Rebuilding + Chapter 13 (cont)
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I can't possibly be getting too old for this, damn it! I'm only eighteen!
Leaving his bag where he'd dropped it, he walked slowly towards the bedroom, draping his coat, uniform jacket and tie over a chair on the way. I'll tidy up in the morning, he told himself, yawning. Right now, all I want to do is climb in with Duo and go to sleep-- Carefully easing the door open, he looked towards the futon and blinked as the faint moonlight filtering through the gap in the curtains revealed not one, but two heads on the pillows. Who-- Relena?! Nobody said anything about Relena being here...
He must have made some sort of noise, because one of the spooned figures shifted and yawned. Raking loose hair back out of her face, Relena looked up and saw him, expression shifting quickly from sleepy alarm to surprised recognition to delight. Quickly gesturing for him to stay quiet, she eased out of bed, patting Duo's shoulder reassuringly as the sleeping teen shifted uneasily.
"Let's talk in the lounge," she whispered, padding quietly past Wufei, an interesting sight in fuzzy flannel pyjamas and bedsocks. He almost blurted out a surprised question as he saw the impressive black eye, but got himself under control and eased the door closed, following her out.
"What happened?" he asked anxiously, keeping his voice down as he gestured at her bruised cheek. He had an uncomfortable suspicion that he could name the cause, considering how he'd nearly been similarly damaged the first time he'd experienced one of Duo's nightmares.
"Duo had a nightmare, and Heero didn't warn me to duck," Relena said wryly, one hand going up to the multi-coloured swelling, "which is why he now has a matching shiner. I'm rather proud of it, actually."
"Heero has a-- you gave Heero a black eye?!" Wufei sputtered incredulously. Relena just smiled demurely and nodded, and a slow grin spread over his face. "Oh, I wish I'd seen that," he murmured.
"Unfortunately, the punch wasn't recorded," she sighed, eyes twinkling, "but I'm sure I can arrange for a few photos to be delivered to you if you don't see Heero in person before it fades. More importantly, Wufei, what are you doing back already? I thought you were going to be gone for another couple of days!"
"So did I, and I wasn't given a chance to call again before I was packed off down here," he snorted. "The surprise is mutual, by the way; nobody told me you were here."
"Well, that's silly," she muttered, shaking her head. "I can understand Duo being too distracted to tell you when you called, but Trowa and Heero don't have that excuse. I suppose they thought it wasn't important. Men!" she added acidly, then suddenly looked embarrassed. "Er-- present company excepted, of course..."
"I'm not sure I want to be excepted from the general category 'men', but I think I'll take that as a weird sort of compliment. Since you aren't a man, and you are therefore, by definition, capable of passing on non-mission-critical data, would you mind telling me why you're here?"
"The day after you left, Duo stopped answering the phone," she told him, sobering. "He was fine-- he was just screening his calls, so the number wouldn't be engaged if you tried to reach him-- but it made various people panic, myself not entirely excluded. Sally was being paranoid, Quatre was pushing for Duo to go stay with him and Trowa, and Duo was absolutely determined to stay right here until you returned, so in the end I declared that I was going to stay here too. I didn't think he needed a keeper; I did it so everyone would stop arguing and leave Duo alone."
"I take it he did need you, though?" Wufei asked quietly, glancing towards the bedroom. "At least at night?"
"He hasn't had a bad nightmare since that first night," Relena said quickly, hand going up to touch the bruise again. "And he's been fine during the day-- well, he wasn't happy when he found out about the smugglers, but that's only to be expected... He hasn't coughed much and he's been eating well. He's still quiet, but he hasn't ignored me."
"Well, that's... better than I feared, at least," Wufei sighed, rubbing wearily at his forehead. He was opening his mouth to say something else when a faint, distressed noise from the bedroom had him moving in that direction without even thinking about it.
Duo had twisted around onto his back, whimpering quietly, hands pawing at the blankets tangled around his waist. "Shh, Duo," Wufei murmured, going to his knees by the futon and reaching out to gently stroke the sleeping teen's cheek. "Shh, it's all right. I'm heeeep!"
The end of the sentence was cut off by an undignified squeak as Duo lunged up off the bed, latching onto Wufei with desperate strength and dragging him down. After a quick flurry of movement, during which Wufei instinctively tried to control the fall and not land on top of Duo or elbow him in the head, he found himself flat on his back, half on the futon, with Duo's still-sleeping form curled onto his chest, both arms wrapped around his waist and holding on like grim death.
"He did that in his sleep?" Relena whispered, tiptoeing a couple of steps into the room.
"...It certainly looks like it," Wufei whispered back, wide-eyed and rather shaken. "I, er, I don't think I'm going to be getting out of this any time soon."
"I don't think you should try," she admitted, eyeing Duo. "That looks like 'You can take my Wufei when you pry him out of my cold dead fingers' to me; you might just manage to shift his grip into a headlock."
"I'm not going to disagree with that evaluation," Wufei muttered, cautiously shifting his hips further onto the bed. Thank all the gods for bathrooms on shuttles!"Can you get the spare futon out by yourself?"
"It won't be a problem. First, though, I think you'll sleep better without these," she said, kneeling by his feet to undo his shoelaces and pull off his shoes. Then she reached for his belt buckle as well, and Duo's weight was the only thing that prevented him from levitating off the futon with a strangled yelp.
"Woman!" he hissed, keeping his voice down with an effort. "What do you think you're doing?!"
"I'm just taking your belt off, not your pants!" she hissed back. "Do you want Duo to wake up with the buckle permanently embedded somewhere? Besides, even if I did take your pants off, I'd be very surprised if you weren't wearing anything underneath. And even if you weren't, it's not as if I haven't seen it before! I mean--" she cleared her throat, suddenly embarrassed. "I mean, it's not as if I haven't seen that sort of thing before, even if I've never seen your... specific... I'm just digging myself deeper, aren't I?"
"If you stop now, I think we can pretend this conversation never happened," Wufei said grimly, aware that he was blushing as he worked his belt free one-handed and passed it to her. "Good night, Relena."
"*ahem* Good night," she whispered, quickly untangling the blankets and pulling them up.
"You can't have him," Duo muttered, arms tightening for a moment. "'M not letting go." Sighing, he relaxed again, mumbling something incomprehensible as his voice trailed off.
"...Still asleep?" Relena whispered after a short pause while they waited for any further proclamations.
"Still asleep," Wufei confirmed, stroking Duo's hair gently.
"Looks like I was right," she chuckled quietly, getting up and walking towards the door. "You're going to have to be pried loose."
"Even that wouldn't be enough," Wufei whispered, half to himself. "Duo wouldn't be the only one hanging on."
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