Genre: Action, Drama, Humour (some)
Pairings: 1x5x1, others tba
Warnings: Violence, language, sex, adult situations
Spoilers: Yes, quite a lot for end of series (no EW though)
Feedback: Please! Particularly what you like/don't like about the fic.
Disclaimer: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.
AN: All praise to Dawna, again, though this chapter was subjected to so
much last-minute heavy editing that there are probably many typos left
(my fault! All mine! Blame me!)
Arrangement + Chapter 39
The Distance Between Need And Want, Part II
"Force tells weak from strong
for a time; truth tells right from wrong for all time."
Wufei missed the last shuttle by twenty-five minutes. He wandered over
to the information desk, mind buzzing. After half an hour of staring blindly
at advertisements for local hotels, a big man in overalls and a three-day-old
beard showed up and asked him if Wufei was the guy that he was meant to
pick up to take to Earth. He identified himself as Captain Jules, of the
Sweeper corvette Mariah. He didn't ask for Wufei's name, nor did he seem
particularly surprised when Wufei followed him without a word.
That was a pretty hopeless order for his mind to follow; the only way
Wufei would be able to not think would be to go deep into meditation,
and he wouldn't be able to do that surrounded by a rowdy Sweeper crew,
or anybody for that matter.
Don't think. It's pointless.
All Heero said, all he did the last few weeks...you don't know
what he meant with it, what he was thinking. As Duo had unwittingly pointed
out, appearances could be deceiving. Wufei had slapped his own interpretations
on Heero's behavior - out of fear, out of self-loathing for his own weaknesses.
But he couldn't be sure. He thought he understood his partner - but hadn't
Heero thought the same thing about him? Wufei had managed to hide a lot
from him for awhile now, even as he was hiding it from himself.
Maybe there could have been another explanation to Heero's behavior. Certainly,
Heero needed him, a convenient sword at his back, that was true; but as
the three other pilots had apparently discovered, need didn't automatically
preclude anything else, anything deeper.
If I can imagine Heero Yuy capable of that, then I'm probably on drugs
again, Wufei thought savagely.
But I can't be certain until he actually tells me, he immediately countered.
He glowered at the arm-rest of the flight seat he'd chosen; the internal
argument was giving him a headache.
Wufei hadn't given Heero much of a chance to elaborate either way, just
tore right into him, verbally flayed him, and then left before his partner
had had time to catch his breath. Wufei decided, trying not to punch the
bulkhead, that he couldn't have handled that worse if he'd tried. Had
he been trying to break them up?!
Yeah, maybe he had been...Maybe after the tensions of the past weeks,
the five days of waiting for Heero...the two years of waiting for Heero...maybe
it just felt good to sever the tie, to stop the uncertainty, the ever-present
temptation of his own weaknesses, his own want.
You went and asked him what he wanted...
Heero Yuy has probably never had a 'want' in his life. He was trained
right out of them at the earliest age.
You knew that when you hooked up with him.
It was as if Heero was whispering in his ear again. Why is just being
partners no longer enough?
Wufei didn't know.
But he didn't think he could afford to ignore it any longer, if the blast
radius of his explosion last morning was any indication. Make or break,
he had to confront Heero - and himself - and figure out what each one
of them wanted, if anything, and if they could live without it. Actually,
if Heero was even capable of wanting anything more from their partnership,
he would probably not be able to put it into words. Hell, if it came down
to the bare bones of the matter, Wufei could shout and rant but he wasn't
really able to formulate exactly why he was unhappy with their present
Wufei closed his eyes and forced himself into a light trance, as much
as he could in an unsecured location. The Mariah wasn't a passenger ship,
and it was small even for a corvette. Wufei had helped load the few remaining
crates onto the ship, after he'd used his war-time skills to slip past
customs - they were notorious for their lack of understanding of spur-of-the-moment
travel. He was now in a nook off of the main storage facility, with half
the crew twenty feet away, playing poker and trying not to look at him.
He was going to stop thinking. And he was going back. And, once Heero
had returned the favor of that farewell punch, Wufei would do what it
took, wait as long as he needed to, just stand there and stare if that
was required, and get Heero to tell him - or show him - what he wanted.
If anything. Then...he'd know.
And then he could march out the door.
No point in thinking about it until he had all the facts in hand.
Wufei's eyes opened, and he glared at the rough metal of the bulkhead,
the divot of a pressure monitor, and a small scrawl that declared that
Jules was an asshole who couldn't get laid in a cat-house.
He was a scholar, a disciplined intellectual, a warrior of steel will,
and he'd just discovered what the Zen masters had been saying all along.
Not thinking about anything was very hard to do.
Wufei could feel Jules and his first mate stare at him as he left. It
was inquisitive, respectful, and slightly frightened. For an instant Wufei
saw it from their point of view. An urgent call from 'Sweeper Two', and
they obviously knew who that was, and who he had been. Asking them to
pick up and smuggle to earth a dark, mysterious boy, tense as a knife,
hardly speaking a word, glaring at the bulkhead the entire trip as if
he were plotting an excruciating death for it. They might even have caught
the way he'd squared his shoulders and scowled as his feet hit the tarmac
of the runway.
They probably think I'm here on a suicide mission, Wufei reflected.
They may not be entirely wrong.
An hour later he was standing in front of the workshop's door. The code
on it had not been changed.
Well, that was already a positive sign. Wartime Heero Yuy would have probably
made sure that an unreliable, emotional partner couldn't come near him
Wufei crept inside, slipped off his boots. It was nearly four in the morning
after all in Brussels. He'd not taken into account the time differences
between L2 and Europe when he'd made his spontaneous decision to come
back and have it out with his partner as soon as possible.
The workshop's main room was completely unchanged - he wondered why he'd
expected otherwise. Only the shards of his cup had been swept up. The
big room, with its different utilitarian sections, was achingly familiar,
as were the faint scents of sweat, oil from the toolshop, and old cooking
smells hanging in the air. His feet brushed against concrete, the springboard
floor, linoleum as he made his way to the stairs.
There was a very dim light under Heero's door. Wufei felt his heart twist
in his chest with tension. He'd felt this way when he'd confronted Treize,
when all his battles and trials had culminated into a final moment of
Still, it was late. Or early. If Heero was sleeping....Coward, Wufei thought.
But the conversation - or whatever it took for Heero to be able to explain
himself properly and show Wufei what he wanted - was not one Wufei wished
to conduct while they were both tired. No, that would probably lead to
disaster. He'd rest, and get up when Heero did. If Heero decided to show
up right away and continue their discussion - or punch him - then so be
it. It was his partner's call now, Wufei decided as he opened his door.
His room had been emptied.
Wufei stared around him in stunned disbelief. His first movement to turn
on the light remained frozen in mid-motion. A cold sinking feeling started
pulling his guts down to his boots.
The room felt alien. The familiarity of its box-like shape highlighted
the absence of the furniture that had been there for over a year. Wufei
found himself leaning against the doorjamb. His eyes searched the room
again and again, as if normality might be hidden in one of its corners.
There was nothing left in there that belonged to him.
So...Heero had shown Wufei what he wanted.
The room wasn't actually empty. Heero's desk had been shoved against the
far wall. His chair was positioned neatly in front of the laptop's docking
station. There was a set of metal shelves next to it, also taken from
Heero's room along with the desk, containing the gaggle of computer circuits,
mother boards, chips and electrical components Heero liked to toy with
in his spare time.
Wufei found himself nodding distantly.
Quatre had been right; Heero could certainly express himself quite adequately
with few or no words when he wanted to.
Wufei had known - grimly, realistically - that this was a likely outcome
of the discussion they were about to have. But the abruptness and finality
of this, and the fact that Heero had not even waited to hear from his
partner before he'd made up his mind, caught him short.
He turned numbly towards the stairs, then went back two steps to pick
up the bag that had slipped from his shoulder without his realizing. Abrupt
and final...but this was Heero's prerogative.
No. No, it wasn't.
The objection came, not with a wash of fury, but with a calm resolve.
No. Wufei had been wrong to leave like he had, but Heero was also wrong
in kicking him out of the house- out of their house without a single
Wufei didn't particularly hope to change Heero's mind - that was probably
the definition of an immovable object that would defeat even Archimedes's
lever. But...two years. Two years of blood and battles and brotherhood
between them, whatever else had happened. That deserved at least a few
words. On both their parts. Two wrongs did not make anything right.
He dropped the bag in the hallway again and walked towards the thin thread
of light under Heero's door. Hopefully his partner would not become violent.
Wufei did not want a fight. He just wanted this confirmed, in Heero's
own words, or even from an icy silence and a deadly scowl. And he wanted
to tell Heero that he was sorry he'd acted so badly before, because even
if it was obvious now that Wufei had been right, entirely right in the
way he'd interpreted Heero's actions these past weeks, he shouldn't have
left until Heero had had his say. That decided, Wufei drew himself up
before the door and knocked gently.
He didn't wait for an answer, just the prudent three seconds it would
take for Heero to wake up, if he'd been asleep, and put the Glock back
under the pillow. Or at least, wake up enough he wouldn't shoot anyone
coming into his room out of hand.
A twist of the knob and a shove allowed the door to swing open, though
Wufei prudently didn't step into the room right away, just in case. He
was going to wait until he heard some kind of signal before sticking his
head through the-
For the second time that night, the contents of his chest turned to ice.
This time it was in pure shock and confusion.
His dresser was standing against the opposite wall, the sight jarring
in this unusual setting.
Had Heero decided to use his furniture-?
He knew that wasn't right even as it occurred to him. He took a sharp
breath and walked through the door, glancing around.
He'd not had many possessions in his room; he used it for meditation,
and that required few distractions. The little that had been his was now
here. The mat he used to meditate on was rolled up against the wall near
the door. The dresser, presumably with his clothes, was right in front
of him. A few books he'd been studying were stacked on it. The bedside
table was a few feet away, his reading lamp was on it and provided the
pale yellow light illuminating the scene, next to his- his bed-...
The bed-frame was nowhere to be seen. But Wufei realized - after a few
confused seconds of trying to understand what he was looking at - that
the mattress had been taken from the frame and put on the floor in the
corner where Heero's bunk used to be. Heero's small and narrow mattress
had been set alongside it. Both had been laid with sheets, and a blanket
- which Wufei realized was two sleeping bags zipped together, to make
something big enough to cover the 'bed' - was thrown over them.
Heero was sitting up in the, well, bed, if you wanted to call it that;
he was leaning back against the wall, arms crossed over his bare chest,
his face set and unreadable, his shoulders hunched slightly, on the defensive.
A bruise darkened the skin of his right cheek in the dim light - pretty
small bruise, Wufei noted distractedly, he had been too upset to adjust
The silence had the quality of the one you found in temples.
Wufei licked his lips and tried to think of something to say, when he
really didn't have a clue. Words just...
He realized that one of the corners of the zipped-up-sleeping-bags-turned-blanket
was turned down on the side nearest the door. Wufei's pillow was on that
An invitation, a peace-offering. Or simply a visible sign of what Heero
wanted, when words didn't work anymore.
The blue eyes were almost hidden by the fall of thick bangs. Wufei didn't
need to see them to know they were fixed on him, scrutinizing his every
move, dissecting any trace of hesitation; Heero's whole stance was watchful,
waiting for his decision. Tension similar to Wufei's tightened the muscles
in arms and shoulders.
Wufei glanced around, a bit helplessly. He noticed that the sweats he
usually wore to bed had been removed from their drawer and were folded
on the dresser.
Right. Maybe that was the answer. Go to - he glanced once more, incredulously,
at the construction on the floor - go to, ah, 'bed', and sleep, and tomorrow-
He doubted things would be that simple. Sleep would probably have to wait
until there were a few more explanations on both sides. But this was a
He felt numb as he reached for the sweats, one hand plucking at his jacket.
The drop of tension behind him was like a gasp of relief.
You're relieved?! You nearly gave me a heart attack, you bastard!
The words thundered through Wufei's mind as his eyes stayed fastened,
almost helplessly, on the dresser that had been removed from his room.
But the words stayed in his head and did not break the almost religious
silence around them. They were words of anger and uncertainty, a defense,
a barrier; they did not belong here.
He undressed, embarrassed at the simple gesture as it was placed under
the scrutiny of Heero's eyes. He kept his tee-shirt, slipped on the sweats,
put his clothes, neatly folded, on the dresser, and moved awkwardly towards
the, oh, call it a bed.
Heero was on the side against the wall, leaving Wufei to sleep on the
outside, nearest the door. Wufei knelt, shoving the cover further back,
and slipped into bed.
He immediately realized what the bed thing was about - he'd been wondering,
in that part of his stunned mind that could still deal with speculation.
This was...his bed, his territory. His nerves, his self, ripped raw by
the past day, unwound a bit at finding himself in this familiar setting.
Heero was with him, but not pressingly so; he was in his own camp, his
own side. Close, but not so close as to invade a private space that was
rather twitchy right now.
Plus, on the offhand chance they'd be able to sleep, this insured that
they both had enough space to do so without getting close enough for it
to be hazardous. They still had enough dangerous reflexes between the
two of them to create more than a few nasty accidents.
Wufei sat lotus-style and pulled the cover over his folded legs, but he
didn't lie back against the pillow. It would be wise to try to rest, to
sleep, and deal with this tomorrow. One fundamental question had been
asked, and answered. The finer details should probably wait until they
were both not so exhausted. He glanced towards the reading light, hesitating,
then his eyes were drawn, helplessly, to peek at Heero's profile. Heero
did not look like someone who was willing to wait to have the finer details
Which left the awkward question of how to break the silence.
"I'm sorry." The words made Wufei start slightly. They should, by all
rights, have been his. "I should have told you right away that I'd overheard
what you'd said to Winner."
Wufei was silent. He hated to leave Heero out on his own like this, but
he hadn't a clue what to say. He - both of them - were men of action.
They didn't have the vocabulary for what really needed to be said here.
Heero continued on gamely though. "I thought I could fix it. Without having
to actually..." Heero stared at the opposite wall, and then continued
slowly, "I didn't think you wanted to tell me there was a problem, and
I didn't want to hear it."
Yeah, that made sense. A little kernel of pain and anger he'd been unaware
of made its presence felt as it slowly disappeared. He wondered if Heero
was as afraid of change as he was. Maybe Heero had been striving for 'back
to normal' as well, with a patched-together field dressing stuck over
the festering 'Wufei' problem. Ignore it and it will go away. Sound familiar,
"I went on that mission without you - and we had sex when I got back,
but I don't think you're my-" the word strangled in Heero's throat, and
he looked like he'd bitten into something rotten.
"I know. I was angry." Suddenly, it wasn't so daunting to talk. Words
were just words. If they used the ones they knew, they could still say
what needed to be said. Wufei knew that the way he'd suddenly gripped
the cover over his legs would tell Heero all he wanted to know. I was
angry, yes, and I was hurt. I lashed out. I'm sorry.
Well, no, that last deserved to be said out loud. Wufei drew a breath
but Heero had moved on.
"I went on that mission with Armand because I didn't think you were ready."
"You were still off balance. I felt it. It seemed the more I tried to
fix things, the worse it got." No shit, Wufei thought. "I thought if I
just left you to rest, alone, without- without trying-..." Heero looked
He was afraid of making it even worse, Wufei realized. It was simpler
not to confront it at all. Besides, Heero was probably comfortable thinking
about Wufei's problems as some sort of injury. Rest always makes those
better. Being left alone, useless, to stew in his own conflicting emotions
for five days had nearly broken Wufei all over again, but he thought he
understood Heero's straight-forward reasoning now. When you were conversant
with Heero's way of thinking it made a sort of sense.
His attention was brought back to Heero as the latter crossed his arms
over his chest in a gesture of tension and anger. "If you'd told me there
was a problem, or how to fix it, this wouldn't have happened."
Okay, my turn, Wufei thought, and took a deep breath.
"Yes. I'm...sorry." Man, that burned. He batted down the immediate anger
that blossomed as a reflex reaction. "But I..." Shit, he had no idea how
to continue this conversation. He could debate with philosophers until
the sun set, but this...
"I didn't want to have a problem, like you said," he finally pursued slowly.
"I wanted to resolve this on my own. I mean, I was working to overcome
it." If that had ever been possible. "I wasn't going to tell anybody because
it would soon no longer be-"
"You told Winner!"
That had come out quick, raw and loud. Heero shifted, glaring at his legs
beneath the blanket, looking uneasy at his own outburst.
Wufei felt a flash of cold annoyance, a reaction to an attack.
"Yuy, I wasn't in my right mind. I-" I had been broken. He couldn't say
it. He was ashamed of it and it stuck in his throat. "I would have told
a potted plant if it had asked me nicely enough!" he growled.
"Would you have told me?" Heero ignored the warning of the cold sarcasm
and put his finger right on the wound.
"Can you tell me now?" Heero whispered.
Because I want you to be the last person on Earth and in Space to know
how weak I am.
Goddamn it, Chang! Get a grip! Wufei rubbed his face and gritted his teeth.
When he spoke his voice was cold, clear, the distance recovered. "We have
some similarities in the way we were raised. I was taught that a warrior
stands alone, can only depend on himself. My life was all mapped out.
Honor, pride, duty. An arranged marriage. I was brought up to never require
anything else. But..." An amalgam of memories and pain made him hesitate.
"But during the war...I met people, I had to learn from them, depend on
them. And there were so many sides and none of them were entirely wrong...I
saw so much that didn't fit into the rigid lines of what I was raised
for. The war...damaged me."
He struggled. It wasn't that he was trying to find the words to explain
this to Heero. He was trying to figure it out himself. He'd spent so long
running away from the canker in his soul that he could no longer trace
Heero was silent and motionless beside him. Wufei glanced at him reluctantly.
But there was no impatience or expectation there. No threat to drag out
what he wasn't yet ready to admit to. For once, Heero waited with the
patience of a rock.
"I think I know now what you were trying to do these past weeks. But I
don't need your protection, or your concern. I don't need your...I don't
need you to fix me. I need..." Wufei took a deep breath. "I want someone
who will spar with me, be my equal, my foil. Make me a better warrior.
I never want that to change. But I'm not perfect."
"I'm not perfect," the grumble was automatic. "And why did you
think I wanted you to be-"
He stopped talking at Wufei's curt gesture.
"Heero..." the distance had crumbled, despite his efforts to maintain
it. "Before you ask that kind of question...what would you have done if
we'd have had this conversation during the war?"
Then, quietly: "I would have left. We had our cause, and we were about
to die; we could not have afforded this kind of- of messy distraction
during the war. But that was during the war!" the addition was quick and
forceful. "We do not have the same constraints now!"
...'we don't have the same constraints'...Heero, get a vocabulary. You
mean we've changed. But have we?
"Don't we still have those constraints?" Wufei felt numb. "We still have
missions, we still need to fight for peace. We still do a job only a few
others can do, that needs all our strength and focus. I...lost everything
during the war, it warped and destroyed a lot of my beliefs. Some days,
the fact that I'm still needed, that I can challenge myself as a warrior
and push myself to the very edge of my abilities, is the only thing that's
keeping me going."
The waves of confusion from Heero were almost palpable. "I don't understand.
You're saying you don't want-"
"I don't want to lose that. I can't lose that. I just don't know if it's
enough any more. Between what I need, to survive...and what I want, what
makes me want to- to have a future, to-..."
Wufei's voice was unsteady, despite all his efforts; this was the heart
of the wild storm that had been slowly tearing him apart since the war
had stopped and he'd laid his revenge to rest.
He watched surreptitiously as Heero's face relaxed, and eyes turned inward.
Wufei could imagine Heero mentally poking this statement from all angles.
Would he be able to recognize himself in those words? Did Heero have the
same dichotomy, two people inside, one who merely needed a cause and a
partner, and the other who wanted...more?
"What do you want, Heero?" Wufei asked softly.
Heero didn't react, he was staring blankly at nothing, slumped like a
puppet with the strings abruptly cut.
"You see...if this-" Wufei gestured at the conjoined beds. "If our partnership,
if us, it's not a lie...then it can't be one-sided. I don't want you to
be my fucking martyr, Yuy. I certainly refuse to be yours. I can't be
just another part of your mission. My feelings can't be used like that.
And I'm not-..." Dragging this out into the open felt like wrenching the
bones from his body. Wufei reached for his centre. This had to be said.
Only once, if his ancestors had any mercy on him. The two ex-soldiers
should never have to go through this soul-searing conversation ever again,
because either this was the end of their arrangement, or else their understanding
would be reestablished and their silent, instinctive feel for each other
would return. But for that to have a chance of happening...time to walk
through the fire, Chang.
Time to take that leap of faith into darkness.
"I can't be as strong, cold and detached as you need me to be, all the
time." Strange, after all the denial, the hiding, the pain, the words
had come out so simple and straightforward. He thought he felt Heero twitch,
but Wufei was staring at his hands in his lap and didn't look up. "And
when I falter, I want someone at my side who will not scorn me for it,
who can be my strength when I am weak; not because I'm needed for a mission,
or out of obligation, but because he wants to be with me. Someone who
might like the same comfort from me some day-"
Heero stood abruptly, shoving the covers back, strode towards the center
of the room. His back was rigid with tension and anger.
Wufei waited, not adding anything more. He'd probably said more than enough,
he thought, his heart sinking with resignation as he watched Heero shake
his head savagely. He'd dropped all his defenses and Heero could now hurt
him as he'd not been hurt in a long time. But after the weeks - months
- of slow suffocation, he was almost looking forward to the pain; might
as well get it over with, and then he could move on.
"Weak?! When are you weak?!"
Wufei took Heero's first words like a bullet, and then realized they had
not been entirely what he expected.
Heero hadn't turned around. He was squeezing his arms across his chest,
his shoulder blades leaping into sharp definition through the pads of
muscles across his back as he curled up around himself. He looked as if
he'd taken a shot to the stomach. Wufei stared at him, stunned, not even
sure if that had been a question or just-
"Do you know..." Heero made a visible effort to control his voice. "Do
you know what I felt? When I heard you tell that stuff to Winner? That
you were tired? That you didn't think you could keep up with me any more?"
Confusion? Pain? Pity? Annoyance? ...Disgust? Wufei's mind provided the
alternatives with a wince, but his voice was completely lost.
Heero didn't need an answer. "I was relieved," he whispered, jaw working
painfully, as if the words were being dragged from him with meat-hooks.
"It's why I didn't come forward," he added, as if Wufei had said one of
the thousands of splintered thoughts going through his dazed mind. "I
wanted to hear what you were saying. I had to hear it. I knew it wasn't
the drugs. I-...I saw this coming for awhile now. I just didn't know what
it was until you said it."
"I'm a weapon." Heero's voice was its usual monotone again, just like
that. Wufei wondered, dazed, at the kind of control it took to detach
yourself so completely from such powerful emotions. For the first time,
he found himself thinking it might not be entirely the admirable quality
he'd always believed it to be.
"I was built like this." Heero's words were curt and matter-of-fact. "I
do not regret it. If I could do it over again, I would only change my
mistakes. It was necessary for me to be like this. It started with Odin,
and J reinforced it. You were wrong, I wasn't taught to deny anything;
I never had any wants in the first place. A weapon doesn't need them.
I did what I had to. I had no satisfaction in doing it. No pride. No honor.
No fear, either. I can't say I was perfect. A gun isn't perfect. It just
"But I was needed." Heero's voice dropped and softened slightly. "Because
other people were not weapons. And their dreams could change the world
in a way a weapon never could. I was needed to defend that. I couldn't
fully believe in Relena's hopes for the future. But I could kill for her
and die for her and do what was needed to make her life and my death meaningful."
The tension was suddenly back. With a vengeance.
"I had to become the best weapon I could be for that. Stronger, harder,
better. Do the job that justified the fact that I hadn't been destroyed
along with the Gundams, the job only a weapon could do.
"And every time I turned around...you were right behind me!"
Wufei pressed back against the wall as if Heero had shoved him, fight/flight
reflexes surging through his body. The look of desperate fury in Heero's
stance was something no one had ever seen before.
"You told me what you lost, but you still have so much! You are not a
The way Heero was clenching his fists, turned and taken a half step towards
the bed, Wufei found himself wishing he had a weapon, at least.
"You read! You- you enter worlds someone like me cannot comprehend! You
can talk with people, understand the way they think and feel, not just
preempt the way they fight! You-...you think, you act, you live for yourself,
in yourself, you - you're confused and torn but you still follow me step
by step, you're still as strong as I am!
"When you came back, last year, from university, I was useless! I couldn't
adapt to this new world. They still need weapons but they have to be so
careful with them now. You were my guard, the one who would make sure
I didn't turn on what had been built. And you were just as good as I am,
you became my- my right hand! I couldn't function without you any more.
But you were not a weapon! It-"
Suddenly the cold fury guttered out. What was left was a man that Wufei
realized he might have never met before. Heero's voice was so low, it
"We worked together, and we did great things, but living with you, watching
you...that's what damaged me. It showed me something that I shouldn't
have seen. I...the only thing I should ever want is to live and die for
my mission, but I realized, at some point, that I had started to want
something else. It's hard to define...I think I wanted to be more like
Wufei, shocked into helpless silence, felt the world spin like a penny
and tip on its edge, tumbling to land on a side he'd never seen before,
never even imagined.
"I was starting to feel things. That were not mission related, I mean.
It would creep up on me, like those feelings I had during the war, when
I suddenly found I couldn't kill Relena, even though all my training said
I should. But these feelings weren't that- that meaningful. It was just...curiosity,
when we were on L3. What it would be like to pretend to be normal, to
be more like you. Or when you were injured and said you wanted to go home...I
didn't even react for a few seconds, it just seemed so natural for you
to say that. It was your home - our home. But a weapon doesn't have a
home. I thought you just meant this place, because we'd lived here for
awhile, but...that reasoning didn't feel right."
Wufei blinked at the far wall, as if it contained a vid screen where he
could rewind his life and pay a bit more attention this time around. When
had he said that?
"I should not have indulged in those urges, of course," Heero grumbled,
half-turned away and glaring at nothing again. "It goes counter to most
of my training. But Odin had told me...he said, that if you follow your
feelings, then at least you will be making your mistakes for your own
reasons. And these feelings seemed pretty harmless.
"But then you talked to Quatre, trusted him more than me...and that hurt.
It shouldn't have. As for what you said, it was exactly what I'd feared
might happen during the war, before I really got to know you, before I
realized you were just as dedicated to your cause as I was to mine. When
I heard what you said, I should have felt contempt, and I should have
begun to sever our connection. But I was relieved, because I had begun
to doubt myself, my training. But your words were proof that my upbringing,
my life, were justified; I had to be nothing more than a weapon to do
the job I had to do. You appeared to be weaker than me simply for being
"That's what I should have felt. But the relief died almost immediately.
You're...not weak. I've had too much proof of that." Wufei felt a moment
of bewilderment for the brutal honesty that characterized Heero Yuy since
he'd known him. The temptation to deny that must have been so strong.
Wufei knew, with sick certainty, what conclusions he'd have drawn if the
positions had been reversed. Heero didn't even sound resentful as he continued,
speaking so softly now.
"What you were saying should have had nothing to do with me, it shouldn't
have affected me. But it did; I just felt sick that I had hurt you that
much. That I had brought someone so strong to break down. Whatever it
justified, whatever it proved, it just felt wrong. I thought I
could fix it. I...had to fix it.
"But I understand what you meant before you left, when you said that what
I wanted was also important. You don't want to live with a weapon. And
maybe you were right; maybe I only want to put you back together again
because I need you for my mission. Just because I follow my feelings doesn't
mean that I fully understand them. I've never had to quantify them before,
explain them to someone else before. The only thing I've ever had to do
is judge if they would interfere with my duty, and choose to follow them
"I do need you for my mission. That's obvious. And I guess I can understand
why that's not enough anymore. The very thing I need you for is driving
you away. I'm sure those dead philosophers you read about would find that
very amusing." Heero was scowling at the books on the dresser and Wufei
could imagine a few ancient sages cringing beyond the grave.
"Yes...they do enjoy the little ironies of life..." Wufei's head was spinning.
'I wanted to be more like you'.
He rubbed an eye with the palm of his hand. He was resisting the urge
to reach over, grab the bedside lamp and smash it against the wall; the
yellow light was too mellow for the raw, red wounded words that had been
laid bare here tonight. The tiger within Wufei was appalled at the revelations,
his own and Yuy's. He'd made Heero doubt himself, doubt the strength that
Wufei had always admired. His weakness had spread like an infection! But...the
war was over. Neither of them had to be that strong any more. Right? Not
if they could lean against each other. If...that was possible. But was
Wufei realized he was gripping the cover hard enough to rip the seams
of the sleeping bags. He frowned at it, suddenly puzzled, and unclenched
"Heero...what is this?" Wufei waved at the bed.
Heero glanced back, suddenly hesitant, unsure, and massively defensive
as a result. "I liked it," he muttered.
"Er...what did you-"
"When you went to sleep. With me. After we had sex yesterday." Heero's
words were brittle and clipped. "You trusted me. I watched you relax.
You're always tense; even around me. Always ready to fight. Me or anyone.
But you trusted me enough to sleep, even though I was close enough to
harm you. A part of you trusted me to watch out for you. I don't mean,
watching each other's backs, like we've been doing for a year. To sleep
like that...it felt like you were trusting me with something more. I never
felt closer to you." His lips tightened. Probably remembering how that
particular episode had ended. But that had been because of the nightmare,
because of everything that followed. Wufei remembered a gentle hand cleaning
him, resting lightly on his hip, and the warmth of Heero's skin along
his back. He'd rarely slept better. He'd felt safe, in a fundamental way
that went far beyond security concerns.
"You asked me what I wanted. I don't-...I'm not able to..." Heero rolled
his eyes, visibly annoyed by his own inability to put what he was feeling
into words. "I wanted that. You asked." The words were harsh, thrown like
a gauntlet. That was maybe all he had. But he was giving it to Wufei.
Wufei was silent. So many preconceptions - partly born from his own voluntary
blindness and fears - shattered. But this was still Heero. There was still
a lot of the young man - the weapon - that Wufei had known during the
He glanced at up at his partner. Who was looking as defensive yet as vulnerable
as he'd ever seen him, standing with his arms crossed but his head lowered,
braced for a blow.
"What do you want?" Heero asked. He was staring at the bed, as if thinking
it was a pitiful offering.
And it was, on the surface of it. The step he'd taken was small, and,
more importantly, it was perhaps all he was capable of, and there would
be nothing else forthcoming. But it was the tiny flick that tipped a penny
on its edge to fall on one side instead of the other. To Wufei, who hadn't
wanted all that much to begin with, it changed everything.
"I want..." Wufei felt like a hollow bamboo, and suddenly very, very tired.
"I want us to stop talking now."
Heero blinked, visibly confused and hurt. Then he focused on the hand
Wufei held out to him. He moved forward tentatively, not sure of what
was required of him.
Wufei grabbed the hand reaching hesitantly out in response. A flicker
of melancholy memory; of the many times he'd refused similar gestures
from Heero. The time Heero had stretched out his hand to help Wufei up
from the floor, after their very first fight, their very first - hell,
it could hardly be called sex. So many times Heero had offered him a hand
up that he'd always refused. Wufei had wanted to stand by himself.
He tugged gently, and Heero finally lay on his side, and Wufei slipped
his arms around him.
There was a moment of fumbling; Heero just lay there, stiff and uncertain,
and Wufei wasn't familiar with this either. But it wasn't nearly as hard
to figure out as he'd thought. Wufei laid his head in the crook of Heero's
shoulder, and, after a few seconds, he felt strong arms circle him. Wufei
crushed the rebellious warrior within who was still trying to despise
this. It went against both their trainings, but they'd conquered two armies
and all the odds, they could surely conquer this too. He needed this,
and Heero wanted to give it to him. Or was that the other way around;
the 'need' and the 'want'...? It probably didn't matter. They bled into
each other and swirled in his mind like yin and yang, perpetually chasing
each other yet always in balance.
Heero held him very lightly to start with, and then gradually increased
the pressure until it matched the strength with which Wufei was holding
him. His skin felt abnormally warm beneath Wufei's cheek, the scent of
flesh and soap was soothing. The hand on Wufei's back began brushing back
and forth, lightly to start with. Then it grew bolder as Wufei found himself
relaxing. He was being petted like a puppy; he should mind, Wufei thought
drowsily. Somehow he couldn't muster up the energy to do anything but
enjoy the sensation.
Had Heero's forgotten mother, assuming he had one, done this for him?
Or was the age-old gesture of comfort hotwired into the human psyche?
It felt good. Too good.
"What is it?" Heero's whisper was tentative, almost nervous, against Wufei's
skin. "You're tensing up again." It sounded like he thought he wasn't
doing it right. This had probably not been in his training manual.
Wufei shook his head minutely, knowing Heero would catch the movement
against his shoulder. "It...just reminds me of a nightmare I had."
The hand stilled, and the arms jerked away a fraction.
"Not a bad nightmare," Wufei mumbled, wanting to recapture that momentary
warmth, despite his growing tension. "Just a dream. We...we would be like
"And?" Heero's voice was tense in expectation of some horrible revelation.
"And then I'd wake up. The drug...it was making me face what I wanted.
And couldn't have."
Heero relaxed in sudden comprehension. "And now you're not sure if you're
awake or dreaming."
"Hm. I could never tell until I woke up. The drug..."
There was a moment of silence. Wufei began to relax again. Susan Wu no
longer had her little chemical fingers in his head, he could tell the
difference between dream and reality now, and this was too complex, fragile
and messy to be anything but real; from the cringing thought of all they
still had to work through, tomorrow and eventually, to the small detail
of the way his arm beneath his body was going to sleep, or the fact that
the skin of his back that Heero had been rubbing was now itching a bit
and he wanted to scratch it.
"If you are dreaming...and you wake up..." Heero's whisper ruffled his
hair, making him feel prickly. "If you wake up and we're both in our separate
beds...don't just lock it all away again. March into my room, kick me
out of bed, shout at me until we straighten it out, and then we can set
the mattresses up like this again and we'll be set." Heero sounded very
"At which point of that explanation do you think you're likely to shoot
Heero made a sound in his throat. "Probably when you drag me out of bed
to give me that confusing lecture about want and need."
"That's what I thought."
"But if I listen, and it makes sense, then I'll agree," Heero declared
firmly. Ahh, the joys of thinking in beautifully straight lines, Wufei
thought dryly, his eyes drifting shut.
But he couldn't help asking: "And if you still don't-"
"Then you won't be leaving behind anything important," Heero whispered
They stayed like that for ten minutes or so. More like brothers frightened
by the night than lovers. The darkness of the room around the globe of
yellow light became washed with gray. It was five o'clock in the morning.
The time when Wufei usually woke from a nightmare.
But since it wasn't a nightmare, and they both had to sleep, they finally
separated by silent, mutual agreement; Heero rubbing his arms with obvious
pins and needles from the pressure of Wufei's head. Wufei scrunched to
one side, almost ready to topple off the mattress, leaving Heero as much
room as possible. He still wasn't sure his trigger-happy partner would
be able to sleep so close to someone. He himself would have no problems,
he thought, blinking sleepily.
Wufei settled back against the pillow. He knew blue eyes were watching
him - warily? Curiously? Searchingly? He didn’t want to look. He had to
sleep, and he didn’t feel like starting a staring contest. Or having that
awkward flinch away of eyes meeting when neither was sure-
That awkwardness and uncertainty might be around for awhile, he reminded
himself dryly. It appeared that he and Heero were embarking on a bona
fide relationship. Wufei was a prickly, arrogant and occasionally insecure
warrior who had a hard time expressing his desires because he’d been taught
to despise them from the earliest age. And Heero was a damaged soldier
who was quite willing to try to meet Wufei's desires but unfamiliarity
with relationships meant he needed them clearly delineated and defined,
and fear of failure was making him hesitant, almost aggressive, and prone
to retreating into silence or worse, mission mentality.
Logic says we’re fucked before we even begin, Wufei thought, a bit testily.
Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time they’d given logic, the odds
and even fate a run for its money.
They had to hold on to what they already had, Wufei reminded himself,
the bit that he'd been afraid of losing all along. The strength, power
and the battle-field understanding that defined them. It would help them
build more. Their original arrangement had already evolved, all by itself
and almost against their will, far beyond the strict limitations they'd
tried to impose on it at first, like a very unruly bonsai. They had to
acknowledge that, help it grow, towards something that met both needs
and wants and let them both mature, structured yet also free- Yeah, okay,
so they were probably fucked.
Their arrangement - their lives - would never be perfect.
As he fell asleep, Wufei wondered if that was really such a bad thing
[chap. 38] [epilogue] [back
to Maldoror's fic]