By: Sintari
Summary: Quatre and Duo are childhood best friends who are trying to make their way through life and reconcile their feelings for one another despite demons from both their pasts.
Pairings: 2+4; 3x4x3, 1x2, 5x?x5, possible 2x4x2??
Warnings: NC-17, language, lemon, lime, drug use, angst, implied past non-con & D/S
Disclaimer: Every morning I wake up and realize with a horrible pang of loss that I don't actually own Gundam Wing. Please don't make me suffer any more by suing me. Title of the story is taken from a Bob Dylan song. Which I also don't own. Quit rubbing it in.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Rocaddict for the beta read and to Strey & Dreadpiratejanah for the much needed ego boosts

Tangled Up in Blue + Part 1
Tangled Up in Blue

"Breathe in, breathe out," a laughing Duo told a white-faced Quatre. "What's the worst that could happen?"

"What's the worst that could happen?" The petite blonde rounded on him. "What's the worst that could happen? They could hate me, laugh me out of the office and then I could die poor and miserable. That's the worst that could happen!"

"Don't you think you're being a bit of a drama queen?"

"Well, I suppose when I say it like that, it does sound a little over dramatic, but what if they don't want me. I've been trying for this job for months."

"If they don't want you, then fuck 'em, Quatre. That's what. If they don't see the wonder, the boundless talent that is Quatre Winner then that's their problem, not yours. And quite worrying about the community college thing. You probably know more than all the other applicants combined." Duo adjusted Quatre's tie and mockingly licked a finger, smoothing an errant strand of blonde hair. "Mama would approve," he pronounced archly. Duo moved behind Quatre so that both their reflections appeared in Quatre's bathroom mirror. Wrapping his arms around his best friend of fourteen years, Duo whispered in his ear. "You're going to knock 'em dead, Cat." Quatre leaned into the embrace and closed his eyes. They stood there for a moment, pressed together spoons in a drawer.

Quatre regarded their reflection in the mirror. To him, he appeared timid and mousy, like a kid playing dress up in his father's suit. Duo, on the other hand, looked like a million bucks in an old t-shirt and a pair of threadbare black jeans. Duo somehow appeared more substantial, more real than he did. And, Quatre mused, that was the story of their lives. Beautiful Duo - who would do anything, say anything, and most definitely fuck anything - and his faithful sidekick Quatre, always in the background, ready to play the wingman, pick up the pieces, post the bail.

Quatre gripped his tie in both hands, managing to wrinkle it. "Maybe I shouldn't go."

Duo rolled his eyes and gave his friend a little shove. "Get out of here. And next time I see you again, you'd better have a job."

Four hours later, Quatre strutted into Tangle, the hangout for all the good (and bad) gay boys and girls in Solomon on a Friday night. His friends Wufei and Sally were in their usual spots, leaning on the bar and giving Hilde, their favorite bartender, the usual grief.

"What about her?" Wufei was saying, pointing ostentatiously at a woman wearing a cowboy hat and leather pants and dancing with an invisible partner.

Hilde blushed and ducked behind the bar. "Dancing by herself, too weird," came her muffled response.

"At least she's dancing," Sally put in, giving her friend a 'look.'

"I'm working!" Hilde protested, brandishing a dishrag and vigorously swiping at the bar in proof.

"Like it would matter if you weren't," Sally replied darkly. 

She turned her attention on Quatre gratefully. "Well look what the cat drug in," she drawled, imitating cowgirl speech. "I don't believe I've ever seen you in here before, stranger. You new in town, son?"

"Sorry, Miss Kitty," Quatre countered. "I'm here for the cowboys. But thanks for asking."  He was having trouble hiding the wide grin that kept threatening to break out and spread all over his face.

"So how'd it go?" Wufei, who seemed to have given up getting the cowgirl's attention, asked. "Or do I really have to ask?" He grinned. It was a somewhat unusual expression on the normally taciturn Chinese man's face.

They all watched as Quatre swept a glance over the bar before answering.

"He left with some twinkie a few minutes ago," Sally answered Quatre's unasked question with a rather sour look on her face. Hilde looked away, not meeting Quatre's eye.

"Oh. Well..." he shrugged and his grin returned, maybe a fraction less sunny this time. "I got the job! You're talking to the new Assistant Large Mammal Keeper at the Solomon Zoo! I start Monday!"

Hilde jumped up and down and squealed. Sally patted him on the back, all the while giving Hilde a hard look and speculating out loud, "Christ, are you sure you're really a lesbian?" Wufei surprised them all by enveloping him in a tight hug. "I knew you could do it," he beamed after releasing a surprised Quatre from his grasp.

Quatre sat down and picked up the drink that Hilde had poured him. "Duo was right. They said my lack in education wasn't a factor; that you pick up most things through experience anyway. They were really impressed with my resume and my knowledge of big cats."

"You mean to tell me you didn't subscribe to National Geographic all those years just for the naked tribesmen?" Sally teased.

"No, you caught me. The zoology articles were just an added bonus," Quatre quipped, raising his glass. "To all the naked tribesmen who helped me get where I am today."

"To naked tribesmen," Wufei, Sally and Hilde echoed.

Quatre watched as a tall, slender shadow loomed in front of the bar's door but his shoulders slumped a little when the newest patron did not turn out to be Duo.

"I'll be right back, guys." Quatre jostled his way through the growing crowd to the payphones in the back by the bathrooms. Thankfully, he was able to duck into one of the phone cubicles before Otto, who had been staggering out of the men's room, could focus enough to recognize him. Otto was older than Quatre and his friends, with a thinning hairline and the mistaken impression that his drink limit before fall-down drunkenness was a solid ten double tequilas. One night, out of a sheer haven't-gotten-laid-for-six-months kind of desperation, Quatre had taken him home. The night had been an unmitigated disaster and everyone, everyone that is, except Otto, knew it. Otto seemed to think they were - for lack of a better phrase - fuck-buddies, now, and he never hesitated to remind Quatre that his bedroom door was always open.

Duo picked up on the 5th ring. Quatre listened to his labored breathing for a full ten seconds before his friend managed to say, "D-Duo Maxwell."

"Hi," Quatre said flatly.

"Hang on, hang on," he heard Duo breathlessly tell someone in the background. Then: "Oh, oh god. Oooooooh god." Quatre massaged his temples. The small part of him that could still get behind the belief that denial was just a river in Egypt hoped that Duo was just getting a massage. The fact that it was Friday night, and well, that Duo was Duo, flatly contradicted his optimistic wish. Quatre's treacherous mind conjured an image of Duo shirtless, head thrown back, braid casually draped over one shoulder, eyes turned inward, lips parted in ecstasy.

"I said hang on," came Duo's voice again, irritable now. And enough to jolt Quatre out of his reverie. "Just go get a towel. I'll just be a minute. Hey Cat!"

"Oh are you talking to me now?" Quatre said wryly. He focused hard on one spot of graffiti whittled into the back of the phone booth. It read "Wanted: Meaningful overnight relationship." That might as well have been Tangle's slogan.

Duo laughed. "Oh yeah, well, somebody... what's your name?" A muffled voice in the background. "Todd. Well, Todd" he drew the word out into two syllables, "wasn't listening. I think Todd is going to have to be taught a little lesson."

Quatre heard a throaty moan in the background and rolled his eyes. "I'll call back," he said bluntly. Why hadn't he done that when he first figured out what was going on? Why did he always settle for crumbs of Duo's attention?

"No wait," Duo pleaded. "How'd it go, Cat? Did you get the job?"

"Yeah."

"See, I wasn't even worried. They couldn't help but see how wonderful you are."

"I thought we were going to meet at Tangle," slipped out. Quatre winced at himself. Don't ask. Don't need him. It's the surest way to lose him.

"Now if I sat there waiting for you like some nursemaid, or God forbid, your mother, what kind of impression would that make. There was never any doubt in my mind that you would be the new Assistant Large Mammal Keeper of the Solomon City Zoo." He said the name of the position loftily, as if Quatre were to be crowned the next King of Siam.

A muffled voice in the background again. "Gotta go, Cat. Something's..."

"Come up. Right."

"See you tomorrow night at Tangle, okay?"

"Yep, tomorrow night. Bye."

Duo's cell phone clicked off. Quatre gave the receiver on his end a long look before replacing it on the cradle. And when he stepped back into the barroom, he allowed Otto to buy him a screwdriver. And another. And he didn't protest when Otto pulled him into a bathroom stall, even though Wufei was persistently trying to convince him to accept a ride home. After all, Quatre had just gotten his dream job. It was expected that he celebrate, right?

[part 2] [back to Singles l - z]