Author: pyrzm
see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Rated R for sensuality and pampering. And how can you have a real GWing yaoi love story without at least one giant bathtub scene, right? When Heero says "Not tonight, honey" he means it. Sorta.

Broken Warriors + Chapter 18
Luxury

Dr. Santos arranged for a physical therapist to do an evaluation on Heero before he started a regular workout, and for a nurse to check his blood and vitals. Heero thanked her and the staff for their kindness, and shook hands with Dr. Batoosingh.

"I'll call tomorrow and set up an appointment schedule, once you've settled in," the doctor told him. "And with you, Duo. Both of you, be careful with each other, yes?"

"We will," Heero assured him.

No one said much during the short chopper hop to the embassy. Heero was still trying to sort out his reaction to the day's revelations, balancing the shock of the STD against the fact that he had actually made love to Duo, and fully intended to do it again, However, that was going have to wait until he'd completed the Penicillin K. He hadn't told Duo yet. Otherwise he doubted he'd be sitting so close now, or holding his hand.

Heero couldn't get a solid reading on the 03/04 situation. They were sitting next to each other, but weren't touching each other like they usually did. Perhaps loud, prolonged sex wasn't enough to fix some situations?

Wufei wasn't speaking to any of them, and wouldn't even make eye contact with Heero. In retrospect, Heero was a bit embarrassed at having had that particular teammate see him in bed with Duo, but there wasn't much he could do about it.

At the moment, he was most concerned about the tension with Trowa. And it didn't help that his mind kept wandering back to how good 03 had looked, standing by the window with his shirt off. Duo was right; Trowa was hot.

He stole a guilty look at Quatre and was startled to find the blond watching him. 'He's hot, too,' Heero thought, holding that gaze and giving Quatre an apologetic smile. That blue streak in his hair really set off his eyes. Quatre must have been in receiving mode, because he blushed and looked away.

Heero gave himself a mental shake; he was getting as bad as Duo! Quatre and Trowa had both been good friends to him, and lifesavers for Duo while he was gone. He was still a bit jealous about that, but grateful, too. He smiled again, remembering Quatre's impulsive kiss that first day in the hospital. For Quatre's sake, he was going to make this right somehow.

The chopper touched down on a broad lawn inside the embassy walls and the same junior ambassador who'd helped Heero earlier met the five of them now. Heero had been too sick to catch the man's name or properly note his appearance before, but did so now as the man introduced himself to the others as Mr. Hector Peacecraft, a second cousin of the line. He was dressed in the archaic embroidered coat and white trousers the court favored, and his black hair was coifed into ringlets across his forehead.

"You are looking much better, Mr. Yuy," Peacecraft said, ushering them through a formal garden and in through a set of tall French doors. "Princess Relena sends her greetings and her apologies. A last minute matter of state came up after she spoke with Mr. Barton, one that will detain her for at least a day. She hopes to telephone you sometime this evening."

"Thank you."

They passed through a drawing room into the central lobby of the embassy. Duo let out a soft whistle, and everyone stared.

The building was constructed in the Sanque style, which meant it was highly ornate and rather overdone for Heero's tastes. The entrance chamber was massive, with walls paneled in white and gold, and hung with ornately framed paintings of Sanque nobles and heroes. Huge crystal chandeliers hung on gilded chains below a frescoed ceiling. The chamber floor and sweeping double staircase were of polished Sanque marble. Their footsteps echoed as they crossed to something like a concierge's desk and were signed in as guests in a large guest ledger. As Heero automatically noted exits and security points, he searched as always for an adjective to set the image in his mind. He found himself torn between "opulent" and "garish."

Liveried servants appeared as if on cue to take their meager luggage. Wufei hung onto his bag, fending the servant off with a frown. "I won't be staying."

"But you'll come up with us, right?" asked Quatre.

"If you insist," the Chinese pilot said with a grudging sigh. "Ambassador, would it be possible to arrange transport for me this evening? The time doesn't matter."

"Certainly, Captain. I will see to the arrangements."

An equally ornate elevator whisked them silently up to the third floor guest wing. Peacecraft directed them to a series of doors along one corridor, four of which had keys ready the locks. "These adjoining rooms have been prepared for you. I shall leave it to you gentlemen to sort yourselves out. Is there anything else you require?"

"Food would be good," Duo told him. "We didn't exactly have a chance to go out for dinner."

"But of course. You will find a list of house specialties in your rooms. Simply dial 7 for the kitchen and it will be brought up. Laundry services are also available at that number."

"Is there a fitness room?" asked Heero.

"Yes, on the fifth floor. Please, do make yourselves at home."

The rooms were all very much the same, sumptuous and overblown as the rest of the place, with tall windows overlooking the side garden they'd entered through. The beds were enormous, with blue and gold comforters and canopies of heavy velvet that matched the draperies.

Heero chose one at random, and Duo moved to follow.

"Perhaps you should take the one next door?" Heero said quietly.

Duo looked over at him surprise. "Am I being punished?"

"No, of course not!" He stepped aside and let Duo enter. "But I thought it might be better, for tonight at least, if we maintained a little distance."

"And how is that not punishing me?" Duo asked, scowling as he flopped down on the gigantic bed.

"I'll be done with the antibiotics by tomorrow night. Until then, I'd prefer we didn't tempt each other. I don't know if I can sleep with you and not want you again."

Duo softened a little. "I told you, Heero, your blood work is fine. And I've got plenty of rubbers!"

But Heero was adamant. Perhaps he was punishing Duo a little, for manipulating him. But it suddenly felt like just as much a punishment for himself. "Tomorrow night, I promise. Consider it a test of our mutual self control."

"Not my strong suit." Sulking, Duo wandered off in the direction of the bathroom. A moment later Heero heard him whistle again. "Hey, come see if this changes your mind!"

The bathroom was larger than some of the safe houses they'd used in the war, another confection of gilt and marble. The sunken marble tub could have held all five of them.

"Did you call ahead and reserve the orgy suite?" Duo asked, examining shelves stocked with thick white towels and crystal jars of bath salts and oils. More towels and washcloths were artistically arranged in a white whicker basket beside the bathtub. Duo opened a closet next to a glassed in shower enclosure and discovered at least a dozen robes in different sizes and colors, with a choice of silk or thick terry. "Damn, I guess I get to see what Heaven looks like, after all!"

Heero smiled. "So this is your idea of Heaven?"

"Close enough. If I start the tub running now, do you think it will be ready before tomorrow?"

"It really is a wasteful set up. You bathe first, and I'll get in after."

Duo pouted at him. Heero did his best to pretend he was ignoring him. "You start the water. I'll find the menu and see if the others want to eat with us."

Two doors down he found the other three gathered around a small dining table in front of the window, studying a thick menu in an embossed leather portfolio. Apparently Quatre had talked Wufei into staying for supper, because he and Trowa were debating whether to order traditionally from the Sanque cuisine listing or paella.

"Sanque food looks better than it tastes," Heero warned. "It's very heavy. Too much butter and cream."

"You could use the calories," Quatre said. "But maybe something easier on your stomach? The seafood paella sound good, and maybe some chicken and lime soup?"

"Sounds good to me!" Duo said, coming to join them. Taking a running start, he launched himself into the middle of their bed, skidding across the comforter into the mounds of pillows. "Hoo baby! This place is waaaay too good for this L-2 rat, but it's gonna take armed soldiers to evict me. Whadya say, Kat? Pretty ritzy digs, even by your standards. You and Tro will be lucky to find each other in the dark."

"Oh, I'll find him," Trowa murmured.

Wufei slapped down the menu. "Do you think we could go more than five minutes without someone having sex or talking about it?"

"Hey, no one asked you to barge in on us!" Duo shot back, twirling the end of his braid.

Wufei scowled darkly. "Doors lock, Maxwell."

"Yeah, and they can be knocked on, too."

"What happened?" Trowa demanded.

"Oh, Wuffei got an eyeful of us after we locked you two down," Duo told him.

"We got an earful," Quatre exclaimed, rolling his eyes.

"Like you've got any room to talk, Blondie. 'O TRO-ah, TRO-ah, TRO-ah!'" Duo rolled across the bed, moaning.

"That's what I'm talking about!" Wufei snapped. "If you're not all fucking each other, you're bragging about it. And now you!" He shot an accusing glare at Heero.

Heero was perplexed as to why it should matter to 05. "I apologize if Duo and I embarrassed you earlier, but it was partly your fault for barging in like that."

Wufei colored angrily. "I apologize for that. I wasn't at my best, having been kept awake every damn night by these two!"

"They are pretty loud," Duo agreed, only to be pelted off the bed in a hail of pillows. He disappeared laughing over the far edge of the mattress. "Jeeze, check this out! Even the carpets here are too good for me!"

"That's enough, all of you," Heero said. "Wufei, I'm sorry you feel uncomfortable around any of us. You know I have only the deepest respect for you. In the future, we should all be more careful when setting up accommodations."

Duo popped up over the edge of the bed again. "Yeah, I'm sorry, too. We'll lock the door next time, or hang a necktie on the knob or something. It wasn't exactly-planned that time."

"I guess we could try to be a bit quieter, when we're away from home," Quatre offered, giving Wufei one of those irresistible puppy eye looks. "Don't go away mad, please? Your friendship means a lot."

Not even Wufei was immune to that look. "Very well. But I do have to get back to work. Heero, you'll be all right now, won't you?"

"Of course. The doctors believe I'm not crazy. The rest is just physical recovery."

"Fuck, the tub!" Duo looked back as he bolted out the door. "And I didn't mean that literally, Wuffie!"

"Come back when you're done. We'll eat here," Quatre called after him.

Heero stood and stretched. "I'm going to look at the fitness equipment. Wufei?"

They took the elevator up to the top floor and discovered a facility professional athletes would envy. In addition to the usual free weights and machines, there was a full-sized pool, a Jacuzzi, and sauna. Huge plate glass windows gave a panoramic view of the city below.

Heero took a trial pull at the lat machine, but found he couldn't lift anything close to his usual weight.

"You shouldn't do that until the PT looks you over," Wufei warned. "Clearly you've suffered some muscle atrophy."

Heero frowned, and settled for a light setting on the recumbent bike. Wufei went to the large mat by a mirrored wall and flowed through a series of practice katas. Heero was winded after a few minutes, but pushed himself to five. "Damn!"

"You're young. And muscles have memory, especially as highly trained as you were," Wufei offered, sitting down to stretch.

Heero sat back, resting his feet on the pedals. "Does it bother you so much, me being with Duo?"

Wufei seemed to be ignoring him, but said at last, "I have come to appreciate the others. They were all good warriors in their own way, but peace has made them foolish. They act like children now, and he's the worst."

"The war damaged him, Wufei. It left him ill and lost. So did my abandoning him like that."

"You were even sicker, Heero. I understand what you did and why. I think you were very wise, even if you didn't fully understand your own motives. The person I blame is Relena Peacecraft. She could have helped us find you sooner, instead of letting it come out as it did. I do not understand it."

"I asked her not to."

"You were not in your right mind. She must have seen that."

Heero shook his head. "I don't remember, really. She's always had some odd attachment to me. Perhaps that swayed her judgment."

"No doubt. As for you and Maxwell?" Wufei took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "Perhaps I am a little jealous."

Heero stared at him. "Jealous? Don't tell me you're attracted to one of us?"

Wufei spared him a glare, but it seemed half hearted. "I am not gay. I find it more than a little unsettling that the rest of you are. Oh, Maxwell and Winner came as no surprise. But you and Barton? That did. Until this afternoon I'd assumed that you at least were--Well, I am persuaded otherwise. But I'm more surprised still that both of you and Barton chose such ill-matching partners."

"Ill-matched? No; complimentary personalities. And to find love with one who knows what you went through? It's a very lucky thing. Is that why you're jealous?"

Wufei stood and surprised Heero with a bow, palms together in front of his heart. "In part, perhaps. But mostly because you and Barton so clearly love the bakas, and are so obviously and deeply loved in return. Even I cannot see that without being moved." He came to Heero and extended his hand. "I wish you good fortune and many happy years, if you can manage not to strangle Maxwell with his own hair. I watched him yearn for you during the war, and saw how badly he suffered while you were gone. You were lucky to find him alive when you returned to us. Take good care of him from now on. He is worth it, under all the foolishness, I think."

Heero clasped his hand, deeply touched. "I will, Wufei, thank you. I hope you find the same love for yourself. And also that you will always feel welcome with the rest of us."

Wufei bowed again. "Thank you. Will you be all right if I go tonight?"

"I'd rather you stayed, but yes, I will be fine."

"Very well. Perhaps we should go back now, assuming you accomplished your mission?" He gave Heero another hint of a smile.

The food hadn't arrived yet, so Heero went to sort out his laundry. "Duo, are you done yet? And shall I put your clothes in with mine for the--" He stopped short just inside the bathroom doorway, caught by the sight of Duo floating luxuriously on his back in the enormous tub. His eyes were closed but the way he was smiling told Heero he knew he was being observed. The bath salts he'd chosen tinted the water blue against the white marble and made it smell like roses and lemons. He looked like a pale, glowing angel with his hair floating around him like that.

Or a mermaid.

'A horny mermaid,' Heero amended. Duo's hands floated free on either side of him, but his cock was hard against his belly.

Duo yawned and stretched, bobbing gently, then opened his eyes. "Oh, there you are. Sure you won't join me?" He turned over and came to the edge of the tub, hair trailing sinuously behind him. Resting his chin on his folded hands, he regarded Heero with seemingly innocent interest.

Heero knelt and caught his chin in one hand, lifting him for a chaste, close-lipped kiss. "Yes, I'm sure. And stop teasing me."

"Can't help it!" Duo pouted prettily. "Have you taken your pills? I'm due for my Lamictal."

"You remembered!" Duo had been very good about that since giving Heero his promise.

"Could you get it for me, lover? Please? And my shampoo and conditioner? My bag's over there by the sink. "

Several cut crystal glasses stood ready on a glass shelf above the sink, together with a small fresh flower arrangement and some plastic-wrapped guest toiletries. Heero claimed a blue toothbrush, the first he'd owned in at least six months. He inspected his face briefly in the mirror as he filled a glass and took his antibiotics; no sign of beard regrowth yet, but he needed to brush his teeth and wash his hair. "My hair is very dull looking, and still too long. Are there any scissors here?"

"Don't!" Duo called over. "I like it like that. It's sexy. Just use my shampoo and stuff and it'll look great."

Heero looked at his reflection again, noting how the hair brushed the collar of his sweater and shadowed his eyes. If Duo liked it like that, that was fine with him. He unzipped Duo's bag and looked for the items he'd asked for. In the process he found the eyeliner pencil and lip gloss, too. He regarded them for a moment, certain thoughts forming in his mind, then put them back where he'd found them.

Balancing the various tubes and bottles with a glass of water, he went back and sat down at the edge of the tub. "Here, pills first."

Duo swallowed them and looked up expectantly. He liked being rewarded for remembering. Heero smiled and flipped open the shampoo bottle. "Turn around, little mermaid. I'll wash your hair."

Duo's grin turned incredulous. "What did you call me?"

"Mermaid." Heero wondered if this was somehow insulting, then realized that any mermaid he'd ever seen in a picture had been female. But it stood to reason that there must be males, too. "It was meant as a compliment, Duo. With your hair floating around you in the water like that, you remind me of one, and I like mermaids. They're very beautiful and exotic. Like you." He faltered to a halt, not knowing what to make of the look Duo was giving him.

"You don't remember the first time you called me that, do you?"

"I've never called you that."

"Oh yes, you did!" Duo turned around as requested, but Heero could tell he wasn't angry at all. Rather, he seemed quite pleased.

"I'm sure I didn't." Heero poured some shampoo onto Duo's wet hair and began to work it through. "Wait. That time I washed your hair in the lake?"

"That freezing fucking Finnish lake!"

"Yes, that one. Your hair spread out in the water, like it is now, and I did think about--But I didn't say it!"

"Yeah, you did. Well, you just sort of growled it to yourself, but I heard. Thought I was hallucinating at the time, but you did!" He chortled with delight. "Way back then, back when we all thought you were such a stone cold killer with no more emotion than a gundam, you were a romantic after all!"

Heero didn't bother denying it. "Even back then, you had a very strange effect on me."

"Glad to hear it. Mmmmmmm. Oh that feels great!" Duo arched his neck happily as Heero massaged his scalp, then worked the fragrant lather down through the long mass of wet hair. When he was done Duo submerged and shook his head under the water, rinsing. There was enough water to allow for excellent dispersion.

When he came up again, Heero squeezed some of the water out and went to work with the conditioner. "This smells very good. I like sandalwood."

"Good. It ain't cheap, but hey, I'm worth it, right?"

"Yes, you are." Heero worked the slippery strands through his fingers, savoring the texture and the warm aroma. "It makes you smell very good, but not like a girl. Rinse, please."

Duo finished and stood up. Heero stared happily, watching the water stream down over that flat chest and belly, and down through the soft nest of chestnut curls around his sex.

"02 to 01, over! Getting cold here. Copy that?"

"I copy, 02. Got distracted." Heero grinned and handed him a towel for his hair, then wrapped a large bath sheet around him as he stepped up, combining toweling with a few kisses and a long hug. "And you are my beautiful mermaid!"

Still enveloped, Duo leaned into him and chuckled against his shoulder. "Never believe me if I told 'em."

"What?"

"Nothing. I love you, Heero. You keep surprising me."

"Surprises are good?"

"They are lately!" He kissed Heero lightly on the lips and took over the drying. "Get in and have a soak while I dry my hair. Then I'll wash yours for you. Don't do it without me, OK?"

Heero undressed and slipped into the water, which smelled of roses and lemons and sandalwood now. He wondered if Duo would mind if they smelled the same?

Across the room Duo let the towels fall away and went to work with his comb and a blow dryer. Heero relaxed and enjoyed the view under half closed lids-- all that hip-length chestnut hair gradually drying in shining waves, swaying around that wonderful, slender body.

'Mine,' Heero thought with a very pleasurable rush of possessiveness. He had plans for that body, tonight and tomorrow. When Duo bent at the waist to dry the underneath layers, Heero found himself reaching to stroke his own erection under the water. He still lacked much in the way of practical application, but was currently drawing heavily on his considerable body of research.

"I'm going to make love to you for a very long time next time, Duo Maxwell, " he murmured, knowing the blow-dryer would drown out the words. "You will scream my name again."

It would have been very easy to bring himself off in the tub, but he decided against it in favor of storing up all his energies for better use.

Just then another sound cut through the dryer's drone. Duo switched it off, then looked around for the phone that was ringing. It was mounted on the wall near the shower. Hurrying over, he grabbed the handset. "Honeymoon suite, may I help you?" He winked at Heero, and then covered the mouthpiece. "Call coming through from Relena. You want to take it?"

Heero dried his hands on a towel from the basket beside him and took the phone. "Hello, Relena?"

"Heero!" She sounded very happy to hear his voice. "You poor thing! I saw you on the news. I can't believe how thin you are, but you look so handsome all the same. Are you eating?"

"Not at the moment-"

"I'm sorry those press vultures found you already, but it was good to see you. Where did you get that wonderful jacket?"

"It was a gift from-"

"I saw the others, too, and that fight with that dreadful German. Is everyone all right?"

"I think he might have been hurt-"

"But you got to the embassy safely?"

Heero sighed. "Obviously."

"And they are making you comfortable?"

Heero wiggled his toes, swirling the warm, scented waters. In his direct line of vision, Duo was standing naked at the mirror, deftly braiding his hair. "Very."

"What did the doctors say about your condition?"

"I was suffering from malnutrition, exposure, ringworm and syphilis, but I'm much better now."

There was a long silence on the other end of the line. "Then it was true, what that awful man said?"

"Awful man? Oh." She was referring to the German reporter's accusations. "I was not a prostitute, Relena. At least I don't remember being one."

"But the--that disease."

"Yes."

"How horrible!"

"It had not reached a painful stage," he said, hoping to reassure her. "I didn't know I was infected until a few hours ago. I'm almost done with the necessary course of treatment. There were only a few lesions-"

"That's-uh, well, that's good to hear."

Across the room, Duo was doubled over with silent laughter. Heero raised a questioning eyebrow at him, but Duo just shook his head as he wrapped a towel around his hips and came over to wash Heero's hair.

"I did miss you, Heero."

"I appreciate all you have done for me, Relena."

Another pause. "Well, I'll see you sometime the day after tomorrow, then."

"Yes. We'll be here."

"Good-bye, then."

"Good-bye."

Another pause, then the line went dead.

"What was so funny?" Heero asked.

"Dunk your head for me."

Heero did, and then repeated the question.

"I was just admiring the Heero Yuy charm method. The lesions were a nice touch!"

"She asked---ahhhh!" Duo's fingers working across Heero's scalp as he shampooed his hair sent a powerful tingle down through his whole body. "I see why you enjoyed having your hair washed," he told him, closing his eyes to savor the sensations.

Duo chuckled. "Pampering is good. I bet no one has ever done this for you before."

"Perhaps when I was very young, or sick. But no, not that I recall."

Duo bent and kissed his wet cheek. "Well, I hope you enjoy it, because I don't plan to stop pampering you. Ever. Rinse, please."

Heero swished the soap from his hair, then leaned back happily and let Duo work the conditioner in.

"I'm leaving it in for ten minutes, since your hair is so beat up." Duo went to the closet and surveyed the robes.

"You should wear that dark blue silk one, with the red and gold trim," Heero said.

"Your wish is my command." Duo wrapped himself in the rich paisley robe and tied the sash. It was long, almost to his ankles, but clung nicely as he moved, hinting at the form under the flowing fabric. He saw he had Heero's attention and laughingly modeled it for him, doing a series of little turns around the bathroom.

"I think I should buy you one like that," Heero said. The color brought out Duo's eyes and the richness of his hair. Duo really could be a model, the way he looked and moved.

"Guess it would be kinda tacky to just take it, huh? I'm going to call for the laundry guy. Five more minutes, then rinse, right?"

"Copy that, 02." Heero slid down into the water and let his arms float. He had lived under many different sorts of conditions; luxury and pampering, while certainly not essential to survival, weren't bad, either.

Emerging from the bathroom at last in a brown and black kimono of Shantung silk, he found Duo sprawled on his stomach on the bed, watching the CNN report of their run in with the press with the sound down, on a large vid screen he'd found concealed in an antique armoire.

"I really do scowl, don't I?" Heero said, sitting down on the end of the bed beside him. It was odd to see himself like that, full length from a distance.

"Yeah, you do. Good thing it doesn't scare me, huh? Oh, look! There I go!" Duo chuckled as he watched himself leap the barricades after Meir. "And there you go, grabbing me by the hair. That hurt, by the way."

"Good. I'm glad it got your attention. Really, Duo, would you prefer to be in a jail cell right now, rather than here with me in the orgy suite?"

Duo twisted around and put his head in Heero's lap. "Nope. Thanks for reeling me in. So, when does the orgy start?"

"Tomorrow," Heero told him firmly, though the prospect of waiting was getting less and less attractive all the time. He slid a hand into the front of Duo's robe, stroking his way across the soft warm skin to find a nipple. He stroked it gently with his thumb and thrilled to feel it harden to a little peak under his touch.

Duo closed his eyes and let out a soft moan. "Love your hands on me, Heero!"

"You're very good to touch. I'm sorry if my hands are rough. It may be a while before my skin recovers.

Duo sat up and bounced off the bed. Disappearing into the bathroom, he came back with one of the bottles from the collection there.

"This should help. It's olive oil based. Give me your hands." Duo poured a thick white lotion out into the palm of his hand, then worked it over Heero's right hand, massaging his fingers and palms.

"Your touch is very good, too," Heero whispered, marveling that even the simplest touch to such an ordinary area of his body could send erotic sensations all over him. Duo smiled and did his other hand, then knelt and took Heero's right foot in his lap.

"You don't need to-" Heero began, still ashamed at the condition of his feet, but Duo ignored him and proceeded to push him dangerously close to breaking his own "no sex until tomorrow" resolution. Heero was on his back moaning by the time Duo finished and climbed up to lie on top of him. Heero felt Duo's hot erection pressing against his own through the cool layers of silk. Duo gave him a wicked grin and wiggled his hips.

Heero caught his breath, and then clamped his hands over Duo's ass to keep him still.

"Ooooo. I love those big hands!"

"We are going to ruin these robes if you keep doing that."

"And that's a problem why?"

Quatre's arrival with news of dinner spared him having to come up with a good reason.

They sat on the floor and ate of plates in their laps as they watched TV. Quatre and Trowa had bathed and changed into robes, too; Trowa in a green silk that matched his eyes, and Quatre in saffron yellow terry. Wufei seemed at ease with their state of dress, and joined in good naturedly as Duo flipped through the news stations so they could critique the various reports of their appearance. Quatre had ordered a white wine with the meal and Trowa instituted the rule that everyone had to take a drink every time Duo's language was censored. Some of the stations had opted to edit out Meir's prostitution question, but not all. After the third such time, Trowa grabbed the control and switched it off.

"That was just cruel," Quatre said, shaking his head. "We don't believe it, Heero. Duo's right. Meir was just getting back at him through you for throwing his camera in the lake."

"I'm glad I shook him up when I had the chance," Duo growled, spearing a scallop with his fork. "I'd have hit him harder if I'd known who he was, the fucker."

Everyone took another drink of wine.

By the time Wufei's transport arrived, everyone was a little soused and ready for bed. Wufei suffered good-bye embraces from Quatre and Duo, and then shook hands with Heero. "I will contact you soon, Yuy." He held his hand a moment longer, dark eyes bright with uncharacteristic emotion. "It is truly good to have you back with us."

Heero nodded.

"Well, that's it for me, folks," Duo announced, yawning. "Whadya say, Heero? Bed time?"

"Yes. Just give me a moment with Quatre?"

"'K!" Duo yawned again, hugged everyone, and wandered out.

Heero waited until he heard their door close, then walked over to the others. "You two, you are really all right? About this afternoon?"

Trowa hid behind his bangs, blushing, but Quatre put an arm around him and drew Heero in for a group hug.

"We will be," he whispered against Heero's cheek. "We talked a little before dinner. I think it's going to be an adjustment, but one we all want to work for. I mean, it's not just you being back and how Trowa feels. I guess we didn't really think about it until you two were getting it on next door, but I guess Tro and I got used to thinking of Duo as ours, sort of. But he isn't. He's yours and we're really happy for you both. But-well, to be honest, I guess we'll sort of miss him."

Heero looked at him surprise. "But, he loves you both very much! It's not like he can't see you ever again. I don't want that."

"No, but it's going to be different, anyway," Trowa said quietly, still holding Quatre and Heero close.

Heero stood in that three-sided embrace, imagining what it must have meant to Duo, to have this sort of support and physical contact at his worst times. He still felt a little jealous about that, but something else was creeping in around the edges that he wasn't quite sure how to name yet.

"I don't want to push either of you away from him," he told them. "I don't know exactly what needs to happen with that, but if you let me have some time with him, to figure out what he and I are going to be, maybe we can work something out?"

"Sharing, you mean?" Quatre laughed.

"Hn. I don't know. I'm the least experienced with this of any of us. But I don't want to take him away from such good friends in a way that hurts anyone."

"Concentrate on loving Duo for now," Quatre told him, kissing him on the cheek again. "The rest will work itself out. I know it."

Heero kissed him back-it just seemed the natural thing to do with Quatre-then ran his fingers through the blue streak in his hair. "I like this. I like some of the jewelry you normally wear, too. And your tattoos, Trowa. I like those very much. They suit you."

Trowa dropped his chin again, blushing. "Thanks, Heero. Well, good night!" He turned away quickly and went into the bathroom.

Heero felt like he'd made a horrible misstep. "I'm sorry, Quatre! I didn't mean to-"

"It's OK, Heero," Quatre assured him, looking a bit sad again. "That's something else we'll have to work on. This afternoon? Well, it was just kind of a shock, really. I know it doesn't mean he loves me any less." He tapped his chest, over his heart. "Really, I know it. And I know how you feel, too." The look in his eye as he said this made Heero slightly uncomfortable, but Quatre patted his arm. "Love Duo, Heero. It'll all work out."

Heero hugged the small blond again, more grateful than ever for his friendship and his amazing understanding. "I would never hurt you, 04. Never."

"That's why I'm not worried," Quatre told him.

Heero turned to go. "I-uh, well, I was going to ask a favor. There's something I'd like to borrow."

+

Duo was on the bed waiting for him. He'd turned off all the lights except for one in the bathroom and a lamp on the bedside table. "Get lost?" he asked with a sleepy grin.

"I just needed a moment with them, about today."

"Everything OK?"

"I think so. At least Quatre's not mad at me, or he wouldn't have given me these." Heero climbed up on the enormous bed with him and took two small bottles of nail polish from the pocket of his robe. One was clear, the other a dark greenish blue. "Tropic Twilight Metallic. It's what all the mermaids are wearing this season."

Duo's eyes widened. "Uh-nice choice. But FYI, mermaids don't got feet."

"I could do your fingernails."

Duo was shaking his head, but the grin was back in a soft, rather wondering form. "So you really didn't mind it, huh?"

"No. Turn around and give me your feet."

"You-Heero Yuy-It really is you, right? You are going to paint my toenails for me?"

"Unless you'd rather I didn't."

Duo grabbed a pillow, flipped himself around, and planted both feet in Heero's lap. Crossing his arms behind his head, he grinned up at Heero. "You can take that as a go ahead."

Heero smiled as he examined the nails of Duo's right foot. "You have very attractive feet. You must take good care of them."

"Yeah, well, that Quatre gives one hell of a pedicure."

"Hn." Another little glimpse of the intimacy the three shared. Heero uncapped the clear polish and applied a base coat as per Quatre's instructions. He did the nails of the other foot, then blew gently to dry them. Duo threw an arm across his face and let out a deep groan.

"I like pampering you, too, Duo." He slid the palms of his hands across the soles of Duo's feet and saw him arch and shiver at the touch. There was an interesting bulge developing in the front of his robe again, too.

"Oh, Heero! I think I may have to marry you!" Duo gasped, arching again as Heero repeated the caress.

"I might consider it."

Duo didn't move his arm, but Heero saw the grin widen.

When the clear coat was dry enough, Heero painted on a coat of the blue metallic polish, dabbing carefully with the little brush to avoid getting it on his skin. When he was done, the nails looked like little pieces of enamel jewelry, or the paint on a really expensive motorcycle. He repeated the blowing and caressing of feet. Duo was breathing heavily by the time he applied the second coat of blue.

"This looks nice on you," Heero told him. "I like you decorated."

"Mmmmmmmm. Like being decorated!"

Heero resisted the urge to ask if he enjoyed having Quatre paint his nails this much. Instead, he asked, "Why don't you have any piercings or tattoos?"

Duo lifted his arm and peered up at Heero. "Would you like me to get some?"

"That's not what I meant. I just wondered why you don't have any, especially since you were around those two so much, and they have them."

Duo stared up at the ceiling for a moment, then shrugged. "I dunno. As far as piercings go, the idea of having any more bits of metal shot into me didn't really appeal. Got my fill of that during the war. I don't know what's up with Quatre and that. You wouldn't believe some of the places he's pierced. Jeeeeze! He's got some tats, too, here and there, but just the usual decoration type mostly. The starburst around his navel is pretty cool.

"Trowa's ink is different. Those bands around his arms are some ancient Eskimo warrior design or something, in memory of Heavyarms. Get it? Arm tattoos? I mean, we all miss our gundams, right? But I think Trowa just can't quite get over it. Anyway, they look really cool, especially when he's working."

"And the one on his back?"

"Ah, showed that one, did he?"

"What? No, it was just there! I mean-"

"It's OK, Heero. He had that one done for Kat, after the first time he let him-Well, you can guess, right?"

"Ah." Heero was surprised. "So it's Quatre who penetrates Trowa?"

Duo burst out laughing and nearly ruined his half-dry polish on the front of Heero's silk robe. "Jesus, you still talk like a computer sometimes. I sure missed that! And to answer your question, no, it's usually the other way around, but not always. But I can guarantee you this: Quatre Winner-Barton is the only guy to ever have that privilege. Hence, the ink. It's Celtic, but there's an Arabic inscription worked into the design, too. Neither one of them will say what it is."

Heero blew on the polish again. "That's very-" He shook his head wonderingly. "It's a very beautiful thing for them to share. Very romantic."

"Yes it is," Duo murmured.

"I just don't understand it. How can Trowa have a 'thing' for me if he loves Quatre so much?"

"Who knows, Heero. The heart's got a mind of its own sometimes. It's like how I didn't take the plunge and become lovers with them, after we all thought you were gone for good. I love them. I think they're sexy and friendly and wonderful and they're the best friends a guy could have. We had a lot of fun together, and went through some hard times. That's love, right? All the same, every time I thought about going beyond just messing around or cuddling, it hurt. Right here." He touched his chest. "Maybe my heart knew you were coming back for me, eh?"

Heero shifted Duo's feet carefully out of his lap and stretched out beside him. "You have a wise heart, then, like Quatre's. And I can't tell you how very glad I am that you waited for me, even when you shouldn't have. I love you, Duo, more than I've ever loved anyone in my entire life. Not that that's saying much, I suppose-"

Duo pressed a finger across Heero's lips. "Don't ever say that. Knowing you the way I do, I know what a hugely big deal it is to be loved by Heero Yuy. I just hope you believe me when I tell you that despite how my past history makes it look, I never wanted anyone but you. Not like this."

Heero leaned in and kissed him, knowing it was safe to go this far, safe to open Duo's lips with his tongue and share that intimate caress between them. Duo ran his fingers through Heero's hair and over his shoulders, urging him closer. Heero ran a hand down Duo's chest and belly and covered the bulge of his erection with his cupped palm. Duo moaned into his mouth, moving under his hand.

Heero pulled back. "I'm sorry. I wasn't going to start anything tonight, but now I'd really like to suck you off. I'd really like to do that. With a condom, of course."

"Only if I can repay the favor," Duo whispered, still pressing up into Heero's hand.

"Tomorrow. I want to save it all for tomorrow. I don't mind, Duo, really. Just let me do that much for you tonight, and tomorrow you can do anything you want."

Violet eyes locked with his. "Anything, Heero?"

Heero kissed him again. "Anything."

[chap. 17] [chap. 19] [back to pyrzm's fic]