Authors: TB and Marsh
see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
+ Part Seven
He had the mobile on vibrate.
Wufei took it out of his pocket, annoyed, and dropped it into the cupholder
on the dash. The ID flashed bright blue, cutting the darkness inside his
Across the street, a light came on above the garage. A moment later, a
man emerged from a screen door, carrying bags of garbage to the street.
A woman waited, silhouetted by the doorframe, yelling hoarsely.
His phone fell silent as it went to voicemail. Wufei shifted in his seat,
resting his wrists over the edge of the wheel. He watched the man go back
up the drive, watched the argument that followed. He was too far away
to hear specifics, but the screeching tones were clear enough.
The mobile began to buzz again, rattling in place. Wufei flicked it open
with his thumb and lifted to his ear. "What's up?"
Heero's voice was quiet and familiar. "Wondering where you are."
"I went for a ride," Wufei said. "Just to clear my head. It's nice out.
Cold." The woman was agitated, her fists waving through the air. Wufei
watched closely, waiting to see if it came to blows; but they calmed soon
"Oh." Heero's exhale was gentle. "Rather come out for a drink?"
"Yeah. Okay." He pushed his key into the ignition, but didn't turn it.
"Sheridan's is still open."
"I can be there --" He licked his lips, and turned on the car. The air
that blasted from the vents wasn't yet hot, and he curled his fingers
in the sleeves of his coat. "When?"
"I'm already there."
"Give me ten minutes."
"See you there. Thanks."
"You don't have to talk to me, but you do have to eat," Trowa said. The
television cast a blueish glow over the duvet, over Duo's bare stomach.
Trowa stared at it to keep the dark from creeping in on the edges of his
"I don't fucking want to. I want to just go to sleep, please."
There was no intimacy of eye-contact, not in the dark.
"Brought a drink."
"Christ, stop trying to feed me! You don't always have to fucking feed
me in a crisis."
He set the pasta bowl on the bureau, swigged his beer, and walked out.
"Fuck you, Duo," he said in the living room. When the door slammed behind
him, he faced it, and added, "Fuck the fucking door too!"
From the other side, Duo hit the wood. Then there was a staccato of punches
and kicks, hollow thumps against the cheap door. And then silence.
Walking into Trowa's world of half-hiding. Depriving Trowa of seeing him
clearly, because he was mad. Or maybe Trowa was just noticing it now,
just assuming there were reasons for the obvious.
He finished his beer slowly, knowing that if he went in now, shit was
going to break. He finished his beer, and another one. He stood leaning
his forehead against the wall. "Damnit, Duo," he said. "Let me in."
Heero had a booth in the back right corner, out of the light, his back
to the wall. Wufei waved off the hostess and a menu and picked a path
through the tables on the floor. A raucous cheer went up from the bar
as he manoeuvred through the crowd; there was a sports game on the flat
screens hanging from the ceiling. Wufei spared it only a glance.
"You started without me," he observed, nudging Heero's half-empty glass
as he took the open bench. It left his back open, and he didn't like it,
but it wasn't worth cajoling Heero into moving.
"Sorry," Heero said. "That kind of day. Night."
"What's going on?"
A waitress had noticed his entrance, and joined them, interrupting with
the casual rudeness of poorly-trained staff. "You been here before, honey?
Specials are on the board, or I can show you our menu."
"Iced tea," he said. "Non-alcoholic. That's all."
Heero had a third of his glass left, rolling slowly between his square
hands. "You give Duo the log?" he asked.
Heero had been the one to find it, while Wufei manned the getaway car.
Heero had declined to read it, too. "Yes," Wufei answered briefly. "It
didn't make him happy."
Heero lifted his beer, and sipped. "I thought Duo might call one of us."
Meaning Heero. "He's got to work this out on his own. It's how he operates."
The waitress returned with his tea, placing it for him without asking
if he wanted anything else, and darting away before he could have asked
her even if he did. The glass left a wet ring on the polished tabletop.
Wufei blotted it with a napkin, and added, "He'll call eventually."
"Do you think he'll break up with Trowa again?"
"He should, but he won't." He studied the down-turned curve of Heero's
gaze. "He won't forgive either of us for a while."
Heero drank again, at that. He wasn't looking at Wufei, possibly not even
thinking about his partner.
"You let that window close a long time ago, Heero."
"What?" Heero glanced at him, and downed another swallow.
"He's not a window," Heero said.
Wufei sprung a smile at that. "Don't be an ass."
Heero caught the eye of their waitress and silently motioned for a new
drink. Wufei suspected it wasn't the first one; Heero was a lightweight,
unused even to casual drinking. "Where were you when I called?" Heero
asked him abruptly. "I tried your place first."
"I already told you that. Just a ride." He turned to look, and saw the
waitress at the tap filling a glass with amber and foam. "Did you drive
"I came earlier with Stenson. Car's still at HQ."
"Stenson left?" That more or less made up his mind about taking Heero
home. He was drunk, or at least determined to be. A scan of the bar showed
a few olive shirts with the logo stretched across the back, but they weren't
anyone Wufei knew.
"Do you think it's that he's sick?"
The non-sequitur threw him. "Pardon?"
Heero's dark blue eyes were finally meeting his. "Trowa," he said. "Do
you think he's like that because he's sick?"
He had his misgivings about Trowa. And he would have loved to talk to
Heero about it, but Heero had a blind spot when it came to Duo, and the
blind spot came with baggage about Duo's chosen mate. He didn't precisely
want to defend Trowa, but saw that he was going to have to. "I think..."
He searched cautiously for the right words, the minimal words. "He's like
that because he's thorough."
Heero didn't accept that, but didn't challenge it, either. "We put people
in jail for writing things like he wrote," he said, his expression indecipherable
in the low light.
"He hasn't done anything wrong, Heero. He's made no threats. He -- hell
-- this is normal for him." Wufei shrugged weakly. "You know that. All
of us do odd things."
"Maybe that just makes all of us sick."
If Heero reached for the new drink, Wufei would stop him, he decided.
This was going no-where healthy, no-where productive.
"We're too -- "
"Say it," Wufei encouraged.
"Too wrapped up in each other's lives," he finished softly.
"I think that's what friends are supposed to do."
"Not as we do." Wufei watched, concerned, as Heero rotated the cup between
his palms again, staring into the dregs of his drink like meaning resided
there. "Every time we start to pull away, there's a crisis. Every time
we get too close, it... it gets so messy."
"We're not special in that, Heero. It happens every day." He hesitated,
and determined it was time to ask a very impertinent question. Quietly,
hoping to alleviate the sting, he asked, "Are you in love with him?"
To his surprise, Heero merely shrugged, and finished the beer in a long
swallow. "I wouldn't know if I were."
Wufei slid the new drink away before Heero could think to reach for it.
"You don't have to confide in me."
Heero almost smiled, but the expression didn't last. "Are you in love
He was instantly nervous, terribly disquieted. "No," he said shortly.
"I'm not good at those kinds of things."
Heero seemed to lose interest. "I guess none of us are."
"Come on," Wufei murmured. "I'll take you home."
Heero didn't stand when he did. He hunched over the table, tracing the
outer edges of a coaster. "Are you going to be there during the trial?"
"Whenever I'm not on duty, yes." Wufei slowly resumed his seat. "Aren't
"Do you think he wants us to?"
That question seemed wildly baseless. "I think he'd appreciate the support."
Never mind that they'd put him there. He felt sure from his brief visit
with Duo the day before that Duo needed the reminder; he needed his friends,
all of them, around him.
"He hasn't talked to me at all."
Wufei drew and exhaled a cleansing breath, and sipped from his tea for
the first time. "Have you talked to him, Heero?" he returned. "Have you
even tried?" Knowing already that Heero had not. It was one thing to worry
that Duo was angry at him; it was another to avoid the topic altogether,
until the blame began to rest on the one person who couldn't be expected
to open the door.
Heero leant back in his seat, his wrists slipping from the table to his
lap. "Did you ever throw out those old climbing boots?"
Wufei only looked at him, and blinked first. "I don't think I have them
any more. Going hiking?" He made a show of stretching his arms to look
at his wristwatch. "We should go."
Heero wore a low blush, but his mouth was sad. "All right," he agreed.
Wufei rose, sure they were actually going to leave this time, and buttoned
his fatigues against the winter cold. "We can talk more in the car," he
promised, and trusted he didn't sound as reluctant as he felt. "Okay?"
"I might just doze, if you don't mind."
"There was like a year's worth of stuff in there." Duo's voice was muffled,
but Trowa heard it. He slid to the floor, to put his ear to where the
sound originated, head-height on a sitting man. "From after we broke up."
"And that makes me a psycho," he said. The door was cool against his cheek,
and thin, cheap, not smoothed even with the glister of maplewood stain.
"I know. Because you really didn't give me a choice when you ran out on
me. Did you?"
"Oh, fucking get off your high horse about that. You knew I was going
and where." Duo shifted, and Trowa imagined them touching, hands clenched
to fists and touching the same spot. "It's not like I ran off into the
night and you never heard from me again. You helped me move my fucking
"Yeah, fine. So what's your problem with this then? That I didn't tell
you I cared enough about you to keep track of your movements?"
"Keep track? You're a fucking stalking creep."
That was moderately venomous. Trowa had to resist correcting him -- that's
a fucking, stalking prick -- and did resist, because Duo was already on
a roll, and he was tired. So instead, he said, "Open the damn door, Duo."
"Jesus frigging Christ." He heard Duo scramble to his feet, and rose just
in time as it wrenched open. If they were going to argue, and God, they
were going to argue, he didn't want to do it through a door, in the doorway,
like some kind of metaphoric threshold. Duo was faster, but Trowa was
stronger, and he manhandled Duo across the room to the couch, threw him
at it. Duo went down in a sprawl without catching himself, and Trowa stood
over him, and if it felt disturbing, then maybe it was only fair that
both of them be disturbed at the same time.
"What do you want from me here, Duo," he said. "Because I'm not sure what
your objection is. There are half a dozen prove-able alibis in those logs.
Proofs that might get you an acquittal without implicating anyone. Just
like you wanted. And none of them are lies."
"You know why I don't like the packaging," Duo spat at him. "You know
"No. I really don't." It was too much effort to maintain the tatters of
his calm. He didn't like Duo's temper. It made him feel cornered; he'd
never quite been comfortable fighting back.
Duo rolled on the couch, sitting up, his legs splayed and his arms at
sharp angles. "Yeah, well, maybe that's true. Cause that journal -- fucking
hell." His eyes were dark, half-tired, half-crazy, slanted up at Trowa.
"You know what I'd think if I read something like that at work? Normal
people don't do this."
"We're not normal people." A beat passed, and the argument might have
passed, too, except he added, "Normal people don't need a parade of shrinks
to figure this shit out."
He knew he deserved the whispered "bastard" that greeted that. It was
that kind of night. They were neither of them being kind.
The roads were not busy, but their luck with the lights was bad, and they
were stopped frequently on the way to Heero's apartment complex. Sheridan's
was closer to Wufei's than it was to Heero's, but with the heat warming
them to a sleepy lassitude and the dark glow outside the windows interrupting
nothing, the drive wasn't a poor one. Except that every time he glanced
sideways, he saw Heero not-dozing, staring out his window with his closed
fists the outward evidence of his internal conflict.
"They really don't have anything," he offered near the half-way point.
His voice sounded loud against the quiet they'd let build up between them,
too abrupt perhaps to be the comfort he'd almost meant for it to be. "They
could dig up as much on either of us that might suggest guilt."
Heero's head turned toward him, and his hands unclenched, just slightly.
"How do you reckon?"
A left turn brought them out of downtown and toward the residentials.
"We all have access to the same files, war records that border on terrorism."
Wufei wet his lips, and thumbed down the AC to defrost his windscreen.
"The sensibility of a killer."
Heero took up his staring again. "I think that's a matter of choice, not
"All of us have chosen to kill when the decision wasn't forced."
"When you found him there, why did you think it was him? Why did you immediately
think he was responsible for all nine?"
The words were an accusation, even if the tone was only curious. "You
thought so, too," Wufei protested uncertainly.
"I know. I'm asking why you did."
"Maybe because he was standing over the body?"
He heard more than saw the slight shake of Heero's head. "Why really?"
"He was there," Wufei snapped, suddenly agitated. "Why are you
persisting in this?"
"He shot me. The first time he saw me."
He was beginning to be frustrated, and reminded himself sharply that Heero
had drunk too much, enough to earn the consideration of being ignored
if he crossed too many unwritten lines. "All right, then," he said stiffly.
"I've spent ten years thinking I didn't really care about it. But that's
what I thought, when we found him. He was willing to shoot a stranger."
His anger melted into confusion. "You think he's guilty?"
"No." Heero sat turned away from him, and Wufei didn't have the imagination
just then to know what his face would look like. "But I see how he could
It occurred to him that they'd arrived at the same argument, even if they
meant different things. Wufei turned onto 42nd, and found himself at a
red again. "Would you do your best to get him off even if you believed
It was, after all, essentially what Heero had asked him, the morning after
arresting their friend. He didn't expect to be surprised by the answer,
and he wasn't.
"I don't think there's anyone qualified to judge him," Heero said. 'But
us' hovered unspoken, so many years ingrained it didn't even require
"So would I," Wufei answered. "No matter which one of us it was. If it
were any of us."
"Yeah," Heero said briefly.
"So were you lying?" Duo asked, and, hilariously, probably really wanted
"Lying about which part?" They were on the couch together now, a process
achieved during one the black silences. There was pasta in the bedroom,
achieved during an earlier cease-fire and useless since Duo hadn't followed
him in. There was beer on the table, beer Duo wouldn't drink and Trowa
had drunk too much of, accomplishing only a lack of inhibition that was
bound to be unhealthy.
"About every part in your little book where you complained about my job.
About all the looks you used to give me when I'd say I have to go away
for a while."
"The rules are different for you and me," Trowa said.
"Because you're worth more."
Duo breathed in deeply on that. He asked, "Who decided that?" and his
voice was getting scratchy with how many times they'd come near to this
"I did." Trowa checked, and found all the bottles empty and sticky- smelling.
"You're free to differ, but that's my take on it."
"Yeah? Your take is wrong-headed and irresponsible, so fuck you."
He hadn't expected Duo to agree, even if they'd been calm -- sober --
not fighting. And he was getting used to hearing the `fuck you' bit. And
Duo had always undervalued himself, sold himself off like it was going
out of style, tolerated that aching hunger in himself like it was fate
that did it, not life. Maybe it was time to steer Duo to bed.
"What exactly is your problem here? That you were fooled? It was critical
that you were." Duo's face turned away, and Trowa exhaled. "Sorry that
"You're not fucking sorry! You're never fucking sorry about anything!"
"One of the many reasons you're worth more than I am."
Oh, Duo was furious. "So it was always academic, pointing out how stupid
it was for me to work for them after the war?"
"No, Duo, I meant it. It was stupid for me to work for them too." He wanted
another beer, but he wasn't a funny drunk and knew it. "Who recruited
He must have jumped tracks, and Duo hovered hesitating for a minute. "Some
guy named Derek," he responded slowly.
"Derek. And what'd he offer?"
"I don't know, I don't remember. Company car and health benefits."
"Une recruited me." That, to him, should carry some weight. "She offered
not to investigate what I did before and right after the war too closely."
"You've never been scared of Preventers finding out --" Scoffing, but
stopping short then when he realised just why Trowa had never been scared
He looked at Duo, a long, steady look. "I'm not a victim," he said. "I'm
He watched Duo absorb it like poison through the skin, watched him compare
what he'd known and what Trowa called fact in the honest inky dark. Duo
took longer about it than he had to, and Trowa wondered what avalanche
was coming, what new combustion was being hidden by the sudden reasonableness.
The longer it went on, he thought about Une forcing him into meeting her,
thought about her laying it all out like she'd just crushed him under
her heel and didn't give a damn whether he agreed or not, thought about
the probability that he was going to see that side of her again, as soon
as she got through deciding whether to let him swing or dump him down
a dark hole before he could fuck up the operation.
"Were you ever asked by anyone to keep an eye on me?"
Not formally, and he'd declined anyway. "No," he said, and wondered if
Duo believed him. "I did that because I needed to." Duo held up a hand
between them. "You asked."
The hand hovered anyway for a minute. Trowa wondered if he was crying.
He could never tell from Duo's voice; Duo was that good at masking his
emotions, if he didn't like them. And he wondered when Duo had become
like that, because he hadn't been that way when they were fifteen.
"Do you respect what I do?" Duo asked finally.
"Yeah, Duo. I always have."
"I've never felt like you did." Duo rubbed at his forehead, pulled a thread
of hair loose with twitching fingers. "I felt like you respected my reasons
but that you always thought I was -- I don't know. Being duped or something."
"I never thought you were stupid." The way Duo's mind worked and sometimes
didn't work left him frustrated. He wrapped his fingers around Duo's wrist
and held on when Duo pulled away, forcing Duo to offer up his pulse. "Maybe
you cared too much, but you aren't stupid."
"Cared too much?" Duo's voice was thin, his blood jumping under Trowa's
thumb. "That's what you thought while you were keeping your book updated,
"What do you think I thought?"
"I don't know, Trowa. I don't know how people who do what you did think.
I don't know what's going on in your head that you think it's acceptable,
that it's okay to spend your time following me around and cleaning up
my messes like you've got a flipping mandate from God."
"That's the part that drives you nuts, isn't it? Not that I kept that
log, or joined the Preventers, but that I haven't confessed every fucking
thought and reason. And that you can't figure it out on your own. I did
those things for the same reason I do everything. I wanted to."
"That's not good enough. It's not a good enough reason."
"It's all I've got. It's how I operate." He let Duo go, because he'd forgotten
the reason for holding on in the first place. "I'm just not that complex."
"It's not fucking good enough, you can't just walk around doing whatever
you want to do! You can't just -- walk around doing whatever you want,
it's not right to do that. That's not what people do!"
"It's not what you do."
"I do. Okay? I do what I want. It's just not that hard to get. And you
used to get it, Duo. When'd you stop?"
Duo sat staring at him, and Trowa thought very hard about moving, pouncing
on him, kicking him to the floor and fucking him through it. He even half
started it, putting his hand on the side of Duo's neck to make him shiver,
and he moved closer with full intentions of kissing him, and Duo was surprised
enough, pissed off enough to let him get the jump, and he got as far as
the brush of their lips before he knew he wasn't going to do it. Couldn't
do it to Duo right now. Even if it saved them from the rest of this argument,
it would end everything else.
Duo's breath was warm and small on his cheek. "I thought you'd grow out
of it," he whispered, brittle and breaking.
He pressed his nose into Duo's temple. "I know what you hoped."
"I don't mean to be a moralising asshole."
"You're allowed. It's not your nature to accept --" He struggled for the
right way to frame it. "Complacency, " he said shortly, not liking what
it said about him, not sure if it was true.
"I'm not worth more than you."
"If you say so."
"Fucking hell, Trowa."
Fucking hell was right. Because Duo thought he got to argue both sides
at once, because Duo argued just to air his issues, to fill a void Trowa
hadn't put there and wasn't responsible for fixing. When Duo moved, so
did Trowa; grabbed Duo by the arm and wrenched him down before he even
got anywhere. He was just drunk enough to voluntarily let go of his patience,
be a little brutal holding Duo down. Duo went tense and outraged and weirdly
pliant, and Trowa knew it was wrong and did it anyway. He didn't care
and didn't want to, was sick of Duo walking out on him, was sick of Duo
picking fights and running from the words. He wanted Duo to find some
fucking stomach, and he said as much, and this time he did kiss Duo, mashing
their mouths together and pinching his jaw in place hard enough to raise
"Let's admit what this is really about," he said directly. Duo all but
vibrated against him and Trowa thought about Heero hitting Duo and didn't
let go. "It's not that I'm some kind of fucked-up stalker. It's that you
think this means I think you're incompetent. You need me to cover your
ass because you sure as hell can't, right? Okay, so if that's such a shitty
position to be in, why'd you call me when you got arrested? And what was
the first thing you said? Something about needing me, wasn't it?" Duo
pushed to free himself, but didn't resist long when Trowa refused. "Don't
go because you're mad. Don't go because you're fucking mad at me."
Duo's eyes closed. "There are a lot of reasons in the air to go, Trowa,
and mad isn't even top of the list."
"Are there any reasons left to stay?"
"I love you," Duo said, very readily, and looked up to say it, met his
eyes squarely. "I just... am not sure how much I really know about you.
And that's more important suddenly than it used to be."
Whatever violence he was feeling wasn't going away. Trowa sat up, and
finally let Duo go. He wasn't surprised when Duo fled for the bedroom,
but he sure was pissed. He followed, got hung up at the doorway before
remembering he owned the whole fucking condo. The pasta on the bureau
was cold and abandoned, stomach-turning. Trowa pushed it to the side.
"You know the important things about me," he persisted. "When you're not
being a son of a bitch."
"No. I didn't. So I have to ask what else I don't know."
Trowa wrenched open the top drawer of the bureau and pulled out a roll
of black socks. "You fold them wrong," he said, and pulled the roll apart
to fold them in half. "It drives me nuts. The rest you should already
Duo looked skyward. It wasn't meant to be dramatic, but it was, and Trowa
threw the socks at him. "The important things are fucking apparent, Duo."
"You say that. You've said that over and over lately. But they're not,
Tro. I've spent years digging and digging on you, and I still don't know
what you're thinking, what you're feeling. I swear to God I'm not lying
when I tell you that I don't know."
He turned his back with an effort and stared a death-wish at the pasta.
"If I tell you now you'll wonder if it was another lie."
"That can't be your excuse for the rest of your life."
"Was there ever a time when you wouldn't have thought it was a lie?"
They were fucking over, and this was fucking pointless.
Duo's voice was quiet, almost gone. "There was never a time when I thought
you could mean it."
"So what's the point of hammering this into the ground?"
"Good question, I guess." He heard Duo's shaky exhale. "You know what
makes me feel like total shit? That I thought something good was finally
happening. That we were starting to -- that everything was crap except
this, and this was finally going right, going the way it should have gone
He clenched his hands into fists on the smooth top of the bureau, halfway
to beating it in and thinking he'd probably enjoy it. "I guess I don't
get how that's changed, except for I'm a cop and not a criminal."
"You all but stalk me and bitch and moan in your little book about how
dangerous my job is? I can't tell you how guilty I felt every time
I came home and you had that face on, like I'd done this on purpose,
like I didn't value what we had here because I'd risk it like that. Giving
me shit about the establishment and my martyr complex and giving what
I don't owe, and the whole fucking time you're lying to me."
"The only thing I ever lied to you about was who cut my fucking paycheque.
Well, I guess I'm not the only one clinging to double standards, am I?"
He wasn't drunk enough for this. Maybe there was no way to be drunk enough.
He was tired. He was just as damn tired as Duo was, and he was going through
all of it too, he'd stood there with Duo from almost the start and shouldered
all of it voluntarily and Duo didn't want to accept that it meant what
it did when there was always more to be squeezed out.
The next sound he heard was Duo getting the suitcase from under the bed.
"I'm going home," he said. "I need to go back to my apartment, I need
Trowa picked up the pasta bowl and threw it through the window. The crash
of breaking glass was horrendous, brilliant like a lightning strike, and
then it was silent.
"Okay," Trowa said.
Duo's eyes were as wide as they'd ever been, still in his shock as if
he'd been frozen.
The drawer protested as he tried to open it. He found the jumper hiding
in the back, buried under things he wore more often, all organised to
Duo's particular symptoms. Duo flinched, just slightly, when Trowa approached
him with it, but let Trowa stuff his bare arms into the sleeves, pull
the warm cashmere over his head. His waist was chilled when Trowa brushed
it with his knuckles, quivered on an inhale when he flattened his palms
to Duo's ribs under the fabric. "It's cold in here," he explained briefly.
Duo's hands shook as he pushed his hair out of his face. Then he did it
again, and his hands stayed there, shaking. Trowa bent to peer into his
eyes, and said, "If you run again, you won't come back."
"You make me have to go!" Duo cried.
"I guess I deserve it then."
He wasn't entirely expecting Duo to wail off on him. Duo's fists slammed
into his chest, and he stumbled back, just barely keeping hold of the
smaller man. "You didn't have to lie to me," Duo snarled at him, pounding
him frenetically. "You didn't have to lie to me!"
"Same as you didn't have to hide whoever you're protecting from me." He
caught Duo's wrists in one hand and pulled him in tightly with the other.
Duo was cold all over, shivering in the freezing air from the broken window.
He pressed his lips to Duo's hair. "And before you argue that neither
of us follows orders all of the time, look; it had to be this way. And
I'm sorry. I always knew that if you ever found out it would kill us.
I guess it was stupid of me to think this wasn't inevitable."
Duo took a last limp punch, practically pinned to Trowa's chest, and surrendered.
Trowa wrapped both arms around him, and held him close.
"Tell me what to do," he whispered.
Heero's parking lot was full but for one spot, and Wufei aimed his car
at it before realising it was Heero's anyway, reserved the building supervisor.
He idled for a moment, then changed his mind and shut off the engine.
"Come inside," Heero said.
The building had that empty feel that complexes got, bedded down for the
night and lit only by lonely yellowish lamps hidden behind pruned hedges
half-dead from the season. They passed under shadow before entering the
lobby, and Heero let him in first while unlocking his door. Wufei started
to shrug free from his coat, and jumped when Heero moved behind him to
help. He couldn't quite summon up a comment about it, and settled for
removing his shoes while Heero hung their jackets beside the door.
"You should have some tea," Wufei decided. "You'll sleep better. No caffeine
--" Heero was still standing there, lost in his own home, a little tipsy
and a lot uncertain. Wufei reached for equilibrium, and found it distressingly
hard to reach.
"Tea," Heero repeated eventually.
"I'm going to go home." He side-stepped Heero, and took down his coat,
slipping into it quickly and foregoing the buttons for the short walk
to the car. "You'll be -- this is the worst time in the world to take
a risk with you."
Their mouths touched hesitantly. Heero was stiff with surprise, and Wufei
was stiff with something like fear, or bitter anyway. He pulled back before
Heero could either -- catch fire or shove him off, and stuttered through
"I'll pick you up at eight for work," before dodging to the door. He waited
long enough for Heero to nod, and then he left, hurrying to his vehicle
as fast as he could do without looking like he was running.
[part 6] [part 8] [back
to TB and Marsh's fiction]