Author: The Manwell
Notes:
Chapter titles and subheadings are from the album,Infinity on High,by Fall Out Boy.
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys, the Gundams, the copyrights, or the patents. But the snappy one-liners are mine, all mine.

Two out of Three
Chapter 5: Setting in a Honeymoon

If I woke up next to you...

Wedding days are not romantic. They are not fun or exciting. They are, in fact, Hell on wheels. That was what Sunday taught me, anyway.

I won't bore you with a detailed account of my rushing off to mass – yes, dammit, I'd overslept again – and missing breakfast. Stomach growling, I warmed the pew all on my lonesome as Trowa was currently getting vetted by security and moving his crap over to our new place. I gulped down lunch – beef stew, I think – and boogied my ass upstairs to endure the same security procedure that Trowa had suffered through in the a.m. And yes, it sucked. So, right, we'll skip over the whole watching-while-hamhanded-morons-pawed-through-my-possessions thing and head right into—

"Duo!"

I scowled. "Quatre.” I was so not in the mood for whatever it was he wanted, even if it was just to wish me luck. At that point, I was looking for someone I could both strangle and get away with strangling.

Funny how that seemed to be such a tall order around here.

I didn't demand to know why he was here, all right? But I did stare at him until he came clean. It might not be the most effective interrogation strategy ever, but it worked on Quatre. He grinned brightly at me from the other side of my threshold and held up a garment bag. "Forgetting something?"

Dammit. Now he was both perky and annoyingly self-righteous.

"Tell me you're here because Trowa already kicked you out of his place," I muttered, stepping back and letting him into my dinky apartment, likely for the last time.

"You already moved all your things, I see," he commented as he came in. The deft change of topic was telling. Trowa had probably bodily tossed his nauseatingly happy ass into the hall earlier.

"Hand over the monkey suit and be gone, Winner," I ordered him. I was allowed to be grumpy about this; I'd paid for the damn thing, after all. Quatre was just the messenger and everyone knows what happens to them more often than not.

Quatre's smile faded a bit at my rude dismissal but he didn't flinch or tuck tail and run. He actually had the audacity to glance meaningfully at my frazzled-looking braid. "Oh, but don't you want help with—?"

I held up a hand to halt the offer I just knew was coming. "If you ask to help me with my hair like I'm some kind of damn girl, I will punch you so hard they'll never find all your teeth."

Quatre blinked, swallowed a smile, and cleared his throat. "I'll help you with your necktie. If that's all right?"

It wasn't, but hell, I knew when I was defeated and those damn neckties would be the freakin' death of me – one way or another – I was certain. And, in all honestly, it wasn't the help I was objecting to; I just didn't want anyone to see me this flamin' panicked. I was getting married in two hours.

Two. Hours.

I felt like throwing up.

"Duo, you need to calm down," Quatre coached, rubbing his own chest with the palm of his hand. I guess being empathic was a bitch. Not that I'd know.

"Yeah. Tell me about it," I agreed tersely. I was perversely pleased that I tensed up even more in spite of myself. Contrary sonuvabitch? Me? Why, whatever gave you that idea?

"Would a shower help?" Quatre tentatively suggested.

"No. A boxing match might, though.” Which is why he hadn't tried to hug me or pat my shoulder yet, I bet. He could probably sense that I was looking for an excuse to wail on someone.

Quatre looked me in the eye and offered, "I'll go get Heero."

I barked out a laugh. "You will not. He's torqued enough as it is."

Quatre conceded the point, aborting his move toward the door. "Wufei?" he suggested halfheartedly.

I growled. I did not want to see Wufei right now, either. It was bad enough his "advice" from Thursday evening was back for an encore and ringing in my ears.

"Fine," Quatre allowed and I watched as he dragged my armchair over to the desk. He then pointed me toward the plastic desk chair and ordered. "Arm wrestling. Now."

I couldn't help it; I cackled. "Best out of seventeen?" I finagled.

Quatre bargained back, "Two out of three."

"Six out of eleven."

"Four out of seven."

"Five out of nine."

"Deal."

Yes, we freakin' arm wrestled and no, it wasn't very mature. Now ask me if I give a damn. The important thing was that it actually helped. Biceps throbbing from the strain, brow dewed with sweat, and now only a little over an hour left to go until the big "I do", I was finally able to focus.

"Thanks, Quatre," I sighed, leaning back in my chair and giving my right arm a tentative swing to stretch out the abused muscles. "I needed that."

"What are friends for?" he replied with a brave smile as he tried not to be too obvious about shaking out his hand. I guess I had gripped him pretty hard...

"Now," he continued in that boss-man tone of his, "get in the bathroom and take a quick shower. Here's a towel.” He produced one from a pocket of the garment bag along with a men's toiletry kit and then handed the lot over to me. "Let me know when you're ready for me to help you with your tie."

So that's how it went. I showered. I shaved. I re-braided my hair. I dressed: clean boxers, black socks, white undershirt, white dress shirt, black wool slacks, and black dress shoes.

When I exited the bathroom, Quatre shoved himself out of the armchair and advanced. I held out the red cravat-thing I'd picked out the day before and kept still while he set about assembling it around my neck. Instead of informing Quatre that I was sure he'd been a hangman in one of his previous lives, I muttered, "The shoes have zero traction."

"That's so you can't run off in the middle of the ceremony," he replied, biting back a smile.

I didn't get my boxers in a knot over his renewed, perky mood. I just sighed and let him tie my noose.

"I've never seen Trowa so happy," he volunteered, startling me. I glanced at him, but he didn't meet my gaze. Nor did he elaborate. I watched as he applied a fancy-looking diamond pin to the center of the cravat. "There. Now it won't get tangled up."

"Even if I try to make a run for it?" I checked.

"Even then. Not even when the four of us tackle you and haul you back to the altar."

"Thanks," I drawled sarcastically. "So, no pressure, right?"

Quatre finally met my gaze and placed a hand on my shoulder. "Everything will be fine, Duo. I know it."

They were simple – and often empty – words, but hearing them said in Quatre's voice, in that tone which inspires greatness in any and all who hear it, I couldn't help but feel a strange calm come over me. Yes, everything would be perfect. This was just one more mission objective and I was going to meet it. Nothing scarier than that.

I let out a deep breath and nodded. Then I put on my jacket, let Quatre fuss a bit more, and it was time to go. I don't remember much of the journey downstairs to the chapel. Maybe Quatre talked to me about getting a pet platypus and naming it Gilbert. I couldn't have told you what the hell we did between the door of my now-former apartment and the threshold downstairs, but when we arrived, I just stopped and stared.

Trowa was already inside, standing near the first row of pews. His head was bent toward Wufei, who was speaking quietly to him. Heero was brooding in his navy suit, but to those who didn't know him well, I knew he'd simply appear mildly irritated. Father Daniels probably assumed it was because I was late.

But what captured my attention and held it was Trowa. He was... damn. He was damn fine in that black suit with his peridot-green cravat. I noticed his also had a pin through the center of it, just like mine. A matched set, it appeared, and I wondered if they were supposed to be gifts from Quatre or if he'd just so happened to have two of the same tie pins on hand and was loaning them to us.

Now was not the time to ask, of course. And, as Trowa glanced up and I saw frank appreciation glitter in his visible green eye, tie pins – gifted, borrowed, or stolen – were the furthest thing from my mind.

I suppressed a shiver as I just stared at him, mouth dry and palms sweaty. I was about to marry this man. Oh God. I so wasn't ready for this but...

Disturbingly, I kinda wanted to be.

My head was reeling, spinning, falling ass over tea kettle, but my feet worked fine and they carried me up the aisle to where Trowa and Father Daniels were waiting. Quatre gestured Wufei and Heero into nearby seats. The priest cleared his throat. Trowa offered me his hand and, with a shaky and slightly apologetic smile, I took it. Of course his grip was warm, dry, and steady. Nothing like mine. I watched his expression twitch as a flicker of worry interrupted his soft smile. His thumb smoothed over the back of my hand and his visible eyebrow hitched upward in question.

No, Trowa didn't stop the proceedings to ask me if I was all right. He did that in perfect silence.

I gripped his hand tighter in return and took a deep breath. As I did so, I imagined his laugh; I pictured his smile; I remembered his one-liners and patience. Only then could I feel a genuine smile stretch my lips.

Trowa relaxed and I tuned in to Father Daniels just as he was getting to the participative part of the ceremony.

"Trowa Barton," Father Daniels began, turning toward Trowa, and I realized that – somewhere along the line – Trowa had legally changed his name to his wartime moniker. For some reason, it hadn't occurred to me that he'd chosen to keep it, but I was glad he had. I couldn't imagine him as anyone else but, well, Trowa.

"Do you take Duo Maxwell for your lawfully wedded husband?"

Trowa smiled at me, his expression warm and – damn Quatre for being right – easily the happiest I'd ever seen him. "I do."

"And do you, Duo Maxwell, take Trowa Barton for your lawfully wedded husband?"

"I do.” Despite the smile on my face, my voice sounded like a broken bicycle being dragged upside-down and backwards over gravel. I prayed no one else noticed.

"Then, by the power vested in me by the Civil Office of the United Earth Sphere, I now pronounce you both wed."

And that was it. Five minutes and we were done. Nothing fancy, nothing romantic, not even an exchange of rings. My first thought was that Quatre still had time to grab some spinach quiche while it was hot. My second thought was to wonder why we'd spent hours on Saturday shopping for clothes we'd only worn to an event that had taken a grand total of ten minutes. My third thought—

My third thought was discarded like a sandwich wrapper tossed out the window of a passing car as Trowa closed the distance between us and kissed me.

I think it was my nerves that made me, um, embellish things. I grabbed his jacket lapels and I kissed him back, long, hard, and deep. I had no idea what I was seeking or running from, but I was somehow sure that he had the answer. Trowa let me kiss him like a man starving. He gave that moment to me so I could lose myself. And then, gently, he coaxed us away from the edge I was toeing.

We parted gently and I knew I should have felt embarrassed by the display but, honestly, I was just thankful that I kinda-sorta-almost felt like me again. My manic energy was back under control and I could turn to our former comrades-in-arms and not freak out.

"So, guys. Whaddaya say we go get us some quiche?"

Trowa tugged me closer and, turning his face toward me, actually chuckled softly against my hair. Quatre laughed. Wufei snorted with amusement. Heero just rolled his eyes mockingly and sighed, struggling to suppress a smile. I was heartened by that; even if he thought we were getting married for the wrong reasons, at least he seemed ready to let it the hell go now that it was all over and done with.

Father Daniels had Trowa and I sign the marriage license. Quatre and Wufei stepped forward to witness it for us. Out of courtesy, I asked the good father if he'd like to join us for dinner, but he graciously declined.

The five of us, still in our suits, settled down at a table in the cafeteria with our trays of quiche, salad, coffee, and – in deference to the occasion – servings of raspberry cobbler.

We drew a lot of attention from the other WEI employees. Almost no one came to dinner dressed in suits and ties and, certainly, the fancy duds Trowa and I were sporting were a bit above and beyond the call of duty. If there'd been a curiosity meter in the room, it would have blown its top. When Trowa (cup of coffee in one hand) settled back in his chair and laid his other arm along the back of mine, I figured that, if the busybodies craning their necks to get a good look at us weren't clued in by that, then they'd never figure it out.

"It's too bad we have work tomorrow morning," Quatre bemoaned with a sympathetic grin.

I wasn't entirely sure how to take that comment. Was he sad on our behalf because it implied a certain irreverence to our wedding or because we couldn't boink like bunnies all weekend? If the latter was the case, then he was seriously overestimating the endurance of a pair of 20-year-old guys. I was pretty sure Trowa and I wouldn't last long once we got started.

And then I told myself to shut the hell up and stop thinking about it before I was stupid enough to actually consider investigating the concept.

"Yeah, well, the world keeps on turning," I observed and noticed Wufei's look of relief. Yeah, there were at least two of us here at this table who didn't want to think about the wedding night. Heh.

We talked about normal stuff although there wasn't much in the way of personal news to discuss. Trowa and Heero had watched the evening news today and filled the rest of us in on it. Apparently, there was some brewing antipathy amongst the members of the War Tribunal. That warranted watching as they could decide to revoke our community service at any time and toss our asses in prison. But, there was nothing to be done about it at this exact moment and speculation was still pretty thin.

"How's the new apartment?" Quatre asked while I debated mentioning the fact that Relena had been giving an interview on TV the other day about colony-Earth trade negotiations. It was noteworthy for no other reason than she'd apparently gone to the same prep school as the news anchor – some blonde guy who clearly thought his shit didn't stink. He'd asked her some tough questions about her new policies and continued public support of the five former Gundam pilots, but she hadn't backed down. Not that I'd expected her to. By the end of the war, she'd known how to get the job done, whatever it happened to be. So, it had been cool seeing her again and watching her dice up that dandy in a live broadcast. I'm sure the other guys would agree and I was pretty sure everyone had seen it. It was definitely a good candidate for a new topic since the silence had been getting kinda awkward.

But Quatre'd beaten me to it with his contribution. I seriously doubted Heero and Wufei wanted to know about our new digs. Still, Q-ball was trying, so I gave him an enthusiastic grin. "I think it'll fit the bill.” From what I'd seen when I'd poked my head in the bathroom, it had certainly looked promising. "No windows, though."

That was something I was pretty sure we all missed; having a window to the world beyond in our rooms.

Heero did his little standard grunt thing. Wufei tapped a finger against his empty teacup. "That's to be expected," he agreed.

And that was it for that topic. Damn. Were we friends or what? I guess what we all really needed was a bonding experience to lift us out of our hum-drum boredom. I wasn't too keen on providing one of those here at the dinner table in plain view of the public, but if they'd keep their space-suits on and give me a couple of days...

Trowa cleared his throat. "That new Boyd mystery arrived at the library last weekend, Wufei."

At this, Wufei actually looked interested. I hadn't realized that Trowa and Wufei shared an interest in the same author. "And?" he prompted, clearly asking how the book had been.

Trowa tilted his head to the side and diplomatically answered, "Not as good as his earlier works, but a definite improvement over the most recent."

"Excellent timing, in that case," Wufei grumped. "I was about to abandon his writings completely."

As I watched this byplay, I had a moment of inspiration. "Hey, that's what we need! A book club," I announced.

Surprisingly, that got everyone's attention. Quatre jumped on the bandwagon with me, asking Wufei to recommend something for all of us to read. Heero shocked the hell outta me by suggesting an archaic epic. His remark prompted me to mention one of my favorites, and, wouldn't you know it, we spent the next hour giving synopses of our personal, all-time-best reads.

For the first time in ages, all five of us actually had an animated discussion about something that didn't need to be infiltrated or blown up. I was kinda sad when the cafeteria lights dimmed and I noticed that we were the last stragglers left.

We carried our dishes over to the tray return and marched our way toward the elevator. Things got a little quiet on the ride up until Wufei dared: "Barton, are you going to make sure Maxwell gets to work on time?"

"No guarantees," Trowa replied, shrugging easily.

I laughed. "Hell, it's up to me to make sure Tro comes in late from now on!"

And then I wasn't so sure if that had been the best thing to say as it kinda implied a certain, uh, impediment to leaving the apartment which I sorta seemed to be volunteering to provide.

So, the evening ended awkwardly anyway. Well, hell.

"This is our stop," I declared, halting beside the door to our new apartment. I'd almost said "This is where we get off" but that probably would not have gone over all that well in the wake of my previous announcement. Just imagining the looks on their faces – Trowa's included – was enough to have me scrambling to smother a hysterical snicker.

Trowa and I endured another round of congratulations from Quatre, a nod and neutral "best wishes" from Wufei, and an eerie "Begin as you mean to go" from Heero. It was a relief to scan our palms, swipe our cards and get the hell away from everyone. It was then, stepping across the threshold, that a whole new realm of the unknown assaulted me.

It occurred to me that this was our freakin' wedding night.

Oh, fuck.

I heard myself giggle.

"Duo?" Trowa asked. He was still standing right next to me, probably waiting for me to, I dunno, do something.

I cleared my throat and struggled to cling to sanity. "Got a couple of things to put away," I replied, dodging the question I knew he'd been asking me. I just... I just could not deal with What Comes Next right now. I just couldn't.

I busied myself with putting away my clothes from earlier. I vaguely recalled dropping them off here on my way downstairs with Quatre. I could hear Trowa moving through the living room and entering the bedroom behind me. I kept my back to him as he opened his wardrobe and I heard the sounds of clothes being shed and hung up. Thinking that was a pretty good idea, I shucked off my own jacket and laid it over the nearest, straight-backed chair. I kicked off my shoes, tumbling them out of the way of foot traffic. I then reached for my fancy necktie and there I found myself defeated. How in the world could I set explosive charges in the dark, assemble and load all manner of firearms blindfolded and handcuffed, short out electronic locks and hotwire anything with wheels, and yet I couldn't cope with unknotting a damn silk tie?

Seriously. It was ridiculous.

"Dammit," I ground out and, turning, called reluctantly, "Trowa? Could you...?"

My voice just freakin' shriveled up and died. I gawped at Trowa, watching as he finished pulling off his white undershirt, revealing several very old burn scars on his back. The scars weren't repulsive or anything – hell, I had my fair share of ‘em – but their presence startled me and I wondered how I could've not noticed them before. That did not bode well for my powers of observation.

"Yes?" he prompted, turning toward me and, for the life of me, I could not remember my original question. I was suddenly fascinated by the progress of the white fabric down his arms. I felt my whole body flush at the sight of the naturally tanned skin being revealed.

I shouldn't be getting hot and bothered watching another guy – a guy who has been my friend for years – pull off his undershirt. I so should not. Besides which, it made absolutely no sense! I'd seen him nearly naked just the night before in the pool so, what the blazing hell? This was wrong. I was not going to let myself just stand here, adrenaline and lust going full throttle. But, damnitalltohell, we were married which meant that those sinewy muscles and that expanse of lightly tanned skin were all mine. Oh, my God. What had I done? Trowa and I were married and he was mine to touch as I liked, more or less.

A sane person – a straight guy – would not be this turned on by the idea... right?

I gulped.

"Duo?” His voice was soft, nearly a whisper, but it startled me. I blinked at him and I was pretty sure my eyes were about as wide as Gundam hydraulic washers. He stood there in only the trousers he'd worn downstairs and his socks. His white t-shirt was now bunched in his hands, his fingers curled so tightly into the material that I could barely see any of his knuckles.

"What are you thinking?" He seemed to force himself to ask the question levelly. It didn't even surprise me that he'd abandoned trying to find out what I'd wanted. It wasn't as if I could have told him, anyway.

I was thinking I could touch you now, I didn't blurt. I was thinking you're mine, I didn't whimper. No, my response was much more manly than either of those: "I really hate neckties."

Trowa gave me a small, sudden smile. "Shall I?” He gestured toward the fabric still pinned to my shirtfront and knotted under my chin.

"If you wouldn't mind.” I congratulated myself on that perfectly calm-sounding entreaty. Yes, by God, I could do this. I could be rational and in control!

He tossed the T-shirt ball onto the foot of the bed and – I knew it had to be unintentional but – he freakin' stalked toward me. I set my jaw and tilted my chin up instead of taking a reflexive step back.

And then Trowa's bare chest was right there, just a short, simple touch away. My dry-throated swallow was audible.

I held still while he deftly removed the tie pin and then leaned over to place it on the nearby bureau. I sucked a breath in when he straightened and my blood rioted in my veins as his scent hit me and... Oh God.

I just about jumped out of my skin when his fingers began picking apart the knot in the tie.

"Just a moment," he said, his tone soft and vaguely apologetic. As close as he was, he must have felt me startle. But I could see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, the banner across the finish line. Yes, just a moment and then he'd step away and there'd be a bit of much-needed distance between him and me. Just a moment more...

The tie slid around the back of my neck and then I was completely free of it. It pooled in Trowa's palm and draped over his hand like blood caught in freeze-frame. Yes, the necktie was dealt with. I was free. I could turn away now, only... I didn't.

I looked up and met his gaze. I felt the tiny hairs at the back of my neck stand on end, saw gooseflesh rise on his arms and watched his nipples stiffen, saw him draw in a breath and hold it. He didn't move, though. He just stood in front of me, breath held, and waited.

I suppose I could have turned away. I could have muttered a quick thanks and gone on about the business of locating a T-shirt and a pair of shorts for sleeping in. I could have...

I leaned toward him. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his hand clutch my necktie in a death grip, but still he didn't move. My gaze trained on his, I nervously wet my lips, I took a deep breath, I felt my mouth form his name.

Dear God, what in the hell was I doing?

And then it didn't matter. He tossed the necktie onto the bureau and his hands – surprisingly warm and steady – framed my face. He hesitated briefly, and I knew this was my final warning, my last chance to stop what was coming. I knew that I should. I should stop this. It wasn't real and I was straight. Wasn't I?

Trowa's lashes lowered until his eyes were glittering, green slits. He tilted his head to the side, angling his face and aligning our lips... and then he kissed me. It started slow but I was instantly bursting with heat and what felt like nuclear fission exploding in my veins. I closed my eyes as he coaxed my lips open and it only made the sting, the buzz, the whirlwind, the sandstorm within me that much more unbearable.

He was burning me alive.

But there was more. His tongue slid inside, surged to and fro, and I heard myself moan. I felt his bare skin beneath my hands as I grasped his shoulders. One of his hands delved into my hair to hold me steady while the other arm curled around my waist. Oh God...

Trowa Barton rocked... my... world. I just held on for the ride.

He stepped forward once, twice. I shuffled backward until my back connected with the closed wardrobe door. His mouth was fused to mine, his tongue stroking over my palate again and again. My eyes had long since rolled up into my skull. I felt his hand leave the nape of my neck and start popping the buttons free on my crisp, white shirt and I just didn't care.

I was a drowning man in a sea of Trowa.

His mouth released mine and I slumped there, wheezing uselessly. I felt his soft hair brush my jaw an instant before his lips found my neck. I clenched my jaw and clutched him tighter in helpless reaction. He nibbled and brushed, sucked and nuzzled as, bit by bit, my shirt gaped open. The feel of the shirt tails being pulled out of my pants shocked a gasp from me and then both of Trowa's hot-as-holy-hell hands were on my waist, searing me through the thin cotton of my undershirt.

"Mmm, Duo," he purred in my ear and I melted. I just freakin' melted against him. He caught me with a thigh between mine and I heard a very unmanly whimper as my groin made contact with firm, wool-covered muscle. And still, he wasn't done kissing me, rubbing his chest against mine, rocking his hips.

I dragged my hands down his chest, catching his nipples beneath my fingers and shocking a lung-bursting gasp from him, but I was desperate for more contact, more heat, more him and I wrapped my arms around his waist, clutching the waistband of his pants at the base of his spine and trying to wiggle out of my undershirt at the same time.

"Ahh," he agreed softly, breathily against my ear, and then I felt the too close, too constraining, too itchy cotton being pulled out of my trousers and peeled up my torso. I didn't want to abandon my grip on him, but there was no denying the logistics of the situation. As Trowa tugged upward insistently, I lifted my arms and there was a moment of rushing white cloth and then I was bare to the waist and my mouth was pressing against his neck, his shoulder, his collarbone and I was mindlessly panting. I was throbbing. I was... I was determined to get these damn trousers the hell off.

Trowa groaned as I fumbled with the fastenings on my own pants. "Not here," he advised in a strained tone, steering me away from the wardrobe and toward a more accommodating surface. As I sat down on the bed, the button and zipper on my trousers finally ceded to my attack and I felt the fabric sag to my knees and then fall into a puddle around my ankles.

I barely noticed my own freedom what with Trowa's hands parting the fly of his trousers and shoving them down his hips. He wasn't wearing much underneath. Just a pair of very snug boxer shorts that, given his arousal, left very little to the imagination.

A normal guy – a straight guy – would have been shocked out of his passion-induced stupor by the sight. I, on the other hand, was desperately trying not to come in my baggy boxers.

I gasped and reached for Trowa as he leaned down toward me and crawled onto the bed. Our lips fused as he straddled my hips and nudged me down. I squirmed against him, seeking friction and touch and anything!

Wait... anything?

I was jerked back to my senses when I felt a tug at the waistband of my underpants. My hands, currently mapping the burn scars on Trowa's back, paused and then reached for his arms.

"Wait. Wait, wait, wait," I panted. "Trowa—"

He looked up and, had I had the breath for it, I would have gasped at the total desire in his eyes. I wasn't even sure if Trowa was looking back at me. He was 100% want. That thought elicited a very interesting and interested reaction from a region I'd become increasingly aware of in recent days, but I forced myself to ask, "What're we doin' here, babe?"

I needed a game plan. I needed veto power. I was in no way ready to investigate some of the things I'd overheard being discussed (and on two unfortunately memorable occasions actually walked in on) during my misspent youth while raiding the streets of L2 with my gang.

Crouching above me, Trowa paused. He blinked and some of the wild need in his expression retreated behind a thin veneer of control. "We... we're...” His mouth snapped shut and he closed his eyes tightly. "Nothing," he replied evenly. "We're doing nothing."

I grabbed for his arms before he could roll himself off of me. "Hey, hold up," I objected. "If you want, I... This is fine I just... I need to know..."

He froze above me and I saw hope lighten his expression and rekindled desire darken his eyes. "Yes?"

"What do you expect?" I forced out, wanting to either get things back on track or to make a mad dash for another zip code before total flaming embarrassment destroyed me.

Tentatively, he opened his mouth. "Nothing..." he began again and, despite having said the exact same word to me not five seconds ago, it sounded totally different. His tone was as hesitant as his body language, holding himself braced above me like he was. I watched his expression twitch with a slight frown as he searched for words. "... invasive," he reluctantly concluded with a flash of self-directed frustration. "Nothing invasive."

He might not have been thrilled with the choice of words – they did smack of mission-speak, after all – but I was now crystal clear on where we were headed with this and, as far as I was concerned—

"OK," I agreed. "I'm OK with that.” I ran my hands up his arms to his shoulders and I didn't even make it all the way to the center of his back before he was lowering himself over me again, groaning softly against my mouth, brushing, tasting, and then settling in for a long, deep exploration.

Oh, Christ. I really, really wanted to know where he'd learned how to kiss. It was a toss-up as to whether I'd shake the hand of whoever-it-was or skin the bastard alive. I was leaning towards the latter; Trowa was mine. The wave of possessiveness rolled through me unimpeded. Trowa was married to me and I would kill anyone who dared to touch him.

Mine!

There was a sudden, frantic moment of wiggling and dangerously swinging knees as our shorts were kicked away and then it was all hot, slick-with-sweat skin and hypnotically rocking hips. The press of his belly and mine against my trapped length became a kind of perfect torture. I could feel him, equally hard, against the cradle between my hip bones and we brushed each other in passing with each thrust, wiggle, and roll. It was like asteroids hurtling through space before colliding.

And twice as explosive.

I grasped at his shoulders, his back, his hips as he straddled my thighs and thrust-thrust-thrust and I was mindless with need, with the unforgettable image of his body rocking so sensually against mine. God damn but I'd never seen Trowa like this. His self-control was legendary and to see-feel-hear him let loose like this was igniting hydrogen in my blood.

"Duo... Nuh, Duo...” He was nearly silent, but it was that nearly which sent me into the stratosphere.

"S-s-sorry. Can't wait," I warned him, feeling the pressure build and build and build...! "Trowa!" I gasped, spanning his back with my arms and clamping down like we were out-ship in zero G and he was my only tether to the airlock. My back arched, my mouth fell open, and then everything just went—

Kablooie.

I was dimly aware of Trowa's suddenly shallow and irregular thrusts and then a second jet of warmth surged over my skin, doubling the slippery, sticky mess between our bellies.

I melted back onto the mattress. I was done. Spent. Sayonara, see y'all next year.

Oh. My. Fuckin'. God.

Trowa followed my example, draping himself over me, and commenced with alternately licking and nibbling at my earlobe. "Mmm," he offered. From his tone, I was pretty sure his opinion was favorable.

I forced my hands to stir and I petted his bare hips in aimless circles. "Yeah," I replied, still trying to count the stars zooming around my head. Really, there wasn't much else to be said. It defied words. Or maybe it had simply melted my brain and the words were there but just had no footing in the mushy landscape of my liquefied mind.

I couldn't tell you how long I just lay there. Breathing had never been such a difficult and complicated activity before. Eventually, Trowa roused himself and, with an admirable stretch, snagged a box of tissues from the nearby bureau and plopped them down within reach on the bed. It was clean up time.

He lent a hand and, between the two of us (oh, a pun!), the mess was dealt with satisfactorily. The wads of used tissues were tossed over the side of the bed to be discarded later and, with a heave from arms that probably felt like overcooked pasta, Trowa slid gingerly off of me and wrestled his way beneath the covers.

As I joined him, I glanced over his shoulder at the alarm clock fixture set into the headboard and goggled. Only twenty minutes had passed since we'd walked through the door. Twenty minutes, but it felt like my life had been changed forever. Beside me, Trowa shifted, rolling onto his side facing me, and mumbled, "Towels."

"Yeah," I agreed absently, noting that we'd used up damn near half the box of tissues mopping up. Next time, towels were a must. If there was a next time. But the fluttering deep in my belly warned me that there probably would be.

Well. I'd think about that later.

My skin still felt annoyingly sticky from sweat and, erm, other stuff, but to hell with it. I'd grab a quick shower in the morning. Utterly exhausted, I snuggled down onto the mattress beside Trowa's warmth, let out a long sigh, and fell head-first into sleep.

I was knocked out of it ass-first, however. Well, OK, not really. I'm over-dramatizing again. Hamming it up, as Trowa would say. Still, you try going from a deep sleep to wide awake in the middle of the damn night and see how it feels.

In my opinion, it felt like getting your fool ass knocked the hell outta bed.

I didn't move or twitch. I just lay there and listened to the sound of soft, panting breaths beside me. My companion – who I sensed was sitting up – stirred, gulped down a bit more air, held his breath deliberately until the count of ten and then slowly exhaled. By that time, I'd figured out what was up. I was in bed with Trowa; it was our first night in our new apartment; we'd crashed and burned after that spine-tingling round of mind-numbing sex; and now Trowa had likely just fought his way free of a nightmare.

"Hey," I whispered, trying not to take it too personally that he'd had a bad dream during his first night as my husband. "What's up?"

"Nothing," he rasped, his tone tinged with desperation, and then I felt the bed dip and rebound as he slid out of it. I waited until he'd padded into the bathroom and then, with a sigh, I rolled over and turned on the lamp. Squinting, I glared at the alarm clock – 3:47, just freakin' peachy – and then hunted up a T-shirt and some shorts.

I tossed our now-crunchy tissues into the nearest waste basket and picked up our clothes off the floor. With nothing else to do, I sat the hell back down on the bed and just waited.

I heard water running and the sounds of splashing through the closed door and felt a little chagrinned. How could I sit here and be all stupid and insecure when Trowa'd clearly just had the mother of all nightmares?

I was an ass.

When Trowa came back out, he was wearing a pair of flannel pajama pants and – as always – the necklace I'd given him. That reassured me.

Seeing me awake and sitting up in bed, he seemed reluctant to join me. I patted the tangle of covers and gave him a winning smile. He caved.

"You wanna talk about it?" I asked as he gingerly sat down on his side of the bed.

"No."

"OK.” God knows I never wanted to talk about my nighttime doozies. "You want some warm milk or a stiff drink?"

He paused and then a thread of humor and a dash of challenge entered his voice when he asked, "Just where would you get either one of those?"

"Well, I can't, obviously. But I'd do my best to describe them to you."

Trowa turned toward me and arched a brow. "You're offering to narrate me downing a shot of whiskey?"

"I'm told my powers of description are epic."

That won me a soft chuckle. Trowa lay back down and I reached over to shut off the lamp before joining him. I didn't ask him if he'd dreamed of the past or the dead, as I often did. I didn't remind him that it'd only been a dream. I didn't lie to him and tell him that nightmares have no power over you, that they can't hurt you. They did and they could and those were just cold, hard facts.

Instead, I reached for his hand and suppressed a wince when his fingers clutched mine almost too tightly in the dark. I didn't let go, though, and neither did he.

I dozed. I drifted. Next to me, I sensed Trowa doing the same. Getting back to sleep was more work than it had been earlier. For obvious reasons. Eventually, I did nod off. I know this only because when I opened my eyes later, Trowa was bodily wrapped around me and I couldn't recall when that had happened. I was lying on my side with Trowa spooned behind me, his arm clamped over my waist and the heavy weight of one of his long legs pinning mine.

Hm. It looked like he and I might have more in common than a shitty childhood and the tendency to stretch out our meals to the max. I was starting to wonder if his nightmares might be much the same as mine, filled with the death of innocents and allies, laced with regret and fury.

Still, to my knowledge, I'd never glomped anyone in my sleep yet here I was, very clearly being used as a body pillow. I was pretty sure it'd take a backhoe to pry him off me.

I closed my eyes. I tried to sleep, I really did, but I was sweating from our combined body heat and I felt vaguely trapped, restrained as I was. And then there was the wakeup call nudging me in the hip.

Opening my eyes, I let out a sigh and wondered what time it was. Before I could crane my neck to get a look at the clock, I felt Trowa sigh in his sleep and snuggle even closer to me. And, really, how could I justify disturbing the guy when he was finally catching some much-needed Z's? So I just gave it the hell up and closed my eyes again. I'd get up whenever I got around to it. As usual.

It was not the usual morning, however. I woke up again – and grumped incoherently about it – when Trowa got up to get ready for work. He let me sleep, though, all nice and comfy when he could have stolen the blankets and/or snapped a wet towel at me. He didn't do any of those things. Instead, he sat down on the edge of the bed next to me and waited for me to blink open my eyes, which I did with a sigh of resignation.

He was already in his Cleaning Guy gear so that meant one thing: "You headin' out?" I mumbled.

He nodded.

"OK, then. Rock out and clean on, man.” I snuggled back into my pillow.

"Don't I get a goodbye kiss?"

My eyes popped open. I rolled back over and gave him a suspicious look. "From this mouth? Pretty sure you'll need hazmat gear. I didn't get around to brushing last night."

He chuckled, leaned down, and pressed a chaste kiss to my lips. "That'll tide me over," he informed me, and then he was up and out the door.

I listened to the front door slide open and then, a moment later, whisper shut.

"Shit," I bitched to the universe. How the hell was I supposed to get back to sleep now? Between that so-not-enough-of-a-kiss kiss, Trowa's tacit promise to deliver more later, and the sight of his khaki-covered ass walking out the door, I was never gonna get a moment's rest.

It was with a certain amount of grim determination that I flipped back the covers and rolled out of bed. And it was with a certain foreboding of doom that I accepted the fact that Trowa in all His Sexiness was probably going to be the death of me. Hell, if anyone could turn a straight man gay, it'd be him...

...and I was a little afraid that it might already be too late for me.

------------

NOTES:

In this story, I'm assuming that Trowa and Duo (and Heero, while we're on the topic) never had the time or inclination to fool around and gain sexual experience prior to this. I mean, Quatre and Wufei had a fairly normal childhood, so maybe they'd kissed a few girls before they got involved with the war (and Wufei was married, but that was hardly a love match, but still...). Anyway, I just can't see the same kind of experiences for this version of Heero, Duo, and Trowa. Nor can I see them fooling around during the war and the aftermath (i.e., their eternal community service at WEI). Hence the lack of sophisticated sexual hijinks. Duo and Trowa are 20-year-old guys, so I'm assuming that, like most inexperienced guys their age, they're pretty quick off the mark. On the plus side, thanks to their youth, they have fantastic recovery time. Heh.

OK, so I know Duo's obtuseness on the Gay Issue is majorly annoying, but otherwise, how are you liking the story? (^__^) Feed an author; leave a comment!

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