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