Warnings: More cursing and some admiration of physical assets. ^^
Random inane notes:Duo and Wufei told me to tell you all that they-hey!
Wufei, you can get your sword away from my throat. Right-o... a little
less pressure please. Anyhow, neither of them agreed to this story and
after it's finished (I think they just want to read it, but won't admit-ow!
Wufei!!) they both intend to send me to meet my maker. ::falls
Fallen Angels Fly + Part Two
In the space he had cleared
in the dining room, Wufei moved with abounding ease, each precise slash,
thrust, and arc having a purpose. It was like an elegant dance, the sword
an extention of his arm rather than a separate weapon.. His control and
skill were so refined, that he never moved out of the invisible circle
he had given himself as a boundary. And while he looked as if he was completely
absorbed in the exercise, his senses were very in tune with the environment
It was why he knew the instant he was no longer alone. Rather than interrupt
the rhythm of motion he had created either by stopping or speaking, he
chose to continue the form. So well did he know it, that his eyes were
closed and every movement flowed into the next like a never-ending river.
One arm passed under the other as the sword flashed through the air, his
legs crossing and pulling pleasantly at the muscles in his calves. His
breathing was regulated through sheer will alone, the act of having been
exercising for the last hour without break causing him no visible strain.
The slight sheen of sweat across the bare portions of skin beneath his
tank top was the only noticeable effect.
Watching from the doorway, Duo was oddly silent and subdued, admittedly
more than a little awed at the contained strength and effortless grace
Wufei presented. Since he was never out of bed even a moment before he
had to be, he hadn't been up early enough to see Wufei practice before.
For some reason, it presented a side of him that Duo had already known
existed, but never actually considered. While aloof and oftentimes abrupt
in person, and driven and relentless in his Gundam, a gentle vein ran
beneath the hardened mask he presented. It was apparent that Wufei was
unaware of just how much this art proved that, or he wouldn't be letting
Duo watch him now.
He had known Wufei could move. He had seen him in action before. But this
was somehow different. It had a beauty to it that made Duo feel as if
he were intruding on a private moment. Especially considering that Wufei
was going through the entire pattern with his eyes closed, leaving him
open to scrutiny that he could not return. The only time Duo had ever
seen Wufei with his eyes closed was when he stole into his room one night
to play a prank on him and ended up with the tip of the other boy's sword
planted in his throat. That had not been one of his better ideas.
When the exercise ended, Duo found he was disappointed. Surprisingly,
it had nothing to do with the fact that he was soon going to have to make
good use of these hours he would rather have filled with sleeping. No,
it was because he had enjoyed watching Wufei. As a sharp contrast to himself,
who was always using up excess energy moving, Wufei rarely moved unless
necessary, and even then, he did it with a control that never used more
energy than was needed. To see him in constant, continuous motion was
a rare thing that was not to be wasted.
"It is rude to lurk in doorways without announcing yourself," Wufei uttered
succinctly, sheathing his sword as he lifted his head to pin Duo with
Duo grinned in response.
The serious expression never leaving his face, Wufei ventured closer to
the other pilot. Drawing his sword again in one swift motion, he settled
the tip inches from Duo's throat before the other could even react.
"Who are you and what have you done with Maxwell? Not only are you up
before noon, but you stood still for longer than a second."
Duo blinked, trying to decide whether or not Wufei was serious. The blade
of that sword was awfully close to his neck... And here he had tried so
hard to make certain he was never in this position again.
"You look worried," the Chinese boy asserted, his lips curving barely
enough to equal a smile as he slowly pulled the sword away.
Wufei had the damnedest sense of humor.
"In any case, you haven't answered my question," Wufei pointed out, turning
from him to lift a white cloth from the table and draw it across his forehead.
Right. Time to unscramble his marbles.
"You said to do something constructive with my time. So here I am."
Wufei was unable to keep the surprise from his expression as he swung
back around to regard Duo in stunned silence. The boy had forgone five
hours of sleep so that he could exercise with him? That was not the Duo
Maxwell he had come to know. But then, he knew he shouldn't be all that
shocked. The American pilot was constantly throwing out pieces of himself
that seemed to have no relevance to the image he presented. Wufei realized,
however, that he did not consider the smiling baka to be the real Duo.
It was only one of the many facets that made up his personality. And the
need to confound everyone around him at every turn was only one of his
"You want to practice with me? You don't even know how to use a sword
properly," he added in evident dismissal.
He had not expected Duo to take him this seriously. Leave it to
the braided menace to be frustratingly selective.
"So teach me! I learn quickly."
Duo had him there. The boy was a quick study, and you generally only had
to show him or tell him something once before he picked it up and began
working like a professional. That adaptability was part of what made him
such an excellent pilot.
His entire manner seemed to suggest he considered this a pleasant way
to spend a few hours, and get on Wufei's nerves all in one shot. Admittedly,
Duo was far better at annoying Wufei than the latter would ever voice.
There was nothing that said Wufei had to make it easy for him this time,
however. Duo found himself so amusing. By the time Wufei was done with
him here, he would be far from laughter.
The Deathscythe pilot had to admit that the best part about this already
was Wufei's loss of composure after having been informed of his reason
for being up at the ungodly hour of 7am. It would be well worth whatever
hell the Chinese pilot would put him through here. Though Duo really couldn't
see how hard it could be to wield a sword. Sure, he wasn't going to have
all that much skill yet, but he didn't feel like he needed to compete
with Wufei on that score. He would probably only have to swing a hunk
of metal around for a few hours to please the other boy. Wufei was patient,
but Duo seriously doubted he was patient enough to keep at this until
he had taught the him some semblance of grace with the blade.
"Fine, then. Take your pick," the black-haired boy answered after a few
moments of contemplative silence, indicating to the display of sheathed
swords resting on the table.
Swallowing a yawn, Duo trudged past Wufei and began admiring the extensive
collection his friend had cultivated. Some were longer than others, some
were curved, and some were straight. While he could plainly see that they
were all different in small ways, he didn't have the first clue about
deciding which of them was better to suited to him.
Preservation won out over pride. If he was going to be doing this, then
he might as well be doing it right.
Flashing Wufei a smile, he said, "Are you sure you want me picking
the best one? I mean... they're your swords and I wouldn't want
He was abruptly cut off as Wufei strode up to the table, eyes passing
over the swords and Duo without having really seemed to do so at all,
and promptly shoved one into his hands.
"It is better for beginners."
Duo bristled at the way Wufei said beginners.
"Hey, I bet I'll have moved on to a higher level or whatever the hell
you call it with swords in no time at all. This'll be a piece of cake."
He was wrong. On both accounts.
Three sweat filled, back breaking hours later, they were still going at
it. Wufei proved to be a stern taskmaster with a wicked sense of humor
that made Duo's want to run and hide. It was painfully (in Duo's case)
obvious that despite his fatigue at having been exercising for over four
hours now, Wufei was highly enjoying himself. Yet, despite all of the
mishandling of the sword and mishaps that went on in the first hour of
training, (one such incident nearly rendering Duo braidless) Wufei was
a surprisingly patient, effective teacher.
Duo's arms felt like two pieces of limp, overcooked spaghetti noodles.
Every movement he made with the sword pulled on what he was certain was
every available muscle in his upper body. The last he could remember
being this tired was when he got grand total of three hours sleep in two
days time. He was convinced that if Wufei kept him working like this his
arms were going to fall off altogether. Which, at the moment, wouldn't
be an entirely unwelcome event so long as it kept him from having to wave
this sword around any longer.
"No, not like that. You are letting your impatience get the better of
you," Wufei instructed, cutting through Duo's guard as if it were made
of nothing, and tapping the flat of his blade lightly against the other's
Duo stepped back. "That isn't impatience, Wu, that's fatigue. I'm dying
here! You're a slavedriver."
Wufei relaxed his stance. "I'm trying to make these the most constructive
three hours you have ever spent."
Allowing his shoulders to droop momentarily from the horrendous posture
Wufei insisted he keep while learning (if he heard "quit slouching,
Maxwell" one more time he was going to let Shinigami out on a rampage
and wouldn't be responsible for the damages), he quipped, "You know
Wu, just when I think you're the most boring guy in all the colonies,
you let your sense of humor out and it knocks me on my figurative ass."
As if his real ass hadn't taken enough of beating...
Studiously ignoring Duo's comment, Wufei pulled himself up a bit tighter,
acknowledging that even he was growing tired. This was beyond what he
normally pushed himself, and then some, but the opportunity to put Duo
in his place had been simply too good to pass up. As he had expected,
Duo showed a natural aptitude for it. He had the lean grace and quick
mind necessary to both manipulate the blade and make split-second decisions
in the midst of battle. Both were skills that had been honed to near perfection,
he knew, from being a Gundam pilot.
To be perfectly honest, he hadn't thought Duo would make it this far.
It was clear the boy was holding up now by sheer will and tenacity alone.
He lacked the upper body strength that came with many years of training,
and though he was by no means weak, it was apparent three hours had made
liquid of his muscles. But Duo's perseverance was one of the many things
Wufei admired about him, even if it was sometimes an unnecessary by-product
of pride. Duo was doing his best to keep up with him and learn something
in the process and Wufei respected that by not being lenient. No matter
what Duo may say, Wufei knew it wouldn't have been appreciated.
Duo had a whole new respect for Wufei. Not that he hadn't had one before,
but it had become increasingly clear over the last three hours that Wufei
was stronger than he had given him credit for. And he wasn't just talking
about physical strength.
It took a great deal of mental control to effectively use a sword, and
far more skill than it did to just pick up a gun and start firing. He
had come to the conclusion that Wufei was the embodiment of reserve. Not
just anyone could spend three hours sweating and putting up with him,
and still look so composed. It also occurred to him that Wufei had to
like him just a little bit.. The black-haired pilot couldn't possibly
be putting himself through this only to teach him a lesson.
"Quit slouching, Maxwell."
Letting a long suffering sigh escape, he asked, "Aren't we done yet?"
"You wanted to do this," Wufei reminded him. "Now, move into position."
"Blah, that sounds like assume the position. Gonna strip search me, Wu?"
Duo teased, wiggling his eyebrows.
Duo was more than a little stunned when color rode high in Wufei's cheeks,
leaving the other boy's eyes snapping a sharp, hot black.
"Your manners leave some to be desired!" He retorted scathingly.
It was actually possible to embarrass Mr. Wufei 'made of stone' Chang?
Feeling more than just a bite being taken out of him at Wufei's tone,
Duo fell back on his heels, a small part of him wondering if the thought
of seeing him without his clothing was that detestable. But why did he
even care? After all, the one he was most interested in seeing him without
his clothes seemed to think he rated right up there with dust; somewhere
below missions, Gundams, and laptop computers. Though... he hadn't thought
of the Wing Gundam pilot overly much in the last day or so.
A distinguished pall had been thrown over the entire proceeding, and Duo
was beginning to feel distinctly uncomfortable. He hadn't meant it any
way other than a joke, but Wufei had taken such offense to it. Having
Wufei use that tone on you, and lecture you about your manners was actually
serious business. It was probably as close as the Nataku pilot got to
saying 'fuck you'. Usually, when Duo teased him, the most he got out of
Wufei was an unamused stare and a dismissal of some sort, whether it be
verbal or otherwise. To have Wufei get so upset over this one comment
told him he had stepped over the invisible boundaries of friendship. For
the most part, Duo plowed right through boundaries. But for some reason
not quite clear to him, Wufei's reaction had hurt him. He had the overwhelming
urge to be alone right now, so he could lick his wounds in private.
Smiling brightly, the act feeling as if it had been painted on, he said,
"Hey, sorry man! I was just teasing. Guess I was a bit out of line."
Wufei stood stock still, an odd sort of pressure pushing at his chest
from the inside out. He hadn't meant to react so severely. It was just
that Duo's careless words had brought his newfound awareness of the Deathscythe
pilot back in a violent rush. It was both confusing and unwelcome, because
Wufei had already linked Duo with Heero in his mind, whether the two were
actually together or not, and he had strong suspicions that this attraction
of his was one sided. Besides, there was nothing productive about forming
relationships between each other when they needed to be concentrating
on what they were here for...
Why was that realization only half-hearted?