see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
the Furnace, Unshrinking + Part 27
It's not meant to be a strife
It's not meant to be a struggle uphill
If you're bleeding
And if you're sweating
If you're Crying
They found a sheltered spot under a staircase with a good view of the
door and the windows, yet mostly out of sight of both. Heero and Wufei
had to half-carry Duo to their small hiding place. The young man drifted
in and out of consciousness, body limp with exhaustion and shock. They
leaned him against the stair and quickly unrolled their sleeping bags
from the duffels they'd managed to keep hold of throughout their chaotic
flight from Gael's men. Unzipping them all, they made a nest of thick
blankets. Then, taking off his shoes, they helped the dazed young man
under the covers. He smiled up at them both and Heero felt some of the
tension ease from his body. They were safe now and away from the comfortable
prison of their home. They'd taken the next step in the scheme that would
free them all from their lives under Gael's thumb. There was no returning
to their previous lives. He and Wufei had killed tonight - the two of
them together probably about fifteen men. There was no going back, ever.
And good riddance.
"You need to rest now," he said softly, pulling the sleeping bag closer
around Duo's chin. His best friend nodded.
"That won't be hard. Make sure you and Wu sleep."
"We will." He shivered and tried to conceal it, but even in his dazed
state Duo saw the slight tremor of his muscles. "You both can climb in
here with me. If ever there were a time to go for that whole `sharing
body heat' as an excuse for sleeping together, now would be it." Heero
huffed a small laugh.
"I know you are. And I have every intention of taking you up on your offer."
Duo looked up at him and then blushed faintly. "Oh." He licked his lips.
Wufei hissed in pain as Heero carefully examined the bullet wound in his
sword arm, poking around the edges of the gash, shining their flashlight
on it from all angles.
"It's clean," he said finally, setting the light down on the floor and
reaching for his duffel and first aid kit. "It's too wide to stitch up,
and I'm not very good at that anyway. Trowa's the resident medic."
"It's okay," Wufei said softly, teeth chattering a bit before he clenched
them closed. He sat very still in the frigid air of the old factory, obviously
trying hard not to shiver. Stripping down to only his t-shirt to give
Heero better access to his wound had made perfect sense at the time, but
the dragon had probably lost pretty much all feeling in his fingers and
his teeth were going to start chattering in earnest in a second if Heero
didn't hurry up with the antiseptic and the bandages. "W-what's one more
sc-scar," Wufei managed. "You got one t-tonight, too."
Heero looked up sharply and gently touched the stitches in his cheek.
The gash stung when he thought about it. Wufei's taught body trembled
and Heero quirked a small smile. "Sorry," he murmured. "This'll only take
a second." He quickly swabbed antiseptic over the wound, noting Wufei's
minor flinch. Or it might have been a shiver. Then he covered the wound
with a gauze pad and taped it in place. "You were lucky the bullet only
grazed your arm. You'll probably need it within the next few days." He
pressed firmly on the bandage. "How does that feel?"
Wufei closed his fist and straightened his arm. "I c-can't feel much of
anything, so probably okay." Heero silently passed Wufei his clothes and
the dragon eagerly pulled all of his layers back on.
The next several minutes were very awkward as the partners quickly went
outside to go to the bathroom and brush their teeth. Heero bounced up
and down on the balls of his feet as he brushed, trying to figure out
how exactly he was supposed to sleep with both Duo and Wufei, knowing
four things: 1. He'd kissed Duo 2. He'd had sex with Wufei 3. As he'd
suspected Wufei and Duo were, on some level, romantically involved and
4. He wanted them both. He spit out his toothpaste and wiped his mouth
with the back of his hand. He looked up at pale gray clouds, the air still
strangely tinted as the sun rose. "Shit," He muttered before turning to
go back inside.
He found Wufei pacing in front of Duo's sleeping form, arms crossed tightly
over his chest. He looked up sharply when he noticed Heero's presence.
"Are we really going to all sleep here, together?"
Heero froze, carefully measuring his words before answering. He spoke
slowly, voice soft. "It's below freezing, Chang. If we don't, we probably
won't wake up." He figured appealing to the dragon's emotions would be
disastrous - better to stick to logic. He didn't wait for his partner's
response, but quickly removed his shoes and slid under the sleeping bags.
He tried to disturb as little air as possible, but Duo still shivered
and turned toward him in his sleep. Heero found his own muscles trembling,
whether from the cold, from exhaustion, or from nerves, he didn't know.
But he swiftly drew Duo into his arms, tangling their legs together and
breathing in the scent of his skin. He shut his eyes and let the challenge
to Wufei stand. He burrowed down into the sleeping bags until his ears
were covered and waited.
He felt movement on Duo's other side and tensed, but the sleeping bag
settled and Wufei remained at a distance, close enough to be under the
covers but not touching either of them. Duo snuggled closer against Heero's
chest, fingers clutching at his sides. He heard his partner rolling over,
felt the sleeping bag pull. He tugged back.
"It's just sleep, Chang. It doesn't have to mean any
" He trailed
off, not sure what he actually wanted to say.
"Doesn't have to mean anything?" Wufei finished quietly. "This may just
be sleep, but it most certainly does mean something," he huffed.
"And what's that?" Heero murmured.
"Hell if I know. I just know everything's screwed up now. It's an impossible
mess. I don't know how to fix it, make it right with the both of you."
Heero sighed quietly and, leaning carefully over Duo, he slid his hand
along the sleeping bag until he found Wufei's wrist. Fingers closed around
chilly skin and tugged. Wufei hissed his frustration and then shuffled
closer. In the hazy light of dawn, Heero saw sleepy black eyes take in
the details of his face, resting on his eyes and mouth and then dropping
to the floor.
"Look, I -"
"Or sleeping together could mean something," Heero interrupted, wondering
at his boldness. "
If you wanted it to."
Wufei stiffened, suddenly looking like a wild animal caught in headlights.
"I- don't know."
Heero looked away. He'd seen enough of that look for one night "Then just
sleep," he said quickly, face flushed hot even in the cold. Wufei nodded,
swallowing hard. Pillowing his head on a shirt, the dragon drew close
to Duo, tentatively wrapping one arm around the young man's middle. Heero
felt his partner's leg brush against his and quickly withdraw. Not quite
able to close his eyes, he watched Wufei's hesitant efforts to get comfortable.
He finally found a good position and fell still, breathing a bit quick.
Heero let his arm slip from Duo's shoulder until it brushed Wufei's. The
dragon sucked in a quick breath and moved to jerk his arm away, but Heero
held on. "Just sleep," he said again. Wufei held that startled, frightened
look for another moment, then let out a harsh breath, ruffling Duo's bangs.
"Heero, what is it that you want? I can't handle any more of this unspoken
shit. I know that neither of us is particularly good at verbal communication,
but I'm sick of tension and innuendo and staring contests and passive
aggressive body language. So I think that you should try to tell me what
you want. We owe each other something
maybe it's only that."
Heero looked down at Duo's sleeping face, eyes tracing smooth skin and
a delicate bone structure. Bruises were forming on his chin and left cheek
bone from the accident. "I want us all to be safe. I want happiness -
for you and Duo
and for me."
"Well, sure, but how-"
"I don't know, Chang," he hissed. "I've never felt this sort of- I've
never trusted anyone other than Duo. I've never wanted anyone other than
Duo. I've loved him for years - I'm sure you know that and have known
"Since I moved in a year ago." Wufei's proud voice was subdued and humble.
"I was stupid to say nothing, because then you took him from me, without
me even realizing." A heavy silence fell until Heero sucked in another
breath. "Or maybe I gave him up, working obsessively on this scheme to
get us out of here. But regardless, he was never mine. Even though we
were children together and we protected each other and killed for each
other, I never showed him or told him how I felt."
Wufei kept his gaze on Duo's sleeping face, his arm now firmly wrapped
around the young man's ribs. "It started after that job with Ralph. I
went to him to tell him that I didn't bear a grudge over what happened
that night. I wanted him to know that we were still friends and instead
something else entirely happened." Wufei's dark eyes wouldn't meet his,
but his words were measured and calm, unhurried and unafraid. "It all
went very quickly after that
every spare second we had - every moment
of near-privacy - we took. I was terrified, both that you would find out
and that I wouldn't be able to leave him once you did find out. I always
thought he belonged with you, that our time together would be short, because
he'd figure it out sooner or later."
"Duo doesn't work like that," Heero said softly, looking down at their
sleeping friend. "He doesn't give his heart to anyone, really. He never
has, in all the years I've known him. Just because he's a- just because
we're paid for sex doesn't mean we take it lightly
It makes us all
confused and afraid
But Wufei, if he was with you, then he was with
you. He chose you. I've known him long enough to know that."
Wufei nodded, though he didn't look particularly reassured. "What do you
want, Heero?" he asked again.
Heero considered his answer carefully, choosing his words before he said
them. "I want
to feel what I did tonight, every day, all the time."
Wufei raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Heart-pounding fear that you'll
either be shot or beaten to a pulp by Gael's thugs?"
Heero rolled his eyes. "No, I obviously do not want that. I want to know
that you have my back, that we can always watch out for each other and
trust each other. I want to feel like we're partners. And I want to know
that Duo will always be there, right with us, every step. I want us to
The frown line that had drawn Wufei's brow together for most of the conversation
lifted just a bit. "That sounds good," he whispered.
Heero's grip on his arm tightened and he tugged gently. Wufei hesitated
a fraction of a second and then slid closer, molding his body to Duo's
back, twining his legs with theirs. Heero took a deep breath and let his
best friends' body heat finally unclench the ache in his chest.
There are some mornings when the sky looks like a road
There are some dragons who were built to have and hold.
And some machines are dropped from great heights lovingly.
And some great bellies ache with many bumblebees
And they sting so terribly
- "clam, crab, cockle, cowry" Joanna Newsom
Wufei was being smothered. Henri's weight was real and heavy on his chest,
forcing the air out of his lungs, keeping him from drawing a breath. His
legs were immobilized as well, pinned, held fast. He tried to move, to
free himself and found that his limbs were too leaden; they were sunk
into the floor. He tried to call for help, but only the smallest moan
came out, a slurred rumble in his mouth. No one could have heard that;
no one would know he was here. Where was Heero? Those psychos were shooting
at each other just a moment ago. He hoped Heero was alright. But he didn't
hear gunshots now, just deadened silence. Just his own futile struggle
and inevitable suffocation. He tried to open his eyes and couldn't even
Henri was moving on top of him, his weight shifting, pressing down on
his shoulder, lifting off his chest. Now, he had to move now or else-
His eyes shot open and he drew a quick gasping breath, filling his lungs
with sharp cold air. His gaze darted around the room, trying to ascertain
his location. A very high ceiling, wood rafters, spider webs, dingy windows,
a staircase directly over him. Panic rose in his throat. He had absolutely
no idea where he was. And his legs were still pinned. He turned his head
to the left and came face to face with a pair of intense blue eyes. He
started in surprise and then looked down to see why he still couldn't
move, only to find Duo's torso resting on his stomach, the young man's
arms braced on either side of his chest, violet eyes blinking sleepily
up at him.
Wufei looked back to Heero and then to Duo again, confused and more than
a little alarmed. Bruises darkened Duo's pale skin, spreading from the
left side of his forehead down to his chin. They were from
They were from that car that'd run into him. Right on cue, his sword arm
stung and he flinched, turning quickly to look at his sweatshirt sleeve
where the gauze Heero had taped to him the night before stuck to his skin
underneath. Oh right. He'd been shot. He moved his arm a bit and flinched
when he felt the bandage stick to his skin; the wound must have continued
to bleed while he slept.
He swore softly in Mandarin as his brain finally caught up to what his
eyeballs were telling him. Heero smirked and Duo chuckled, voice thick
with sleep. "Think you were dreamin', Wu. My pillow was suddenly shaking
and making all kinds of crazy noises."
"That's because I was dreaming that someone was suffocating me. I wonder
why that could be," he muttered, aiming a glare at the young man leaning
over him. Duo didn't appear to be affected in the least. Rubbing one hand
through his hair, Wufei winced. "Fuck," he groaned. "I'm sore." He squirmed
under Duo's weight. "Pretty much everywhere."
"Me too," they both grumbled.
He ticked off the sources of his discomfort on his fingers. "Nearly smothered
by a man who weighed more than twice as much as me, rug burn on the front
half of my body, assaulted by at least twenty of Gael's thugs, ran half
way across the city, shot at and then shot, and
" He trailed off,
glancing quickly at Heero. "You weren't particularly gentle either." He
didn't feel like being polite or subtle right then; perhaps because he
was beat all to hell. Perhaps because the two delightfully warm bodies
curled around him had never been known for their tact or subtlety either.
Heero was blushing furiously and trying very hard not to smile. He pulled
his hand free of its place under Duo's sweatshirt and counted. "Pushed
around by four horny clients, shot at on two separate occasions, shot
once, ran half way across the city, assaulted by at least twenty-five
of Gael's thugs, and Chang, you weren't too gentle yourself." He lifted
up his many layers to reveal finger-shaped bruises curling around his
ribs. Now it was Wufei's turn to blush.
Duo was tugging on Wufei's sweatshirt, bright eyes lit up and eager. "My
turn, my turn, my turn." They both looked at him, expectantly. "Oh, I
have so got you guys beat." He paused dramatically and then pointed at
his purple cheek bone. "Hit by a car!" Wufei snorted and Heero rolled
his eyes. "I win, I win, I win. I wiiiiiiin." Violet eyes flew wide and
he fell back onto Wufei's chest coughing, holding his ribs tightly. "Oh,
ouch. Ouch. No fair. Not only did a car run into me, but I didn't get
to have a wild, crazy sex night either." He took a steadying breath and
to Wufei's surprise, gave them both a slow, measuring look. "And a wild,
crazy sex night probably isn't in my cards until my ribs stop hurting."
Wufei, suddenly very aware of Duo's body pressed flush along his and Heero's
a scant distance further than that, felt himself flush hot. Duo was watching
him, and when he glanced to his left, he saw that Heero was watching Duo.
They both looked hungry. Duo followed Wufei's line of sight and his gaze
locked with Heero's, his pale skin flushing pink as his best friend's
steady gaze met his. Duo swallowed visibly and quirked a smile. "Right?
I mean, no wild and crazy
I should really rest for a day or two
at least and get my strength back
" His voice trailed off as Heero
leaned closer, lips moving in a soft, barely audible confession.
"Duo, I should have told you years ago. As soon as I knew it, I should
have told you. But, I guess I'm glad I didn't, because if I had, the three
of us probably wouldn't be here now, like this."
"Should have told me what," Duo breathed.
Wufei watched, captivated, as Heero spoke into Duo's ear, loud enough
that they both heard. "That I love you, that I have loved you for years."
Wufei's heart thudded loudly in his ears as he waited for Duo's reply.
His lover looked at him, eyes wide, breath coming quickly. Then he smiled
and took his hand, turning back to Heero, whose lips were only a few centimeters
"Right back atcha, babe." Duo hesitated a moment more, breath fogging
in the cold air between them. Then he brought their mouths together in
a gentle kiss. Wufei propped himself up on his elbows, keeping hold of
Duo's hand. He watched as his two best friends made a silent pact, their
long-delayed kiss sealing their friendship as well as the deepening bond
He started in surprised when Heero slowly leaned forward, pushing Duo
back against his chest. The dragon tried to shuffle backwards out of the
way, but Duo was suddenly clenching his hand in a grip it was clear he
had no intention of loosening. So he held still, body screaming with tension
as Heero pushed Duo back into him, never once breaking their kiss. Wufei
found himself up against the wall with Duo seated between his legs, Heero
kneeling in front of them both, still kissing Duo. Heero's hands wandered
over his best friend's body, clutching at the fabric of his loose clothing,
gently trailing along bruised ribs. Tentatively, Wufei reached the hand
that Duo held around the young man's middle, anchoring them together.
Almost immediately, Duo pulled his arm tight and held on. Wufei buried
his nose in his lover's hair and breathed in his scent. He felt like he
had when he woke up, disbelieving and disoriented. He couldn't possibly
be here doing this with these two people. He took another deep breath.
His nose twitched where Duo's hair tickled him. He was here. He was doing
this. He was watching Heero kiss his way down Duo's neck, blue eyes wide
open, taking in every bit of skin, every flutter of his heartbeat. Heero
explored Duo's body with the eyes of a new lover, eager and greedy and
obviously nervous. He watched Heero ask Duo's permission with a shy glance
up into his eyes. The young man nodded quickly in reply, carefully shifting
his weight down, sliding along Wufei's chest, until he could rest his
head on the dragon's shoulder.
Wufei's senses ignited as he realized what was about to happen. He shut
his eyes tightly and turned away, again burying his nose in Duo's hair.
He felt his lover's hips lift up and heard fabric sliding along skin.
He swallowed hard and held Duo tighter, unsure of what to do. He heard
Duo hiss and felt his hips lift up again. Desire shot through him in a
fierce jolt and he sucked in a quick breath when he heard Heero's mouth
on his lover. He squirmed behind Duo and tried to pull away, a knee-jerk
reaction he couldn't suppress. But, in a flash, Duo reached around and
wrapped his arm around the dragon's neck. He leaned back and met Wufei's
gaze, violet eyes wide and unfocused.
"Look at me," he breathed. "Stay here."
Wufei's eyes suddenly stung and his gut clenched at the memory those words
brought back: Duo braced over him, inside him, tearing him apart, releasing
him from his past, his shame. That had been the beginning. Wufei felt
that years had passed since that night, when, really, it had only been
a handful of months since his life hand been turned upside-down - or more
likely, since Duo had turned it right side-up.
"Kiss me, Wu," Duo whispered. Long fingers wound through his hair and
dragged him forward, shoving their mouths together. Wufei heard that sound
low in Duo's throat, the sound he'd made when they were together that
first time. Like that first time, it made him throb. His lover broke the
kiss suddenly and arched his back, eyes dazed. "Jesus Christ," he gasped.
Wufei's grip on him tightened, eyes flicking to Heero, who was watching
them through the thick fringe of his hair. He sucked hard a few more times
and then Wufei saw his throat working quickly as Duo shuddered and clutched
at him, hands seeking purchase in hair, blankets and clothing.
Duo sat there propped up against Wufei's chest for several moments, regaining
his breath. Then he shuffled to the side and lay down, finally letting
go of Wufei's hand. Heero knelt in front of his partner, eyes smoldering.
He licked his lips and then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
Wufei felt like his body was pulsing with need. He felt like his skin
was glowing with it.
"Don't get too wild and crazy. Remember the invalid," Duo said faintly,
though his mouth was stretched in a wicked grin as he watched them watch
Wufei didn't need a second invitation as he surged forward. With a few
sharp, brutal moves, he had Heero on the ground, squirming and writhing
beneath him. He held the young man's wrists above his head and said very
softly, "What if it had been like this, Yuy? Would you have wanted me
like this, if I was top?" Heero bucked against him one more time and then
fell still. He glared up at Wufei and smirked tightly.
Wufei ground his hips against Heero's, eyes closing at the powerful friction
between them. "Good," he hissed as the fire in his gut roared up through
his limbs and consumed him.
Wufei felt the vibrations of Duo's voice where their bodies touched, mainly
in his chest. His lover's long arm circled around him from behind him,
his other hand gently trailing through his hair.
"I think we should sleep more," he resolved drowsily, spooning closer
to Wufei. On the dragon's other side, Heero grunted noncommittally, rolling
onto his back and stretching. Wufei caught a glimpse of smooth, light
brown skin, pulled tight against ribs. Because he could, Wufei slid his
fingers along that skin, tracing the track of dark hair that disappeared
into the young man's sweats. His fingers found a few scars, and he traced
those as well. His eyes slid closed, and he felt like he was sinking into
a giant feather bed, not laying sprawled on a sleeping bag on top of a
freezing cinderblock floor.
"I like that idea," he murmured, lulled by the feel of Duo's fingers in
his hair and the feel of Heero's warm skin beneath his own. Heero grunted
again and then pulled the sleeping bags back over them. Now cocooned between
his two best friends - his lovers - Wufei was asleep in seconds.
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