see chap. 1 for notes, warnings, disclaimer
Symmetries + Chapter 3
3's a crowd.
I already said I don't do 'uncertain'.
Or 'confused'. I can do a very good 'depressed' but I prefer 'angry' and
'dogged' and 'bloody stubborn'.
So I didn't even think of either of them for a good month after that mission
with Duo and I could have very well lived my entire life, filled with
solo missions and forms in triplicate and an empty, sterile apartment,
without thinking about them.
It was that blasted Une again.
"I know you prefer to work alone, Chang, but Barton is still busy,
and, well, you got on so well with both of them on those last two missions
it just seems perfect. I can just imagine what the three of you can get
up to together!"
Three of us together. Me working with Duo and Heero, Heero and Duo. Why
don't you just run me over with a Gundam a few times, then sit on the
I felt that way because...because it was going to be embarrassing, being
a third wheel. Right, that was why I didn't want to do this.
Unfortunately that wasn't going to carry much weight with my superior
officer and I couldn't think of any other reason to refuse at that point,
with my mind running around in circles and my heart feeling like it was
being slowly pushed through a sieve, so twenty four hours later I was
arriving at the L2 shuttle-port wondering why my ancestors had decided
to hate me.
"Wufee!" Damn it if my heart didn't manage to jump a little
at that, although it was probably the fact he'd shouted it a second before
I saw him and two seconds before he gave me a Duo-patented flying- tackle-hug.
"Super to see you again!" He turned and tugged me towards the
exit and I saw Heero waiting there, and there was a small smile on his
face and in his eyes as he looked at me and my heart jumped again- and
I knew exactly why my heart was jumping this time - what the hell was
"Oops sorry!" He'd felt me stiffen in alarm as I realized he
was dragging me towards the exit with an arm slipped around my waist.
"I forgot you're not into heavy touching." He winked at me,
though he seemed suddenly flushed.
Into heavy- no I wasn't! Well, it wasn't that I minded- no I wasn't! Particularly
when his boyfriend - who could break my bones like they were made of glass
- was looking at us both in surprise!
"Heero." I said, trying to keep my voice level. For some reason
I didn't even think to say 'Yuy', and I didn't notice my slip until he
nodded and said: "Wufei."
"How nice, we're all on first name terms now!" Duo smirked and
I flushed, not knowing what to say. Heero just turned and walked in silence
towards the car.
The ride back from the airport was pretty much as I expected. Heero drove
in silence, mesmerizing blue eyes intent on the road, serious but radiating
calm, soothing quiet. Duo twisted in the passenger seat to grin and chat
with me, cheerful, friendly and witty. And I skulked in the back seat
wishing Treize hadn't been such a selfish bastard who couldn't even be
bothered to take a proper swing at me before kicking the bucket.
Their place was quite big so I couldn't pretend I was imposing and retreat
to a hotel. I was stuck.
The house was standard, a modern, unassuming design, more than sufficient
for two young men who were frequently away as it was. The furniture which
had come with the house was neutral and bland. The touches of personality
were few, but evocative. A huge sound system and violent-looking CDs,
colourful books and magazines, sports equipment, Japanese books and unidentifiable
"I'll get the couch ready for you!" Duo grabbed me by the hand
and dragged me off to one side of the big living room and kitchenette
- the only rooms on the ground floor were a bathroom and the small study
where Heero's laptop reigned supreme. The couch unfolded into quite a
big bed, and comfortable enough. It was pushed out of the way so I wouldn't
be bothered by the others walking to and fro in the apartment. The only
thing near the bed was a small dresser where I could put my clothes. On
it there was a photograph of the five of us, taken aboard Peacemillion
shortly before Heero left to rescue Relena. Quatre and Trowa were standing
side by side, Heero was ramrod straight at the centre of the photo, Duo
was leaning against his shoulder casually with a cheeky grin, I was far
off to the side and turning away to leave and take care of Nataku.
"That's my room upstairs, and Heero's is the other one across the
I was so lost in the photo and the memories and the taste of past bitterness
that it took a few seconds to register. Separate...bedrooms?
Well why not? They both had busy lives, and only occasionally followed
the same routines. I knew married couples in the Preventers who had similar
We had dinner right away. Duo had cooked some casserole thing which only
needed reheating, and which was quite palatable, though its contents could
only have been identified through forensics. I relaxed infinitesimally
during dinner. I'd been around Sally and her boyfriend during their -very
short- courtship and it had been rather sickening, at least as far as
Sally was concerned; cooing and trying to feed him with her chopsticks
- for some reason he always seemed restrained not to say nervous when
I was around, but I got enough of her display to put me off my food. I'd
been dreading the same exhibition from my two friends. Nothing of the
sort, we sat on three separate sides of the table, and they acted, well,
pretty much like friends with each other. Although it was hard to say;
to my embarrassment they seemed mainly concentrated on me. Duo quickly
resumed our play-sparring, and also asked me tons of questions about my
last few assignments and what I'd been doing and who I'd been 'hanging
with'. Heero said little but he looked interested, smiled at our verbal
duelling and occasionally asked intelligent and challenging questions
about my solo missions which I was pleased to answer.
Then we talked about the mission - the timelines had been revised, it
was going to start the next afternoon - and I relaxed further. This was
alright. This was fine! I didn't feel embarrassed or like I was intruding.
They showed considerable restraint - probably Heero's influence - with
each other to avoid making me feel ill at ease. And they made me feel
very welcome - that would be Duo's doing - and part of the team. These
were my friends. It would be fine.
As we got into the details of the mission I realized that they didn't
need any open displays of affection. The way they worked and acted and
thought together said more than three volumes of poetry about their relation.
They complemented each others strong points perfectly, and they went together
like clockwork; finishing each others sentences, communicating with a
glance, splitting the work so swiftly and neatly I almost didn't realize
they'd left me with hardly anything to do. They both seemed reluctant
to let me take anything more than minor risks, which was strange and rather
annoying. Once I put my foot down - and we determined that the perfect
soldier and the god of death were no match for a stubborn dragon - the
plans were redrawn more equitably.
Heero and Duo together were a formidable team. They'd done a thorough
job gathering all the evidence they needed to put away the heads of a
weapons factory, but they still had to bust the place itself. I was suddenly
glad that Une had come up with the idea of sending me with them, even
though I felt like an intruder in their harmonious partnership. The assignment
was tough. There would be Preventer agents going in the front door, but
to avoid loss of life, Une wanted the three of us to infiltrate the base
from the back and attack their defences from the inside. Like we were
taking down an OZ base, although without as many explosions (we made sure
Duo understood this, and he made a show of looking pouty and disappointed
but we knew he was perfectly serious about the job). It was a big base,
heavily guarded, and we weren't quite ready to die for our missions anymore,
so I was glad to be with them, to make sure nothing happened to either
of them. With an efficient soldier like Heero and a master of stealth
like Duo I might be redundant but you can never have too many friendly
eyes at your back.
And it was quite the fight. Heero and Duo did their magic, infiltrating
inviolable rooms, hacking systems, causing chaos and confusion. But there
were a lot of guards, and they had quick trigger fingers. It got a bit
messy at the end; I watched both their backs, but I had to work at it.
Duo's back was turned as he desperately tried to hack the program keeping
the safety doors closed. The man who'd appeared silently behind him was
aiming at the braided head at point blank range and I knew that even if
I shot him his weapon would fire- I didn't hesitate, I barrelled full
into him, even though I couldn't capture the gun from that angle and insure
my own safety. My elbow found his throat and he choked, swinging his gun
towards me - I fired at the same time, the noise like a crack in the universe
as his weapon discharged very near my ear.
An explosion of blood, a lot of it getting on my uniform- I wrenched myself
from the body to make sure his stray shot hadn't hit Duo who had spun
around, face white as he stared at me, horrified.
"Wufei are you okay?!" His eyes flickered on me but his attention
and his drawn gun remained on the still figure at my feet.
"You sure?" He approached me and finally looked me over carefully.
I actually had some flesh-wounds from shrapnel, but I decided to say nothing;
he looked...Duo didn't like it when anyone in his 'family' was hurt, I
remembered. I'd always sneered and considered it a weakness before. Now
I felt my heart quiver at the look in those eyes and I lied with all I
"I'm fine. The blood is his." Well, most of it was. "Is
the door open? You were going to go and guide in the troops, right?"
"Yes." He hesitated, eyes searching mine. Then the smile flitted
across his face. The warmth dispelled the cold of shock I'd felt seeing
that gun pointing at his head. "Wait around here, right? I'll- we'll
head home and shower afterwards. I'll scrub your back if you scrub mine!"
He did the wink thing again, it almost made a joke of the fact that we
were both splattered with blood. How does he do it...?
He vanished like a puff of smoke, silent, invisible. I went back to the
computer room to wait for reinforcements and make sure Heero wasn't similarly
ambushed as he hacked the enemy's system, downloaded the evidence and
ran interference to let our men through.
Finally Preventers started to run through the rooms, securing them.
"There are still some pockets of resistance, sir." A cadet came
up, saluting me -he was at least two years older than I was - before nodding
towards the door. "Is agent Yuy still working in there?"
"I'll check. Guard the door."
I walked in. From the lack of tension in Heero's strong shoulders as he
sat in front of the monitors I could tell he'd finished.
"Just me." I said prudently, to avoid getting shot.
"I know, I heard you through the door...watching my back." His
voice was calm, but there was something in it that made my heart thrum...I
dismissed it as he turned, probably my imagination.
"Are they - Wufei!?"
Heero had shot out of his chair as he caught sight of me. Duo had actually
managed to make me forget that I was half covered in blood.
I glanced up from my sticky uniform and tainted skin as a strong arm grasped
my shoulder, eyes and other hand quickly checked me over.
"I'm fine, I'm fine!" I snapped, with my usual charm. "Someone
Heero glared as he found the shrapnel holes in my clothes, leading to
the small rips in the skin beneath, in my left arm and down one side.
"Flesh wounds." I said, mulishly.
Heero almost smiled. "That's my line." He said gently, and I
thought, he's been living with Duo too long if he can come up with a joke
like that, however lame.
"Well, I'll go check the perimeter." Heero said, and suddenly
glared. "And you go and get these checked out. They'll need stitches
if you want them to heal properly." A slight smile indicated he wasn't
suggesting I couldn't take care of myself.
"I'm fine." I repeated. And I was thinking...Duo is good for
him, he never used to be able to laugh and smile like that before. Why
did that thought hurt me? It was a good thing. I no longer knew what to
think. I was tired, I was sore, I wanted to go home, back to my empty
apartment, my solo missions, my predictable, simple life. "I'll see
if I can catch a shuttle back to Earth today, it's not too late. I can
swing by your place and-"
"You're leaving?" Heero stared at me. "So soon?"
"Do you need me for the report?" I asked, surprised, and a bit
uneasy; I suddenly thought it would be a good idea to leave as quickly
as possible, especially as part of me rather didn't want to. "Or
do you need me for cleanup operations?"
"I- " He hesitated. He still had his hands on my shoulders,
I noticed. "I need you for- I-"
He wrenched me forward and crushed his lips into mine.
What the hell was going on??
What had come over Heero? This was wrong! I had to stop this!
That's what I was thinking, while my arms were twining around his neck,
my lips were moving against his, my body clinging to the rock that was
"No!" I suddenly shouted as I pulled back, coming to my senses
just as I was about to lose them entirely.
What I saw in his eyes - there are no words for that, the emotion there.
I knew...he didn't say anything, he didn't need to. I knew.
I wrenched away from him and staggered to the door. I bowled over the
cadet dutifully guarding it, and managed to get out into the corridor
as Heero reached it.
I ran on. I saw people approaching, fellow Preventers, I felt more than
saw one of them motion towards Heero; knew that whatever he wanted to
do, say to me, whatever was in those eyes, he'd be stuck here for awhile,
to finish the mission. I had to get the hell out of here before he was
I snagged a patrol car about to return to the city, had them drop me off
at a taxi station at the edge of town, made it back to the house. I used
the key they'd entrusted to me - had to remember to leave that here when
I left - and staggered to the bed to get my duffel bag. I just wanted
to get out of there, but the wild looks the taxi driver had given me reminded
me I wouldn't get far without a shower. So I quickly rinsed off, washed
my hair, changed into civvies, nearly ran back to the dresser, stuffed
my things into my bag, closed it with a final sad metallic click-
"What- what are you doing?"
I spun with a horrified gasp, I'd heard nothing. Of all the people I didn't
want to see right now, he was the second on my list.
Wide eyes on my bag. "You're leaving? What's wrong? You look upset."
"Nothing." My mask slipped back on so easily, and Duo looked
uncertain. "I have to get back, I have something to do tomorrow on
"You do?" Duo looked intensely disappointed, he'd been chatting
yesterday about all the fun things we could do on L2 once the mission
was finished. "You sure you have to?"
"Very sure." I ground out. And regretted it when I saw the flash
of pain in his eyes. Damn, as if I hadn't hurt him enough this evening
- and how that hell had that happened.
The guilt was eating away at me. I couldn't imagine why Heero had thought
- but I couldn't actually swear I hadn't led him on, hadn't caused this,
since deep down I knew that I had wanted those strong arms and hard lips
on me since I'd seen him again, and maybe before that too.
I found Duo barring my progress across the living room to the exit.
"Duo, I have to-"
"Well even if you're running out now, we did put you up for a night!
Right?" The jester's smile was brittle, his eyes were wide and full
of pain, more than my mere departure could generate. I felt a moment of
panic, did he know what had happened - ?
"Yes, yes you did, thanks for -"
"I'd say you owe me a little favour?"
"Duo, I can't stay-" I shuddered.
"All I ask is that you don't kill me in the next five minutes."
"Don't-...what?" I stared at him as he took my bag from my hands,
dropped it behind him, turned towards me, stepped right up to me and caressed
my lips with his own.
I should have gone rigid - with shock if nothing else - but the warm body
against mine felt so...vulnerable right then; even though my mind was
telling me this was a deadly killer, the god of death no less...the way
he moulded his body to mine made my arms reach out and enfold him gently
of their own volition, and his lips were soft and warm against mine, almost
I practically screamed as I wrenched away from him and staggered back.
"Wh-" I was speechless.
"Sorry." He whispered, a small smile on his face. "I guess
that wasn't fair but I thought it would be nice to know if you were straight
or not before I ripped my heart out and shoved it at you."
"Heart?! Straight?! What?!" I think I said.
"I love you, Chang Wufei. Loved you since the war, practically from
the minute I saw you. I...always hoped that one day you'd be able to give
me a chance, that you'd get over all the horrible things they'd done to
you, all that you'd lost...Maybe I was wrong." Eyes full of warmth
and pain wrenched me to my soul.
"Are you both insane?!" The cry ripped itself out of me with
liberating force, and Duo staggered back, eyes wide with alarm. "What's
with you and Heero?! You two are together, why-"
"What? Me and Heero?" He blinked several times and that's when
I knew, before he had to say another word. "Man, is that what you
- oh, I can see why you're freaking out. No, Heero 'n me are just best
"But you live together." The last protest before the insanity
swallowed me whole.
"Er, yeah, we're room-mates. That's all." He looked puzzled,
but then hope crept onto his face like dawn over the horizon. "Yeah,
no stress, buddy, we're just friends. Is that why you reacted like that?
Don't worry about Heero - " I winced at the name. Just friends. Oh
gods. " - there's...just you." He gave me a smile, much more
timid than his usual one.
I felt like I was in Nataku's cold embrace again, sinking to the bottom
of the ocean after Treize had knocked all my illusions out from under
me and shown me what I really was.
I spent the weeks after that trauma sulking and brooding and generally
running away from the issues.
It'd worked once before, right?
I did my best not to hurt him, but when I brushed past him he still sank
down to his knees as if I'd struck him full-force. I dared not look back
though, I couldn't. I bolted towards the door and ran right into a solid
wall of steel muscles.
"Wufei?!" Oh great, the other person I didn't want to see ever
again, even in my next reincarnation.
I tried to brush past him too, as he barred the way out, but I might as
well try to bowl over a Gundam. The hands on my shoulders were firm, and
managed to keep me still even without hurting me. The only way I was going
to get out was with a fight, and even then the odds were not in my favour.
"What are you-...Duo?!"
The hands vanished from my shoulders and he pushed past me to rush towards
Duo, still sitting, hurt and - my soul twisted in me as I allowed myself
one glance back- tears in his eyes.
Heero was at his side and the strong hands were on Duo's shoulders and
the wide, tear-filled eyes were raised towards cobalt blue. The sight
encased me in ice, cutting me to the bone. What they shared - not love,
but a great friendship nonetheless - was real, and pure and I-...and I-...
I straightened and twanged like a bow and shouted at the top of my lungs:
"That's what counts! You're not supposed to - to lo-...not me! Stop
being stupid and don't do this to yourselves!"
I bolted out the door as I saw them gape at me - Duo looked thunderstruck
but Heero might try to catch me. I thought I heard him shout my name but
I was already out the door and into the street. No footsteps followed
me. Good, perfect, he was staying with Duo. Friendship would hopefully
prove stronger than some silly infatuation. At least I hoped so.
I pounded randomly through the streets, though I didn't think they'd try
to follow me now. They must be busy explaining things to one another.
I was ready to bet neither had known of the other's feelings towards me.
Which meant I'd just run out on my friends after potentially ruining their
partnership. What if they didn't realize that I was nothing worth arguing
over? What if this stupidity really ruined things between them? Why was
I running away like a weak coward when I should have made certain that
they were working things out and that they knew they didn't really
love me and I didn't love them and that-
I stopped. I sat down on a stone bench at the edge of a small run- down
park. Right on cue it started raining. L2 weather maintenance at its best.
The rain washed over me - if you could call it that, it was more a continuous
leak in the climate control systems, letting rivulets of very cold water
cascade down on unprotected fools in the dead of night.
I was running away from the truth because it was too hard for me to admit,
at least while I was looking at them.
The truth was, part of me had been overjoyed to find that my two good
friends were not a happy couple after all, and for a second or so I had
not even cared that their friendship could be at risk over this.
The truth was, I was lonely, and I wanted someone.
And the truth, the heart of the matter, the reason why I was now trying
to shove them away and get them to forget me and resume my lonely life
despite this was because...there was no way in hell that I could choose
between them. And that would destroy all three of us.
What a low-down, weak, cowardly rat I was. I'd consistently lied to myself
for ages. I had denied my feelings towards the both of them on the excuse
that they were involved, and boy had I leapt on to that statement without
any attempt to verify it or talk it over with them. No, I'd assumed it,
and then, instead of squashing my feelings, I had allowed myself to stupidly
fall in love with both, under the cover of this supposed relation they
shared and that left me safely excluded, to feed whatever sick fantasies
I wanted to, knowing full well nothing could come of it.
But they weren't together...and they both loved me...and I...I loved them
both. That was so wrong of me I couldn't even begin to think about it.
Damn you Treize...How come I'm always my own worst enemy in the end? Who
will do me the favour of shooting me? Please?
The wail of siren and the snap of voices behind me might have been the
answer to my prayers if I'd been a bit less numb with cold. I realized
I had been sitting for a good amount of time in shirt- sleeves - bloodied
shirt-sleeves, my wounds were bleeding again from the run- washed down
with cold water like the rat I was, with my gun fully visible in its shoulder
holster. That and the blood was what was eliciting a good deal of interest,
not the fact that I was a miserable, dishonourable dog who ruined everything
he touched, which should have been a much better reason for shooting me.
Once they relieved me of my gun - I was too numb with cold to resist,
unfortunately- they asked me my name.
I suggested they go fuck themselves as creatively as their limited intellects
allowed them to.
Not the best way to endear yourself to the local law enforcement agency.
They dragged me off to the station where they slapped a field dressing
on my wounds before starting to ask me some serious questions. I was in
a particularly bad mood, and I wasn't very helpful, and I'd left my bag,
my jacket and all my ID back at- Then I began to feel dizzy, and they
stopped pushing me around long enough to run my fingerprints through their
database and come up with an answer from the Preventer files. I was feeling
so tired and numb at that point - it was nearing three in the morning
- that I didn't react as one of them called the local branch. One of the
policemen thought there was some kind of major trick afoot - a young,
uncooperative, bedraggled teen did not make a likely Preventer - and was
giving me the first degree. I ignored him, sunk in despondency - next
to OZ interrogators the man was a joke. I felt only a sense of inevitable
catastrophe as Heero and Duo barged in to the room.
They stared at me and I could imagine what they saw - the proud dragon
looking like a drowned rat, bloodied shirt partly cut away, almost blue
with cold and swaying with fatigue that was far from physical. The cop
was in the act of shaking me when they walked in, and he didn't look impressed
at being faced with two more teenagers.
Until Shinigami made an appearance.
The cop manhandling me wilted like a flower under a sudden hailstorm.
Heero put a practiced soothing hand on his partner's arm before he did
something terminal. He'd not even had to look at Duo. It was the easy,
instinctive partnership and friendship they'd shown towards one another
during the war and afterwards, the one that had always excluded me. Why...why
had they said they were in love with me? Right at that moment it seemed
like a cruel joke, I didn't see how anybody would even want to be my friend.
Heero quickly pulled his badge and did all the official stuff. Duo smiled
like a death sentence behind him, expediting matters considerably. I just
sat there like an idiot, a buzzing in my ears blotting out most of the
It looked like the solid friendship that linked them was still intact,
their partnership was still strong.
I had been wrong to run. That was a dishonourable thing. I knew what I
needed to do, I needed to make things right.
And watching them, I knew how. It was pretty damn obvious.
I followed them in silence back to the car. I said nothing on the way
back, even when Duo tried to draw me out. I had a lot of practice ignoring
those friendly blue eyes during the war. I did not respond to either of
them as I went to take a shower - I was never going to be warm again,
but that didn't matter - and went to bed. Duo looked like he was about
to say something but Heero shook his head, grabbed him by the hand and
dragged him upstairs towards their rooms. Heero knew what a nasty creature
a grumpy dragon could be. I watched them through closed lashes as I pretended
to sleep without even thanking them for taking me back into their home
I'd invaded. My eyes followed them as they went up the stairs hand in
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