover his calm and his centre, to allow himself to accept, once more, that he'd failed his wife and that she was dead, just as he'd failed his clan and they were dead, and that revenge for both was still lacking due to his failure, his weakness. The controlled fury washed him clean of all sexual urges.

But...

The thought crept into his mind that if he let Heero continue to uphold his end of their... arrangement, then he could concentrate on taming some other demon during his sessions of meditation. It was embarrassing ­not the need for sexual relief, he felt no shame about that, he was just ashamed he couldn't control it better- but then if he could spend time improving his mental stability, while at the same time increasing his martial skills against Heero... he would surely be only the stronger and better for it...

When they reached the house, he'd said nothing to Heero, and he knew he wouldn't now. The deal was done.

"Ah there they-sweet mother of god!" Duo gaped at the bruises evident on Wufei's arms and Heero's split lip. "Wh-what, did you guys fight?!"

"Sparring." Wufei and Heero both answered at the same time. And turned as one towards Quatre. The blonde dropped his book and recoiled in the armchair under the double-barrelled gaze daring him to comment or even feel anything strange with his empathy. Quatre's lips moved silently in protest at the intensity of the stares and the underlying warning, shrinking helplessly into himself, until two long arms were placed protectively on the armrests on either side of him.

Wufei and Heero shifted their gaze towards Trowa, leaning over Quatre and the back of the armchair and making a rampart of calm green eyes against black and blue. Heero measured him up with slight surprise and turned away. Wufei noted his small sneer of disdain, and glanced back at the two. No, he didn't think Heero had it right, he was thinking in straight lines again; those two weren't lovers, at least not in the physical sense. It was more something like inter-dependency, maybe some friendship. Wufei didn't care. It wouldn't affect Trowa's performance. And though Wufei judged that Quatre had way too many weaknesses for a true warrior, his positive points made him a good tactical leader who, in the midst of battle, wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice any one of them including Trowa if he had to.

Wufei turned his back on the three in the living room and walked towards the small room he shared with no-one. He heard the shower running down the hall and hoped Heero wouldn't use up all of their meagre supply of hot water. He went to grab some clean clothes ­dirt and wheat-chaff clung to his white pants and he was still sticky- and waited his turn, trying not to think. He was getting very good at that.

*

NOTE: The Yang and Chen forms are schools of Tai Chi. The pressure points forms (whose name, to my great shame, I have forgotten) is also part of that discipline, and boy does it hurt like hell. As for shudo, also known as wakashu-do (it has other names as well), the term used to describe homosexual practices among samurai in Japan in the 16th to 18th century, I'm sure you can find more information on that on the net.

I make Wufei practice katas here because it is a canon of fanfics, but katas are Japanese. Chinese refer to the pattern of formal exercises that allow the practice of martial arts as 'forms' (loose translation into English, natch, I don't know the Chinese and couldn't find it, someone please tell me). I kept kata so people would know what I meant.

[chap. 2] [back to Maldoror's fic]