Quote Normal (cont)

*

"Why are you here?" Heero is loitering in the door to my room. It is dark, but I have been in here for hours and he, well, the four of us always assumed that the scientists grafted cat genes or something onto his ocular senses. He does not turn on the light.

"Campus is boring during spring break. Q goes stir crazy." Assuming he doesn't just find someone to take the edge off for a week. "Did you tuck Relena in?"

"I delivered her safely to Treize."

"Same difference?"

Heero smiles. It is the first time I can really see his eyes in the night. He is looking at me as he smiles, and I know that he has come here to be persistent. I stay silent and still as he takes his time undressing. Wherever Relena was this evening required formal dress and he is done up to the nines and tens. Heero is not sensual. Maybe not even sexy. He unbuttons, peels off, pulls out of, folds his clothing and sets it aside. I am turned on by the sheer absence of fear I feel in his nakedness. He stands by the door and waits.

I push back the blankets and reveal my nakedness. My hand slips to the messy bun contraption that I have stuck my hair in to keep it out of my face, and I pull out the knot that keeps it there. Long hair, even longer than when we fought together, and healthier from an abundance of food, cascades down my body and around my face. I look at Heero as I feel its descent. I am sexy.

He shakes his head at my display. I wonder at this, but don't let it distract me as I watch him walk over and, with very little excess motion, pull himself into me, into my mouth. It occurs to me that he has never kissed anyone. His first efforts at anything are always filled with a similar confidence. It's not bluster. It is the awareness that he gets 99.99% of the things he does correct on the first try. In this case, he's not far off.

I pull him on top of me, so that we are both lying on the bed. I want to know that he knows it's me underneath him. I am not as strong as him, but we are equally hard and sharp against each other -- nothing has ever fit against me better in my life. Rolling us over, I force my mouth away from his to lick at the hollow of his throat. His hands fist in my hair to pull me back up. It hurts. I ignore it.

He stiffens at the sensation of my mouth on his nipple, and I can feel the scream inside of him. I leave my ministrations for a mere second. "For once in your fucking life, Heero-" He doesn't make me finish. His scream is breathy, and scared, and smooth, and his hand forces my mouth back to where it was.

It takes me a long time to get to his cock. I am enjoying myself too much to hurry, and I know he doesn't have any complaints. I even take my time sucking him off. I am more playful than I ever remember being, kissing and blowing lightly, licking insistently and swallowing easily. My fingers close around my cock as I feel him getting close, and I bring myself to completion a few seconds before he lets go.

I have just barely taken in the last load when I am being pulled up and wrapped in arms that have the potential to accidentally crush me. He holds me so tightly that my breath comes in puffs. When he speaks, his voice is unsure in a way that it has never been before. "Why are you here?"

"For this." I say, my voice smooth. His arms loosen a little, and I try again. "For you."

His leg snakes around mine, and he pulls me so far in I'm afraid we'll wake up attached. "Next time we do this," I feel his voice more than hear it; "some part of me will be touching your cock while you orgasm."

And though it is said like a command, I reply: "Sounds like a reasonable enough request." But his breathing has already settled into the regularity of sleep.

*

Quatre, of course, knows what we have done. I seek him out on the balcony that connects to his room. His hair is wet from the shower. I tousle my fingers through it. "Q, it's not exactly warm out here." On cue, he shivers under my touch. I pull him inside and onto the bed where I wrap myself and several blankets around him.

"I was turned on." He seems to regret having to make this confession.

"That's not really surprising, babe."

"I went and seduced one of the maids afterwards. Took my time, fed her strawberries, all that romantic shit. She was flighty and noisy. It wasn't her I was fucking."

Quatre doesn't swear often, but when he does, he takes advantage of the moment, like he knows it's gonna be awhile before the motivation comes again. He has a way of saying four letter words, or any conjugation thereof, that makes them sound infinitely dirtier. I kiss the back of his neck.

"Duo."

"Hm?"

"Don't let him get away with acting like it was just sex. He's a fucking pussy sometimes. Just hold on, and let the shit fly. He'll come around."

I know all this, but I appreciate the affirmation, so I burrow my face into the skin of his neck.

"Listen to me talk about Heero like I'm some kind of fucking Boy Wonder."

My hand runs up and down his back in soothing gestures. "You haven't been a boy for a long time; don't pretend things are that simple."

"I'm gonna tell him."

"Yeah?"

"Next monthly call. Just, y'know... 'Hey, I need you.'"

I would doubt him, but he sounds so resigned, and it's at his most tired that Quatre finds honesty to be unavoidably convenient. Which is why I say, "Don't wait. Relena can afford the phone charge."

The tiny reverberations of choppy giggles are what convinces me that he is going to take my advice.

*

I am turned to the stove, making lunch, when Heero's arm creeps around my waist. It is so unexpected, both his presence and the touch, that my hand brushes the pot of heating water and I jerk back, holding the hiss inside. He doesn't say anything, not to apologize nor to scold me for keeping the pain inside, like Quatre would do. Instead, his hand is on my wrist, propelling me hand first to the sink where he sticks the injured part under the faucet and turns on water cold enough to sting. As when afflicted by any type of physical pain, I am -- again -- silent.

He speaks over the still heavily running water. "If I had wanted to wake up alone this morning, I would have gone back to my room."

I turn the tap off and set to finding a medicine cabinet. "I was restless."

"If you had woken me up, we could have done restless together."

Unlike yesterday morning, this time there is no question of the underlying suggestion in the statement he has just made. I abandon my search for the cream and walk over to him. My mouth is on his before my body catches up to lean against him, pushing him uncomfortably into the counter-top. He does not complain, reacting instinctively, kissing back. The hand that doesn't hurt grabs at the t-shirt he is wearing, only to be stopped by a stronger hand being placed over it. My hand gets placed on his back, forcing me in closer to him. One of his hands is spread over my lower back, stroking and keeping me stable all at once. The other is at the back of my neck, caressing skin and lightly tugging at loose wisps of hair.

The violence of this kissing flows into something more exploratory, more playful. He smiles against my mouth, and I realize something that I would probably be killed for saying out loud. Heero is a romantic.

It takes us over a half an hour to pull away from each other's mouths. Even then, our hands continue to roam over each other's bodies. His hands come up to my face and hold my chin so that my eyes are locked on his. "You're a good kisser."

I can't help the slightly sardonic smile that spills off my lips. "You have nothing to compare it to."

"I don't need to. The taste of you makes me forget everything. It's good. Great."

"I've never done that before." I feel embarrassed. Like the first time I confessed my fantasies about the oldest boy in the orphanage to Father Maxwell.

"Kissed?"

I almost choke. "Um, no. Make out and, you know, not go anywhere with it."

"If I needed a sex toy I could have had Relena, easy. She is beautiful."

"I sometimes wondered if you'd noticed."

"Yeah. She's strong too. Doesn't let life trip her up. Didn't matter, though. I knew you were what I wanted from the moment you shot me. Duo Maxwell: confident fighter, ace pilot and hell raiser. You had figured out how to be emotional, and chivalrous, and survive. Then there's the whole part about you being hot. That's a plus." His breathing when he finishes is faster than normal. I only know this because I used to listen to it all the time. He'd be communicating about a mission, or sleeping, or have his audio on while he was fighting, and even over the noises, his breathing was always there for me. He expects me to leave him vulnerable, and I consider it. Having power is not something I experience often, and he has taken a very fundamental power from me for so long. No matter what I do now, though, I have power. He wants me, that gives me a margin of control.

"I wanted you when you came and got me out of that fucking OZ hellhole. You were scary -- took what you wanted, and I'd known guys like that. Didn't want you deciding I was what you wanted, at least not at first. But then you showed up, all cavalry-like, needing to kill me, and you allowed desire to rule over orders. It was the first time I ever noticed anything real inside you. You never ran, but you hid, and you lied. Even your name was a fallacy, the soldier with the pacifist's tag. After that day you just weren't so believable. I watched you fall through the atmosphere, and I knew you were gonna come out fine, because what was inside you, shit, I dunno, it was just...as hot. That little piece of you, you sucked at getting rid of that, and *that* was exactly what I wanted."

"Have you gotten it?"

"Heero Yuy would use me for my body. And it's not like you don't want that; you just want everything else too. Yes."

*

Quatre makes pancakes for dinner, which is the first sign that things are not going well in his corner. His oldest sister learned how to make pancakes while on an exchange program. The association with her makes them a shoo-in as a comfort food. Quatre never eats them unless he is too upset to do anything else. All in all, it is an unfortunate choice, because Quatre has a sensitive stomach and never fails to feel sick in reaction to the sugar when he gets worked up.

I sigh and let him know that we are in the room by asking if he's going to want anything with the pancakes. He is surprised by my voice, which tells me that he is even deeper in his own thoughts than I imagined. Maybe Heero isn't, but I have to be giving off some pretty contented vibes.

He points at the strawberries lying out on the cutting board. Heero is quicker than me, already having grabbed a knife to slice with. I go on a scavenger hunt for powdered sugar. I turn around at the sound of quiet sobbing, but Heero has beaten me again, his arms folded awkwardly around Quatre, hands staining the smaller man's shirt with berry juice.

I don't stand still, because even if Quatre is clutching at Heero's neck and burying his face in Heero's chest, he needs me. So I stand near him and watch his pancakes. Last time they burned, and he ate them anyway. I am glad for the decision when the pancakes are ready well before he has worn himself out.

When the crying has slowed, Heero places Quatre in a chair and I serve him up a pancake with the successfully located sugar and strawberries, cut and whole. Dutifully, he picks up the fork and works his way through the plate. He speaks as he is eating the last bite, his words careful around a full mouth. The first time he did that with me, I laughed. I'd never seen Quatre go without a properly placed dessert fork, let alone break etiquette to that extent. He can be much more human when his heart is being ripped out.

"He's with Catherine."

I sigh, because Trowa is a coward, and a fool, and I sympathize completely. Heero gets up and pours himself a glass of water, drinking it all in one go. He sets the glass down loudly enough for Quatre to look up at him.

"Is that what he told you?" Heero's voice is hard and disappointed.

I shake my head slightly, because I know that Heero knows what I know, but that he will never be able to articulate it. "Q, he lied to you."

"Oh, I know that." Quatre pushes the plate away from himself and gives me the "do I look like an idiot?" stare. "I may not be able to read him from this far away, but I've always been good at picking up on the little things with him." With everyone, really.

Heero looks into the empty glass. "Women are an easy excuse. Especially ones like Catherine. Relena."

I nod. "Me and 'Fei, we could bluster our way through fear, and you were always at ease with your own fears. Trowa, Heero, they just let it nest inside themselves, all silent and strong and scared as all fuck. There's nothing more scary than you. Perception, and wisdom, and love...tricky shit. He can't just up and be brave for you. You've gotta do that for both of you."

"So, what? I'm without a plan here, Duo." Quatre rubs his stomach in the way that indicates nausea, and I move closer to him, reaching out to help. Four hands, we have found, are better than two.

"I'll call him and tell him I want him to come for Spring Ball. You buy the ticket and we both know he won't refuse, not me and not a non-refundable travel ticket. I'll call 'Fei while I'm at it, tell'em it's a reunion, for good measure. That's not for another month and a half, which gives the three of us plenty of time to come up with a plan." I put on my best mischievous look, which gets Quatre to laugh, even if it is strained.

Quatre looks across the table. "Heero?"

"Yes?"

"Uh, are you -- Am I gonna have a second roommate?"

"I'm sure I can find housing nearby if you prefer."

Quatre and I look at each other and roll our eyes in tandem. "Babe," I say, before I can think about the fact that I am attaching an endearment to Heero Yuy. "He was just trying to peer into our relationship status, not worrying about dorm space."

"Oh." Heero doesn't blush, but I can tell it's only by sheer force of will and the backing up of conditioning. "I'm staying with Duo. Following him."

Quatre looks at Heero in a way that is approving and threatening all at once and says in a voice that matches his gaze, "Glad to hear it."

*

Heero has evidently developed a habit of midnight snacking. I have the same habit, though mine is less of a development than the seizing of opportunity. Food has always been something of an obsession with me. I suppose it is to most people who grow up without it being readily available. When I figured out that I could make all-night trips to the snack bar two buildings down at college, I gave way to the temptation.

We wander down to the kitchen to search for appealing leftovers at around one in the morning. Heero is the first to enter, and I freeze slightly at his easy, "Treize."

I unfreeze less than a second later and continue on my way to the refrigerator, acknowledging the third man in the room with a quick toss of my head.

Behind me, I hear two glasses being set down before Treize says, in a voice that is less smooth than my memories tell me it should be, "Maxwell, would you like some?"

He has a glass vial full of amber brown liquid in his hand. The liquid is not moving, and it occurs to me how still he must be standing for it to settle like that. Heero stands equally as still across the counter from Treize, waiting for my answer. Treize has not asked him. They have done this before...more than once. I file it away that I should compliment Relena on knowing how to pick 'em. This is seconds before I realize that the compliment applies to me as well. "What's the poison?"

"Brandy."

"I'm in."

Something flickers in Heero's eye, and I wonder if he is as curious as to how I would be drunk as I am -- of all the things I've done at college, my survival instincts remain too strong to indulge in that. Treize lays a third glass at the side of the other two and pours. He has his shot down and is pouring another one for himself before Heero and I have managed to get ours to our lips.

Heero drinks and shakes his head when Treize silently offers to pour another one. "What's on your mind?"

"If Maxwell were in Relena's position, what would be on your mind?"

"I have already begun to look for a replacement."

"And where are you going to find one that will care like you do? That I can look at and know won't betray us somewhere down the line for enough money or a new and shinier ideology?"

I hear the words come out of my mouth before I have consciously decided to say them. "Because Wufei owes you a debt of honor that only the two of you understand, and Heero asked him to help."

He looks at me for the first time as if to consider where I fit into this other than just as an obstacle to Relena's safety. "What do you know of Wufei and I?"

He wants to add the word honor at the end of that question, but he doesn't. He has always been the gentleman warrior. "I know what Wufei looks like post-orgasmic. And I know what he looks like after throwing up for five days straight because he believes he has killed the man who made him glow like that."

Treize bows his head a bit. "Thank you for taking care of him."

I want to tell him that I didn't do it for him, but I can be a gentleman too. In my own way.

Treize's attention is back on Heero -- who is keeping his face utterly blank. I don't think he knew about the man in front of him being with one of his closest friends. Wufei, after all, is at the top of the Preventer food-chain. If you want a competent bodyguard who believes in the principles of Absolute Pacifism, he's the guy to ask. When he speaks, Heero is completely at ease with the newly-digested information. "We will find someone worthy of her. I found someone for Marie; I can do it for Relena."

Treize places the brandy back in the liquor cabinet and walks to the door. He has left the room when his voice filters back, "Heero?"

"Yes?"

"I hope he makes you as happy as she has made me."

I wonder what peace like that feels like. I wonder if Heero can show me.

*

Two Weeks Later

*

I wake up knowing where I am, but not why I have woken. I can feel the chest that has become as familiar as my own at my back and the breathing pattern that I could dance to by memory at my neck. It takes a moment to realize that if Heero is behind me, my arms have folded around someone else entirely. "Hey, Q."

He looks up sheepishly. "Sorry."

Quatre has not brought anyone back to the room since vacation. He says he just hasn't found anyone worth the effort, but his eyes get the look that I labeled "Property of Trowa" long ago. He is waiting.

I kiss his forehead. "How long has it been since you slept?" Heero and I have discovered him in the common room at least four times now when leaving on our morning run. I lecture him about not waking me up each time, knowing that he won't again the next. I am pleasantly surprised by his presence, even if I understand that my conscious state is a mistake on his part.

He shrugs. "Can I stay here?"

I answer him by climbing over him, placing him between me and a now-awake Heero.

Quatre struggles to get up. "No, I just wanted to be near-"

"Am I that vile?" Heero is trying to affect hurt, but it comes out closer to confusion.

"Don't be silly, I just don't think I should be in between you two."

"Eh, I get to sleep with Heero every night."

We are both surprised by Heero's laugh. "Yeah, I actually get really tired of his hair always going-"

"Heero." Quatre is already yawning.

"Hn?"

"G'night." Quatre snuggles down deeper in Heero's arms and his muscles loosen visibly. I grin at the sight of my two favorite people cuddling and position myself, back to the window, to join them. It occurs to me, right before I fall asleep, that I don't need to see the blue light outside anymore.

end

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