Warnings : Yaoi, mostly sap with just a touch of angst. Assumed after EW. OOC, Wufei POV.
Standard disclaimers... you know; don't own a thing?
Author: Sunhawk

Midnight Tea

I suspected things hadn't gone well when Duo came back from his date early. I was positive things hadn't gone well when he didn't so much as stick his head into the living room to tell me he was home.

While we don't exactly live in each other's pockets, we usually at least inform each other of our comings and goings. And Duo knows that I generally enjoy hearing about his evenings out. I'm not much of one for that sort of thing myself, but Duo can be very entertaining when he's telling 'stories'.

I set my book aside when I heard him come in, expecting him to join me in the living room of our shared apartment, but only heard him retreat to the kitchen without a word. Listening intently, I heard the refrigerator open and the unmistakable clink of a beer bottle as he pulled one out.

Not a good sign.

I decided to investigate when I realized he'd never even turned on the light.

"Duo?" I called quietly, as I stepped into the dimly lit kitchen.

"I'm sorry, Wufei," came his almost disembodied voice. "I didn't mean to wake you." It was an evasion, at its worst; he knew I never went to bed before midnight. And he had surely seen the light on in the living room. I didn't push the point.

"I was up," I assured him and flipped on the light, catching a moment's frown of irritation before it was smoothed away. He was sitting at the table, his beer already half gone. "A bit late for that, isn't it?" I moved toward the stove to put on the tea kettle.

"Not all that late, if you're still up," he replied, again skirting the issue.

I thought about my next line while I got down the tin of tea, watching him as best I could, reflected in the surfaces around me. "Then," I finally ventured. "You're back early?"

He sighed, taking another long swallow of his beer, and seeming to decide to stop dancing quite so much. "Wufei-buddy... you don't want to hear it."

"If my partner is upset about it..." I said softly, and let it hang there in the air, my back still to him as I lifted our mugs down from the cabinet.

He snorted, "Your partner is an idiot."

"That has not been my experience," I chided, and he only took another swallow from his bottle.

"Well, it's been mine," he grumbled, though I wasn't entirely sure it was directed to my ears, as quietly as he said it.

The water came to a boil then and I turned off the burner. "I take it that your evening didn't go all that well?"

He didn't answer right away, staying quiet so long that I thought maybe he wouldn't speak. I practically had the tea ready before he finally said, "You're prying, Chang."

I smiled, knowing that his defensiveness always kicks in after he's abandoned denial. It's practically his last defense before he caves and talks. Because, in the general scheme of things... we tell each other just about everything.

"I wouldn't need to pry if you'd just tell me what is bothering you so much that you're attempting to lick the last drops of beer from that bottle."

He had been holding said bottle up, letting the last of it trickle out, but at my words, set it down rather firmly on the table and scowled. "Drowning one's sorrows requires the consumption of..." he began, but then cut himself off. "Stop that," he commanded, his scowl turning to a glare.

I brought the tea to the table, pulling out a chair and sitting down beside him. "I am not doing anything more horrendous than offering to listen to a troubled friend."

He sighed, watching me set his empty bottle out of reach, and pushing his mug of tea into its place. "It's just stupid shit, man... you don't want to hear it."

A good strategist knows when to back off and try a different approach. "Drink your tea," I scolded. "I flavored it the way you like."

He spared me a side-ways glance that spoke of both exasperation and gratitude, and took the mug to cradle the warmth in his hands for a moment. "With honey?" he asked, managing that tone he has that can make him sound like an impish child.

I waited for him to take a sip before I confirmed the presence of the ingredients he had to have to make tea palatable. "Honey, and the orange... just the way you like it." I smiled, expected his return smile... not expecting the way his _expression almost fractured. He schooled it quickly, but not before I'd seen a deeper pain than I thought we were dealing with.

"Duo," I demanded, cynical mind leaping to a conclusion that made my blood run cold. "That man you went out with tonight... he didn't hurt you?"

His harsh bark of laughter did more to ease my mind than anything he might have said. "Oh, please," he sneered, rolling his eyes and giving me the look that begs to know where my mind has wandered off to. "Taro? I thought you met him at the office party? He probably couldn't take out old lady Parker from down the hall."

"Then what was that look for?" I prodded and knew from his sudden sigh, that I was finally going to get something from him.

"I'm sorry, Fei," he said, staring into the depths of his mug as if all the answers in the world were there. "I just... sometimes I just feel like..." He couldn't seem to find the words and stumbled to a halt.

I gave him a few minutes before reaching out to touch his arm. "Don't make me break out the ginger snaps."

The old joke, Duo's Achilles heel of sweets, won me a laugh, but it sounded strangled. "Oh no!" he tried, in his high-pitched Mr. Bill voice. "Anything but that!"

Denial.... Defensiveness... humor. I smiled at his lame joke and slipped past his last shield. "My tea doesn't usually make you look like you need cookies."

He sighed again, quite heavily; the sound one of surrender. He raised the mug of tea and finally raised his eyes as well, moving that searching gaze from the mug to me. Somehow asking me for the answers the depths of my brew had not contained. "I want this," he said, voice little more than a whisper, as though he felt embarrassed about what he was saying and didn't want the world to overhear. "I want someone who loves me to make me tea... and know just how to make it."

I didn't refute him. I understood what he meant, and he wasn't talking about the love between partners. I understood that his words were not meant to belittle what we felt for each other.

"This Taro?" I asked, remembering seeing the clerk around work. He was a good looking man of mixed Japanese decent and I hadn't really been surprised when Duo had shown an interest.

Duo abandoned his mug to the table so that he could free his hands to bury his face there. "No..." he said. "He was never... I mean, I don't really know why I kept trying..."

I had my own theories about that, but chose to keep them to myself. I gave Duo another few minutes, but when nothing more than that was forthcoming, I prodded gently. "So you... broke it off tonight?"

He blew out a breath and suddenly sat back in his chair, slouched down and unconsciously putting some space between us. He was back to staring at his mug of relatively untouched tea. "Guess you could say that. We kind of... had an argument."

"About?" I asked, taking a sip of my tea and watching him closely.

"It's stupid," he glowered, evading again. It made me cautious; Duo was usually to the point of spilling his guts by now. Once the topic had been broached, he generally told me everything without much more prompting.

"Well," I tried. "So was that argument you and I had last week about the laundry..."

It got the hoped for rise from him and he glared at me. "That was just stupid guy shit, and you know it! This was different! The man is just... mean spirited, you know? What in the hell is funny about something being dead beside the road? There is nothing funny about a living creature dying. Ever. I should have seen it before..."

He petered out again, his face slightly flushed, and we were back to the staring.

I sighed, though I don't think he noticed. "Perhaps, my friend, you should tell me about this evening from the beginning."

He looked up at me, and his eyes were just full of an ache that I didn't quite now how to assuage. "It wasn't just the dead cat, Fei... it was the damn jokes. I'd told him before how I hated them, but he just kept on... it didn't matter to him that it bothered me. If a man has no more respect than that..." He stopped again, taking a breath, seeming to want to distill things down to as few words as possible. "I'm just disgusted with myself that I kept seeing the guy so long. I knew he wasn't the kind of person I could ever get really serious with, and it's just so damn twisted that I kept trying just because..."

I knew before he was half through the line, that he wouldn't finish it. I was well aware of his... tastes, it was one of those many things that we'd talked about over the years, but it wasn't something he liked to speak of.

"I just feel so pathetic," he finally mumbled, and looked away again, suddenly finding the tile on the kitchen floor quite fascinating.

"I never cared for him," I had to confess. "And I think you're well rid of him. But there are plenty of..."

"No!" he snapped, his _expression warring between pain and resolve. "Maybe I wanted someone, wanted the kind of relationship Trowa and Quatre have, but that's just a stupid pipe-dream!"

His switch to past-tense did not escape me. I would have reached out, but he still had that buffer of space between us that would have been awkward to bridge. "You don't mean that," I reproached gently, and watched that small spark of anger desert him.

"I'm done, Fei," he whispered, sitting forward again, but it seemed more that he was just curling in on himself as anything. "No more. I have to face up to the fact that I love a man who doesn't love me back. I thought I could let go of that, but I can't. I can't change how I feel and I've got to stop trying to replace him.... Because it can't be done. God; who in the hell could ever hold a candle to him? I have to stop looking..."

I have to admit that his words shocked the hell out of me. He'd not spoken so bluntly about his unrequited feelings in ages, and the last time, he'd been drunk enough that he'd also told me about the L2 plagues.

It had been the one and only time that I had ever seen Duo Maxwell cry.

I was moved to get closer to him, and left my chair to crouch on the floor beside his. "Duo... don't say that. Just because you haven't found someone..."

His face was in his hands again, and he rubbed his forehead like he was fighting a headache. "That's the thing... I have found someone. But he hasn't found me. It's time I stopped lying to myself... I'm never going to get over him."

I didn't know what to say, and just reached out, shocked when he flinched away.

"Duo?" I asked gently.

"I'm sorry," he breathed. "Not... right now, ok? I can't."

"I understand," I told him, and it was the truth, though I didn't have to like it.

Then he was looking down at me and a ghost of that cocky grin crossed his face. "Damn you... you did it again. How do you always manage to drag this stuff out of me?"

I smiled in return, trying to make it into the touch he couldn't bare. "Maybe because you need to let me drag it out?"

"I'm really sorry, man," he told me, looking embarrassed.

"Don't be," I said firmly. "You should never be sorry for speaking what's on your mind. Just... are you all right?"

"I'm just kind of tired, I guess," he sighed, looking away again, and rubbing his hand over his eyes.

I thought about the pain that he had tucked so neatly away, and had to ask, "Not... despondent?" It was an old line, born in a discussion about the unlikely use of the word by surviving relatives in cases of suicide. I was not reassured by how long it took him to answer.

But then he gave me that look that tells me I've said something stupid, and I all but sighed in sudden relief; bad... but not that bad.

"I think I'll be much better in the morning," he told me and was suddenly rising from his chair. I knew it for the final evasion that it was; I would get no more from him tonight. I wasn't happy, but we'd been partners long enough that I knew to let him go. I stood when he did and he cast a last look at me over his shoulder as he left the room. A little sheepish. A little apologetic. "I think I'll go take a shower."

"All right... but you know I'll be up a while longer. If you want to talk?"

He smiled and ducked his head. "I know. I really am sorry, man... I guess it was just a long day."

I returned his smile, letting him push it aside. "It's all right." He nodded once and then was gone.

I sighed; a little heavier than intended now that he was out of earshot, and sat back down to finish my cooling tea. The apartment was quiet until I heard the water begin to run in the bathroom.

"When are you going to tell him I'm here," Heero asked, coming into the kitchen finally, and leaning in the doorway.

"I'm not," I told him blandly. "We are going to gather your things and you're going to a motel for the night. You may surprise us with your visit again in the morning."

He grunted and gave me that piercing gaze of his.

"Why didn't you just warn him I was in the apartment?" he asked after seeming to think it over for a moment.

I sipped my tea and met his look with an appraising one of my own. "A two-fold reason. By tomorrow morning, he would have bottled that up and no amount of teasing or prying would have gotten him to unburden himself. And he very much needed to say those things."

Heero blinked slowly, waiting for me, and finally prodding when I didn't immediately slake his curiosity. "You said two-fold?"

I hesitated, understanding how much I was interfering where no interference had been asked for. "As much as he needed to speak... I think you needed to hear."

It was... interesting to see comprehension dawn in his ice blue eyes. After a moment, those eyes flicked in the direction of the bathroom, just as though he could see Duo through the intervening walls.

"Maybe I should... stay," he suggested after a long moment of staring at the pattern of the wallpaper.

"No," I told him firmly. "He is too raw, and you... need to think this through quite thoroughly."

He looked back at me, eyes narrowing slightly, a question without words.

"You could hurt him very badly without half trying," I informed him, finding my voice just a bit colder than I'd intended to make it. "Don't start down this path unless you're serious."

We stared at each other for a very long time.

"Do you love him?" Heero suddenly blurted.

"Quite fiercely," I replied unflinching. "But not the way he wants. Duo is... my shield-mate, my partner. My life is his for the asking, but I can't give him what he needs."

There was a touch of respect in the nod he gave me then. "I should gather my things before he finishes," he said, and I knew we understood each other.

"Yes," I agreed, and sipped at my tea while he went to retrieve his duffle from the guest room.

I rose when I heard him coming back through the apartment. In the bathroom, the water was still running, and I knew it would be for a while yet; when troubled, Duo tends to take very long showers.

"You know he won't accept easily," I told Heero as he stood with his hand on the knob of the front door.

His small smile held a sardonic edge, but I wasn't sure if it was for my assumption about him, or my assessment of Duo.

"He is..." he said fondly, "cautious with his trust."

I inclined my head, pleased that he knew my partner at least that well. He returned the nod with something a bit more formal, and we parted.

I returned to the kitchen, sat and finished my tea while Duo finished his shower, waiting for the water to shut off before rising to rinse our mugs and clean up.

I smiled, wondering almost idly as I sat our mugs side by side in their place in the cabinet, if I would be packing one of them soon... or adding a third.

Either way, there was most definitely the feeling in the air that life was about to change. I hoped it wasn't just my romantic's soul that thought that would be a good thing. For both their sakes.

+

I think the world of Duo Maxwell; he is my partner after all. I had been hesitant after joining the Preventers when it had been suggested that we team up. I had not thought that we would work well together, but things had worked out better than I could ever have hoped. Duo and I compliment each other because we are complete opposites. We fill out each other's weaknesses. We understand each other's strengths.

I had been surprised when our partnership had grown to include friendship, and had ultimately ended up with us sharing an apartment. It had been another thing that I had entered into with some trepidation, but a sudden change of ownership of the building I had been living in, coinciding with Duo losing a roommate to the horrors of marriage, had seemed too much like fate, and we'd decided to give it a try.

It was another thing that had worked out beyond expectation.

But while I think the world of my partner, there are things about him that drive me to distraction. Mainly his inability to believe in his own dreams.

Duo is a man who has lost a lot in his lifetime, and while his outgoing personality and his ready smile are quite sincere, there is a place inside him that always expects the important things in life to be taken from him.

Always expects, as he says, to suddenly roll snake eyes.

The weeks after Duo's midnight confession to me had been... difficult.

It had seemed a rather uncomplicated thing, once I'd realized that Heero had been harboring feelings of his own. It seemed like a simple misunderstanding easily put to rights. How hard could it be for two mature, adults to figure out they cared for each other?

I had not bargained on that cynical core in Duo's bones. Had not counted on him being half afraid to reach for what he wanted, once it had been offered to him.

I will give Heero credit; once he understood that his own feelings were quite deeply returned, he would not be deterred. I had half expected him to give up in frustration at Duo's sudden skittishness. But he showed a side of himself I had never seen before, exhibiting an attentive patience that did a great deal to relieve my mind about the budding relationship. I had not honestly been sure the two of them could work it out. I should have known that nothing would stop Heero Yuy once he set his mind on it.

Not even Duo Maxwell on the verge of panicking.

We went through a lot of tea in that month.

Things might have been less complicated if Heero hadn't been living with us, but he was newly back from God only knew where, with no place to stay, and just beginning to think about signing on with the Preventers. He'd ended up in our guest room.

I was pretty much the complication. I spent a lot of time in my own room during that period, trying to at least give them the illusion of privacy. But there is not a lot of privacy to be had for three grown men in a three bedroom apartment. No matter how hard I tried, I was at least vaguely aware of every milestone, every bit of foreword progress they made.

I helped Duo settle their plans when they decided to try an official 'date' together for the first time. Officiated over their first argument. Got to tease Duo after their first kiss. Reassured. Encouraged. Just listened.

It rather put me in mind of the immovable object in the path of the unrelenting force. Heero was the constant ocean waves, to Duo's stone cliffs. It was only a matter of time before Heero wore him down. Aided and abetted, as he was, by Duo's own desires.

It wasn't a matter of winning Duo's love... it was a matter of winning his trust. In making him believe in the possibilities.

I was privy to far more information than I was entirely comfortable with, but short of taking a motel room for an indeterminate amount of time, I wasn't exactly sure how to alleviate the situation. Besides, there were times I wasn't sure that Duo didn't need me there. The ever-present ear. The brewer of tea with honey. The touch-stone he seemed to need while his life was threatening to change on him so drastically.

His changes have not always been good ones.

So, I suppose I should not have been caught quite so surprised when I found myself aware of another of their landmark moments. A 'first time' far more intimate than an evening at the movies.

Have you ever seen a wild horse brought to hand? The trembling dance of skin? The flick of attentive ears? A moment of stillness poised on the knife-edge between flight and capitulation?

Duo had been there for days. There were moments when I expected him to flee the damn planet, and other moments when I expected him to wrap himself around Heero and never let go.

I had gone to my room early, leaving them the couch, the television and some time alone together. There had been something in the air that seemed none of my business, and I had taken my leave with my book in hand. I had read for some hours, before turning the light out for the night, and not long afterward had heard Duo in his own room.

It was a comforting sound, really. Duo's room is right next to mine and by virtue of the layout, had the wall between us been gone, I could have reached out and touched his bed. After a year of sharing an apartment with my partner, I found the sounds of him retiring to be a soothing thing, some part of my mind always registering that he was home and safe, and all was right in my world.

But it didn't take long that night to realize the sounds I heard were far from the normal ones. Didn't take long to realize that Duo was not alone.

I froze, pulled quite abruptly from the fuzzy edge of sleep I had been drifting on, utterly unsure of what to do. If they were in the midst of the moment I thought they were in the midst of, I did not want to disturb them. Not for anything short of Armageddon. But... I really didn't want to stay where I was, less then two feet from a place I suspected they were going to be any moment.

I could hear their voices, soft as they made them, though I couldn't make out the words. Heero's was a deep rumble, a tone that spoke of desire wrapped firmly in an endless patience. Duo's was almost breathless, full of that poised sense of the moment. A strange mixture of need and uncertainty.

I stared blankly at nothing, aware that they were probably right in front of me, through the intervening wall, and the dark. My mind supplied me all unbidden with an image of Heero stroking his fingers along Duo's jaw line until he coaxed him into a kiss. And indeed, they grew quiet for a moment.

I felt very much like a trapped animal. I began to slowly turn over, painfully aware of every rustle of my sheets, of every tiny sound the bedsprings made. It seemed to take an eternity just to achieve a place where I was looking up at the ceiling instead of the wall.

There was the sound of something dropping to the floor, and I honestly just didn't want to know what it was. Duo made a noise that was a bit louder than I suspect he'd intended to. A soft cry that spoke of involuntary reaction, and I felt myself blushing despite myself. I silently cursed the thin walls that had never been a problem before.

Heero spoke again; Duo's name, I thought, and then something soothing. Something in that unrelenting, serene tone of his. The wave washing over the rock again.

The rock was giving way. It was there in the quaver of Duo's voice. There in the rising edge of need in his tone. I heard the creak of Duo's bed as they settled on it, and used the sound to cover my own continued turn, obtaining the edge of my own bed with a sigh of relief.

But then there was quiet behind me and I froze again, afraid they'd heard me and realized just how much I was able to hear. I held my breath, waiting. I couldn't help worrying about how much harm it would do to their fledgling romance, if this moment were ruined. There was a creak of bedsprings, another sound of something dropping lightly to the floor, and Heero's voice sounding... very unlike him.

Duo cried out to God then, voice a shaky thing that he was trying to control. I used the moment to roll out of bed, exalted when I obtained my feet without making a sound.

Once out of the damn bed, I knew I could escape without alerting them to my awakened state. Behind me, on the other side of that thin wall, their voices were mingling in a soft harmony of pants and sighs. Heero sounded almost aggressive, almost possessive. And Duo sounded... passionate. And somehow vulnerable.

Duo Maxwell is my partner. The man I trust at my back and at my shoulder, and I really just did not want to hear him like that. Did not want to hear him so... exposed.

I escaped, face a flaming red, just as the sound of their panting began to take on a rhythm. I was more than pleased when a strategic retreat to the living room bought me the hoped for silence. Relief was a thing that let me breathe again.

I had fled without much planning, and found myself without book or other distraction, so I settled on the couch in front of the television. I muted the sound and simply watched the flicker of some movie, trying to erase images from my mind that I would really have rather not had.

The thought of Heero rising above my partner...

The picture of Duo sprawled across his bed in abandon...

The image of sweat-slick flesh...

The sounds of those soft cries...

This may sound strange, but I just don't want to think of the man that has had my back in more than one fire fight, in that way. Not sounding so completely vulnerable, so totally unsure of himself. It awoke in me a sense of protectiveness that would not be healthy for our partnership. It's funny... I had never understood the Preventers' rules against spouses working together on the job. Listening to the sound of my partner's voice that night, the reasoning had suddenly become crystal clear to me.

It took an hour of the History channel with no sound, before it began to fade from my mind, and I started to feel drowsy again. I was just debating the possibility of turning off the television and attempting to sneak back into my room, when a noise in the hall alerted me to another's presence. To this day, I'm not sure if Duo had come looking for me, or if he were simply on his way to the kitchen and saw the light of the television.

I saw him hesitate in the hall, before slipping into the room to stand leaning against the wall by the doorway. He was wearing nothing but a pair of jeans so low slung I suspected he might have snagged Heero's in the dark. His hair was as much down as it was in its usual braid, and he looked altogether frazzled. I couldn't help smiling at several of the more inappropriate lines that popped into my head. Instead, I simply said, "Hey."

"Hey," he replied, sounding a little subdued, though I couldn't read his _expression in the faint light from the television.

I cocked my head and looked at him anyway, knowing that I would be easier for him to see, as I was in front of the light source instead of behind it. "Are you... all right?"

He hesitated a long moment, suddenly looking at the floor and murmuring so softly that I almost missed it, "I'm... scared, Fei."

I'm afraid I was on my feet before my mind was quite done putting his words together with the information I already had. "If he hurt you..." I began, but he was shaking his head before I'd finished letting the half formed thought escape my mouth. I instantly felt... foolish; I knew Heero better than that.

"Nothing like that," he said, looking up at me. "I just... I've never felt this much before. It feels like... like my chest is going to explode... like I can't contain it..."

He stuttered to a halt and I felt myself relax. I hoped he couldn't see the smile I just couldn't contain. "What is it, then, my friend?"

He sighed. He shifted. He closed his eyes and let his head rest against the wall behind him. I could see the rise and fall of his Adams-apple as he swallowed. I waited for him to get it sorted out.

"It feels too good to be true," he finally told me, and I wanted to sigh right out loud, but didn't. That expectation he has that things will slip though his fingers again. "I'm afraid of the price."

"The price?" I prompted, taking a few steps so that I was out of the glow of the television and could see a little better.

"Everything has a price," he told me, a world of bitterness behind that statement. "I'm just afraid the price is too high."

It was the most disconcerting thing in the world to hear the man, who, not six months prior, had crossed between two buildings twenty stories above the ground on nothing but a guy wire during a hostage situation, use the word 'afraid'.

It says something that I'm not sure I understand, that he guards his heart closer than he guards his life.

"Duo..." I began, but stopped when I heard him take a sudden breath, knowing he was about to say something that he'd had to work himself up to.

"I don't want the price to be you, Fei," He blurted and I'm afraid all I could do was blink at him for a second.

"Me?" I repeated, not quite able to follow his reasoning.

"As much as I love Heero," he said, seeming to find his words now that the subject was broached. "I don't want to lose what you and I have. I don't want to lose my partner."

I couldn't help the soft snort, and could only hope it didn't sound condescending. I moved a little closer, so that I could see his face better in the dim light. "You have nothing to fear from me," I assured him and could tell he was looking at me intently.

"You know this has to change things," he said, testing my words.

"Of course," I smiled. "But you having Heero in your arms won't change the fact that you have me at your back."

I thought, for one horrifying moment, that he was going to burst into tears, but he didn't. "Thanks, man," he murmured.

I chuckled and reached to touch his shoulder. He took it as an offer, and I suddenly found myself tightly embraced.

"I... love you too," he blurted, voice rushed and tight. "Just different."

I gave him a quick squeeze and he drew away rather suddenly, looking down as though he'd just noticed his feet for the first time. "I know," I told him, and knew he was blushing furiously. I couldn't help another chuckle, understanding that the conversation was driven by the emotional upheaval of his... evening with Heero. "You're going to hate yourself for this moment, come tomorrow," I teased, and he looked up at me quite earnestly.

"I know," he whispered. "That's why I had to come say it tonight."

I grunted, a bit surprised, and he turned away to head back to his room. To head back to his lover. I stepped into the hall to watch him walk away, and grinned at the disheveled picture he painted.

It had all seemed such a simple thing, when they'd started down this road, but then I suppose nothing was ever simple when it involved Duo.

"Maxwell," I called at the last minute, and he stopped with his hand on the doorknob of his room, to look back at me. "You're right about the changes though, and the first one comes tomorrow. We're moving your damn room to the one across the hall."

I thought he would choke, but he recovered quickly, flashing me a grin of gratitude before disappearing into his room. I figured the best way to not let his new situation affect our own relationship was to stop thinking of him differently. The open, vulnerable Duo who sighed in the dark and called out in need... belonged to Heero. The tough, decisive Duo, who could look square down the muzzle of a 45 and damn well grin while he did it... belonged to me.

I could share if Heero could. The rest was up to Duo.

I decided to go make some tea.

End

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