Warnings, Notes: Stereotypes, confusion, country music
Author: Shoori

The Ambiguously Gay Duo

"He's got to be."

"I don't know..."

"Just look at all the signs!"

"Maybe. I'm not sure, though, that..."

"I'm telling you, Trowa, it's a given. It's definite. It's..."

"What are you talking about?" Wufei demanded curiously, stepping around the corner of the doorway into the kitchen, confronting the two pilots seated at the scarred wooden table.

Quatre jumped, startled, pinkening under Wufei's curious stare. Trowa just looked bored.

"Wufei! I didn't know you were there. How are you..." the blond's nervous stammer faded away under Wufei's steady gaze.

"What were you talking about?" Wufei repeated.

"Duo," Trowa replied succinctly.

"Duo?" Wufei repeated.

"Duo," the green-eyed pilot confirmed, nodding.

"What about Duo?" Wufei pressed impatiently.

"Nothing!" Quatre inserted quickly. "We were just discussing...that is, we were wondering...I mean..."

"We're trying to figure out if he's gay," Trowa interrupted.

Wufei felt himself redden, and was immediately angered by his own reaction. "Gay?" he repeated, hearing the strangled tone in his voice.

"Quatre says he is. I'm not so sure," Trowa went on, ignoring the other boy's discomfiture.

"Why not? I mean...why are you talking about that in the first place?" Wufei corrected, flustered.

"Why were you talking about it?" another voice interrupted from the doorway.

Wufei and Quatre jumped, startled, but Trowa just smirked at Heero, who glared impartially at the other pilots.

"Why would you waste your time on something so unimportant?" Heero demanded stonily. Wufei nodded in approval.

"We were just wondering..." Quatre began weakly, at the same moment Trowa snorted scornfully.

"Why the hell do you think?" the acrobat demanded, uncharacteristically acerbically, glaring at the Japanese pilot.

Heero's scowl deepened. "I...don't know," he said stiffly. "We have work to do, so we shouldn't be wasting time..."

Trowa snorted again. "You do so know," he interrupted disgustedly.

Heero glared at the other pilot. "I do not," he said frostily. "All I know is..."

"All I know is that you've been jumping me every time we've been in the same room for twenty minutes for the last six months," Trowa interrupted. "And Wufei does the same thing with Quatre, and..."

"Barton!" Wufei shouted, his shock at Trowa's first revelation disappearing as the other pilot casually dropped his most closely-guarded secret. "How did you know...I mean...what made you think..."

"Quatre told me," Trowa told him directly. "Three months ago. When we started doing it."

"What?" Wufei shrieked.

"It's ok, Wufei," Quatre soothed. "Trowa and I are wondering if..."

"We figure it's only a matter of time before we all start trading around," Trowa began.

"At least, we hope so," Quatre added, smiling seductively at Heero and Wufei both.

"...so, we thought we'd try to get Duo in too. But we don't know if he would be interested," Trowa finished smoothly.

"I think he would be," Quatre insisted stubbornly.

"But we don't know," Trowa pointed out, equally firmly.

"Only a matter of time..." Wufei repeated dazedly.

"Don't even tell me the idea doesn't appeal to you," Trowa said flatly, looking back and forth between Heero and Wufei. "All four of us? Or five of us? Together? At the same time?"

"All of us...together..." Wufei felt himself flush again, for a completely different reason. He turned and looked at Heero. The Japanese boy's bright blue eyes were slightly glazed. They cleared as he caught Wufei's stare, and slowly moved down the Chinese boy's body. Wufei felt his temperature go up another few degrees.

Something else 'went up' as well.

But he wasn't thinking about that.

He wasn't.

"Mission accepted," Heero announced firmly.

Trowa grinned. "I thought so," he murmured.

"What's happened to you?" Wufei blurted. He would never have expected Barton to be the one proposing this sort of...proposal.

"Heero. And Quatre," the other boy said succinctly. He smiled slowly. "And I'm hoping more...happens to me," he said, his voice deepening as his gaze raked over Wufei.

The Chinese boy blushed again.

"Come on, Wu," Quatre appealed softly. Wufei looked up at his frequent lover, his confusion dimming slightly at the smile in the familiar aqua eyes. "Play with us?"

Wufei's jaw tightened, as dozens of protestations fought to be the first out. He opened his mouth, and was stunned to hear himself reply, "Very well."

"Great! We're all in!" Quatre cried happily, clapping his hands together.

"What's the plan?" Heero demanded.

"Well," Quatre began, abruptly shifting from childish to businesslike. "We thought we'd observe him. See if we can get any clues. If we decide he might be interested, we'll invite him to...join us."

"If we decide he's interested," Trowa repeated significantly.

"I'm telling you, it's all right there!" Quatre insisted.

Trowa shook his head. "There's nothing definite, Quat," he insisted. "It's all..."

Wufei cleared his throat. "Why don't we just...ask him?" he suggested weakly.

Trowa and Quatre started at him as though he were going out of his head. "Ask him?" Trowa repeated, wrinkling his nose distastefully.

"What if he's not interested?" Quatre asked, sounding distressed. "He might be...embarrassed. Or hurt. Or angry."

"It's better to try to...feel him out a little first," Trowa concluded, smirking a little as he emphasized the double entendre.

"So it's a reconnaissance mission," Heero interrupted.

Trowa nodded. "At least at first," he agreed.

"We're all here for at least another week," Quatre reminded them all happily. "We observe for a day or two, then make our move."

"Or not," Trowa reminded him. Quatre rolled his eyes.

"So anyway," the blond continued, but was interrupted as the fifth, much-discussed member of their party suddenly bounded into the kitchen.

"Hey, guys!" Duo cried happily, "What's up?"

"Not much," Quatre began, only to be interrupted as Duo wrapped him in an exuberant hug.

"I'm done!" Duo crowed. "'Scythe's repaired, and I have some vacation!"

"That's great!" Quatre congratulated him, returning Duo's hug. Over the American's shoulder, Quatre smirked at Trowa. See? he mouthed smugly.

Trowa rolled his eyes.

"Hey, man, what are you doing later?" Duo demanded suddenly, straightening up and turning to Trowa.

The acrobat shrugged.

"Wanna go shoot some hoops? It'd be a shame to waste those bikes."

Duo and Trowa had 'found' some motorcycles as they were returning from a mission together several months earlier, and had restored them together.

"Sure," Trowa replied easily.

"Awesome," Duo enthused, punching Trowa in the shoulder as he passed him on the way to the refrigerator.

Now Trowa smirked at Quatre. See? he parroted, silently but triumphantly.

Quatre growled.

"Mind if I turn on the radio?" Duo breezed on, oblivious to the undercurrents in the room. Without waiting for an answer, he clicked on the power switch.

A heavy techno beat invaded the room, mingling with Duo's shout of delight.

"I love dance music!" he yelled happily, his hips moving in time with the music.

Quatre's face brightened.

"Wonder what else there is..." Duo went on, turning the dial.

Guitar chords replaced the thumping beat. "A country station? Out here?" Duo cried. "You see, the only thing that matters money can't buy/And when it gets down the bottom line/It's the love you find between a woman and a man," he warbled along with the radio.

Trowa nodded significantly as Quatre's face fell.

"I wonder what else we get..." Duo mused. The music changed again, and again Duo cried out in delight. "Barbra Striesand! I love her!" he shouted.

"Ha!" shouted Quatre aloud.

Wufei sighed. This was going to be harder than he'd thought.

+

"Sorry, Duo! I didn't realize you were in here," Wufei stammered as he stood in the doorway of the bathroom. He hoped that the lie didn't sound as wooden as he thought it did.

"No prob, Wu," Duo grinned. He was leaning against the sink, a towel wrapped around his hips. His hair hung in wet tangles down his back. "We're both guys, after all," he grinned. "Not like I've got anything you want."

"Right," Wufei choked. Damn. "I'll just....I'll go. Um...are you going to be long?"

"I have to do my hair," Duo said apologetically.

"Oh," Wufei managed. He had to sound so idiotic.

"It's such a pain," Duo sighed. Wufei's gaze followed his as they swept over the array of bottles and tubes arranged on the sink. "I need to add the de-tangler, and then there's the mousse to keep it flat, and the gel to give it volume. And I dry it from the bottom up so the ends don't split. And it's kind of hard to braid it all the way down by myself. Thank goodness for hair wax!" Duo proclaimed. "I was stuck without any for a whole week once when I was out on a mission, and I thought I'd die!"

Wufei weakly joined in the other boy's laugh as he retreated from the bathroom.

He had no idea what to tell the others.

+

"What're you doing, Duo?" Quatre demanded brightly, slamming into Duo's bedroom.

The bare-chested boy grinned at him over his shoulder, then returned to his perusal of the contents of his closet. "Just picking out something to wear," he replied dismissively.

"What are the choices?" Quatre demanded.

"I've narrowed it down to these two," Duo said after a moment, pulling two shirts out of the closet.

One was a bright floral print, shades of peach and crimson chasing each other around the silky fabric. Quatre grinned, pleased, as he watched it sway slightly on its hanger.

The smile faded as he took in the second garment, a blue and orange jersey emblazoned with the name of Duo's favorite basketball team.

"I mean, this one's nice because it doesn't really show if I drop anything on it," Duo explained as he waved the flowery garment in the air. "But I like this one because it breathes. It's so refreshing when it's hot," he continued, pursing his lips in indecision as he stared at the jersey.

Quatre blinked, completely confused.

"Umm...I'd go with the jersey then," he suggested weakly.

"Thanks, Q!" Duo nodded, sticking the flowered shirt back into the closet. He pulled the jersey over his head and grinned at the blond as he bounded out of the room.

Quatre sighed.

Mission failure.

+

"Hey, T! Whatcha doin?" Duo demanded, plopping onto the couch beside Trowa.

The acrobat looked up calmly, and silently hefted the book he was reading. Duo grinned.

"Kind of obvious, huh?" he chortled, shaking his head self-deprecatingly. "Mind if I turn on the TV?" he demanded, nodding at the silent screen.

Trowa shook his head, and Duo grabbed the remote, turning the TV on and rapidly flicking through channels.

"Yes! I love this show!" Duo cried after a moment.

Trowa looked up and frowned at the screen. Two people in bright red smocks were painting a wall, while a short, balding, bearded man carefully glued beads onto a lampshade.

"Have you ever seen it? Trading Spaces?" the American pressed. He continued without an answer, apparently confident that Trowa had not. "People trade houses with their friends, and they each redecorate on room in each other's house. They each get a designer, and they don't get any say in what their own room will look like. This designer is Frank," he went on, gesturing with the hand that held the remote toward the bearded man. "He's my favorite."

Trowa studied the man with a bit more interest. "I'm dripping," Frank drawled. "I'm a short fat man. We don't deal well with the heat."

Hmmm, Trowa thought. Frank sounded a little... Hmm. And if he was Duo's favorite...

"His rooms are cool. And he talks about his wife a lot. He's the only one of the designers that talks about his family. I think that's sweet.

Trowa sighed.

"I've seen this one, anyway," Duo continued, flipping channels again. "Maybe we can find something else to... Rock out!" he interrupted himself, stopping at another channel.

Trowa stared, bemused, at the screen as a small, round machine extended a long metallic arm and began hammering another, larger, machine in front of it.

"Battle Bots rocks!" Duo crowed. "People build robots, and the robots fight each other, and whichever one gets destroyed loses. Come on, kick it's ass!" he shouted at the television as the smaller robot back the larger one into the corner.

Trowa sighed again.

+

Heero plopped down wearily at the empty chair at the kitchen table as Duo bounded out of the room and up the stairs, intent on putting his new purchases away.

"Well?" demanded Quatre eagerly, pushing his tea cup aside. "What did you find out?"

"Nothing," Heero said flatly.

"Nothing?" Quatre repeated, disappointed.

"You were shopping with him all day," Wufei pointed out, scowling. "You found nothing useful?"

Heero scowled back.

"Where did you go?" Quatre pressed.

Heero sighed. "First, we went shopping for clothes."

"That's good," Quatre said hopefully.

"What did he buy?" Trowa asked.

Heero sighed. "Low-rise jeans," he began.

"Ha!" crowed Quatre.

"And tube socks." Heero finished.

"Huh," the blond murmured, cowed.

"Then we went to the arcade," Heero continued wearily.

"The arcade, huh?" Trowa nodded knowingly.

"What did he play?" Wufei demanded.

Heero sighed. "The dance machine..."

"I knew it!"

"NFL Football..."

"See?"

"Ms. Pacman..."

"Ms. Pacman? You're kidding me..."

"And Tomb Raider, so he could look at Lara Croft's boobs."

The other three were silent.

"Huh," Quatre said again.

"We went to the bookstore for coffee and to look at magazines..."

"What did he get to drink?" Wufei asked curiously.

Heero sighed. "A mocha latte with skim milk."

"Oh, come on," Quatre appealed. "What more do we need?"

"Magazines?" Trowa asked simply.

"Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition," Heero replied briefly.

Another silence.

"What else did you do?" Quatre asked. He was starting to sound a little apprehensive.

"We had dinner," Heero said flatly.

"What did he order?" Trowa pressed.

"Steak."

"Really." Trowa nodded sadly. "And his side dish? Baked potato?"

Heero shook his head. "Rice pilaf," he replied briefly.

"Damn it!" Wufei grumbled.

"His steak...was it rare or well-done?" Quatre asked hopefully.

Heero stared levelly at all three of them for a moment. "Medium," he replied finally.

"Damn it!" Wufei shouted. Everyone turned to look at the red-faced Chinese boy. "It's hopeless!" He raged. "It's been three days! We know nothing!! Maxwell is the most gender-neutral person I have ever seen! He defies logic! He..."

"He wonders how much longer it'll take you guys to get up your collective nerve and ask him if he'd like to fool around with you," a calm voice interrupted from the doorway.

The four pilots stared nervously at each other for a long, silent moment before turning to look at the slim form lounging carelessly against the doorframe.

"You...knew?" Trowa managed, after a long moment.

Duo grinned. "I overheard you all talking," he explained. "I thought it'd be fun to play with you for awhile."

"To...play with us," Quatre repeated hollowly.

"Yeah," Duo agreed, a little apologetically. "I thought you'd have me figured out by now, though," he added, frowning critically at them.

Quatre glanced at the others. Wufei looked chagrined. Heero looked a little angry he probably didn't like that his mission had been uncovered before it was completed. Trowa's expression was almost blank, but there was a gleam in his emerald eyes as he stared assessingly at the American.

"You've been...a little hard to figure out," he pointed out delicately.

Duo chuckled. "You're not the first to say that," he allowed generously.

Quatre cleared his throat. "So which...is you?" he asked slowly.

Duo raised a brow. "Which is me? Do you mean, do I like flowered shirts or jerseys, Trading Spaces or Battle Bots, Ms. Pacman or Tomb Raider?" He grinned. "Girls or boys?" he finished, his grin changing to a teasing smirk.

Quatre swallowed heavily. "Yeah," he replied, hoping it made sense as a reply.

"Well...I love both those shirts. And both shows. And both games are fun. And... of course I like girls..."

Quatre looked down, feeling the same disappointment that tightened his chest almost unbearably emanating from the other pilots.

"But I like boys."

Quatre's head snapped up, as he stared at the American, unsure if the emphasis he had heard was really there. Duo's smirk, now openly seductive reassured him.

"Duo...do you mean...would you like to..." Quatre shook his head impatiently as his usual eloquence deserted him.

"Still not direct enough for you?" Duo shook his head sadly. "Ok, how's this: My room, five minutes. Clothes prohibited. Be there, or miss the fuck out." He winked at the other pilots as he turned and abruptly exited the room.

Quatre stared speechlessly at the others.

"Well," Wufei said flatly.

That about summed it up, Quatre supposed.

"I guess you were right, Quat," Trowa said slowly.

"Did we... complete the mission?" Heero asked, his voice uncertain.

Quatre smiled slowly. "I... think we have a new mission, Heero," he said. "And it commences in... three minutes."

There was another silence.

"Mission accepted," Heero declared, turning and pounding up the stairs to Duo's room, the others hot on his heels.

end

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