Walking the Tightrope – Chapter 01

Author: Asuka Kureru (asukasama@ifrance.com)

Homepage: http://www.chez.com/oniryu/asuka/index.html

Series: Gundam Wing

Warnings: Yaoi, romance, sap, love triangle, threesome, heavy lime to nearly full lemon, dunno yet; the POV is shifting between the boys.

Couple (trio?) : 1+2+5, 1x2x5x2x1 and diverse combinations ^__^

Disclaimer: They're sharing, why can't we do the same? ;_;

In French, "a tightrope walker" is said "un équilibriste"… someone who is able to reach and keep their equilibrium long and steadily enough to walk and dance and even play, up on a string, narrow, fragile, many feet away from the ground. I just thought that it was a nice metaphor ^__^

By the way, this begins the morning after Equilibrium. Read it again or you'll be confused, folks.

http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=855259

+ -- change of point of view or short break

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ -- long break, scene change

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was the first time in his life that Wufei felt so good when waking up. The mattress could be much too soft by place and harder and strangely bumpy in others, yet he was still warm and comfortable, and had never felt more… cuddled, cradled, more surrounded than he was feeling just now. He never wanted to get up, never wanted to leave the cocoon.

It was a nice feeling, as if he was accepted, protected, loved… but his clan was dead and his wife had been dead even longer. Even if they hadn't been, he had never officially shared a bed with Meiran, they had been supposed to be too young, and his clan had never been big on physical displays of affection. He didn't have anyone anymore, no one to make him feel safe like this, safe and cherished. It was a nice feeling, but it wouldn't last. It never lasted.

Someone was looking at him. Instinct won, and he woke up, opening his eyes and readying himself to jump on the observer, faintly regretting the dream, but still, forgetting it already.

There was a pair of beautiful, intense, fiery, positively gleaming eyes, just looking into his own eyes. A totally striking melt of soft baby blue and purple-violet narrow specks and strings. A darker violet ring around the irises made the inside of the eyes stand out even more between it and the little black dots in the middle. He had always believed those eyes to be somewhat mauve, the color of a summer sky just before night begins to fall, but in fact, they weren't even that already unique color. You could see it, once you were near enough. They only seemed so because, on the pure sky blue bottom of the irises, were running intense purple lines and little spots, and at some distance they seemed to just melt. But once close, well, it was easy to see all the hues, the unique appearance…

The eyes kind of screwed up, as if they were smiling at him….

They were smiling at him. DUO was smiling at him.

Duo was sprawled on Wufei's belly, one arm on his chest, his disheveled braid tumbling down his shoulder to fall on the Chinese teen's throat and slide around his neck, following the junction between his neck and shoulders. And he was smiling at him, warmly, affectionately, intimately, wonderfully happy. The way Wufei had always imagined he would look at Heero when they were alone. Gods, this must be a dream. This MUST be. Duo was his best friend, Wufei would have slept on the floor anywhere they were to go on a mission if it meant risking sleeping in the same bed as him, embarrassing himself by reacting the way he secretly dreamed of and losing Duo's friendship… Duo was in love with Heero, and Heero…

…Was blinking sleepily at them from Duo's other side, buried under the cover that Duo had pushed back on him when he had crawled on Wufei.

Oh.

He didn't have time to wonder about the sort of dream this could be before Duo, without any warning, decided to perform an oral tonsillectomy on him.

Definitely not a dream. Too nice to be a dream. Too real to be a dream.

And he had certainly never dreamed about Heero being there in all the times he had imagined being with Duo. Not this way at least, usually in the official-boyfriend-kicking-the-shit-out-of-the-stealing-bastard-and-leaving-with-a-mocking-Duo-who-had-never-really-liked-him-anyway kind of dream. But simply looking at them as they were getting cuddly… no way, too messed up.

Duo released him and chuckled, grinning at Heero, who smirked slightly at them both, straightening up and putting his cheek on his fist to better look at the scene.

Before Wufei could understand what he was doing, Duo left him to jump on Heero with a war cry a Sioux wouldn't have despised, and crushed him in the mattress, plastering his lips against the Japanese boy's. Wufei blinked. Two seconds after, the braided tornado was crawling all over him again, to fall off the edge of the bed with a dull "thud". Before any of the Asian boys could worry, he had jumped on his feet and was running in the corridor, howling "BANZAIIII!!!" all over the place.

Heero and Wufei sweatdropped.

+

Heero glanced at Wufei and stifled his sigh. Damn, it was so awkward being in bed with him. They had never been close, too occupied by their little competition to really take the time to fraternize… even if he had taken great pleasure in messing with Wufei's mind, by acting like if he didn't even notice that Wufei's skills and his were even close and that Wufei was working hard to surpass him. They were rivals….

… and now they were in the same bed, glancing at each other over the dip in the mattress that marked the place the boy they both loved had occupied not two minutes ago.

The light of the early morning softened Wufei's features, made his nose and eyebrows less sharp, changed his black eyes from fiery depths swirling with unseen forces, to soft, tender darkness.

He didn't want to see Chang's soft side. It made what had happened the night before between them too alien and yet too real.

Heero let himself fall back on the mattress, one arm across his face, hoping Chang would think that he was only shielding his eyes from the light. He was trying to shield his mind from finally understanding the hugeness of what he had done.

Oh gods. It was too much of a responsibility.

The theory was good, that said that he could do anything as long as he kept Duo and Duo was happy, even share him with his rival, that as long as they tried to act maturely and be reasonable it would be ok, but how the hell would they make it work in real life? Heero took smug pleasure in making Wufei feel inferior and inadequate, which in theory was good because it made his teammate push himself harder, but was bad in terms of getting on with him. Wufei took great pleasure in giving a friendly ear to Duo when Duo needed to complain about him, not making any remarks out loud to Heero, but totally NOT hiding the fact that he knew as well as he himself how things were between him and his boyfriend.

It had been easy to share ideals with him while it had still been night, but the light of the day made them… real, somehow. Changed them from ideas to realities they now had to live with.

And he was steadily finding more and more annoying little details. Nothing precise yet, just… feelings. Somewhat uneasy feelings. Decidedly unpleasant. He hoped he hadn't completely destroyed their relationship, the three of them. If it didn't work… Wufei would find himself friendless. Heero would be all alone. And Duo doubly so, losing a lover and a best friend in the process.

He couldn't tolerate hurting Duo like that. He WOULD make it work. He would.

Follow your feelings… yeah right. What feeling to follow? He only felt like doing two things: to love Duo, and to hide from Wufei in shame. Not really compatible… ah, hell.

Grunting, he sat up, glancing at Wufei from behind his lashes. The Chinese boy had been looking at him, but he turned his eyes away as soon as he saw Heero move. Damn. The black-haired boy was feeling as awkward as he did, realized Heero. Did he have second thoughts too? Shit. How to relax the atmosphere between them?

"Do you think it's that intelligent to let Duo alone in the kitchen?" he asked in an idle voice, trying hard to sound casual.

He winced inwardly at the little note of tenseness that was too audible to let Wufei believe his tone. Great, he couldn't even make small talk with the guy.

"Probably not," answered Wufei, sitting at the edge of the bed, flashing a little smirk at him.

Heero wondered if he truly had heard the relief in Wufei's voice… Probably, given the situation.

Damn it all to Hell. He couldn't seem to do anything right, not even be relaxed in front of his Duo's Other. Why couldn't he have Duo's easy way of communicating? Why did he have to feel awkward and out of place each time he tried to chat with someone that was not his lover? Damn Doctor J!

Duo knew him, knew his shortcomings, his little quirks, his bizarre hang-ups. Duo never thought him strange, never thought anything of it, understood why it wasn't his fault and why it didn't matter, because he could read him and know what it was that he meant, that he felt, under the cold, nearly robotic behavior. And the other people, well, he didn't care what they thought of him, and if his behavior didn't please them they could go fuck themselves.

But Wufei… He was a teammate, so Heero had always cared what he thought of him on a professional level. But Duo cared about what Wufei thought on an emotional level, and he cared about Duo's feelings, so he cared about what Wufei felt too. And it meant being embarrassed like he never had been when he thought about all the little things which marked him as strange, outlandish, which always made him an outsider.

He supposed that even his way of approaching the problem had been strange… Wufei had even told him so. And Wufei, while not as weirdly socialized as he was, was still as extremely aloof and logical as it was possible while growing up as a member of a real family, even as dysfunctional as it could be. If even he thought that Heero pushed the logic too far…

No, it was a good solution. Wufei had accepted it, Duo had accepted it. It was just that most people were too entangled in silly notions of possessiveness toward the object of their love… which Heero found stupid. Wasn't love supposed to be selfless? It was what was written in the dictionaries…

It would work.

Heero was startled out of his daze by the sound of the Chinese boy pushing the door to get out. Fortunately, he had regained his composure by the time the other teen turned around to glance at him quizzically, visibly wondering why he didn't follow.

Heero jumped out of the bed and followed, his face as expressionless as always, totally hiding his internal turmoil. He would make it work. They just had to ignore the awkwardness, it would go away after a while. It would.

It had to.

+

Wufei glanced at his teammate's face and bit back a sigh. Heero had let the Iceman's facade fall back over him… A sure sign that he was thinking hard about something and that he didn't want to give away any clues as to what it was or how he felt about it.

Wufei was unnerved. There was an imaginary itch on his left shoulder, where the other boy's stare was probably fixated, and he had trouble keeping himself from jumping at each creaking from the old house's floor. It was hard not to run, to get to Duo the fastest he could, so the longhaired boy could erase the strangeness between them with just a smile and a joke.

It was hard to believe the memories he had from the night before, before Duo had come back. Of Heero leaning over him, smiling at him, so startling, so stunningly beautiful… of their caresses…

He felt the tip of his ears turn pink. What had they done? He couldn't believe his memories, he just couldn't. The passion in the normally ice-cold soldier, the delightful mix of strength and control eliciting such a fiery response from him… the playful side, the softer side, of the boy who had self destructed without a sound rather than bending to OZ's will…

Gods, he had made out with Duo's boyfriend. He was still alive too.

…. He WAS Duo's boyfriend, too… now that he thought of it.

"Hey!" exclaimed Heero when his shoulder bumped into Wufei's. The Chinese boy had faltered in his steps and nearly stopped for a second.

"Sorry, just thinking," he managed to say to Heero who was looking at him, seeming slightly curious.

Heero's eyes briefly shone with good humor, and Wufei glared at him, considering sticking his tongue out at the other teen.

"Whatever you are thinking, Yuy, don't even think about saying it," he mock-growled.

The other boy snorted, and considered him, as if he was gauging the raven-haired boy to see if he had something to fear if he didn't comply… and as if he was finding that possibility dubious… but finally he nodded, the corner of his lips only so slightly quirked upwards in the beginning of a smirk.

They stepped inside of the kitchen.

+

Duo was waiting for them, standing by the table. They stopped by reflex; he was looking at the two of them so strangely… glancing at Heero, then at Wufei, then back at Heero, and nibbling on his lips, looking pensive…

Finally the Chinese boy had enough and asked him: "What is it?"

Duo shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal and gave an awkward little grin.

"Oh, I just don't know which one of you to kiss good morning first, that's all…" he said with an impish smile.

Heero blinked, Wufei flushed. Kiss him good morning? It was so…

It was something that boyfriends and lovers did.

And like every time he had thought of that since he woke up, Wufei was thrown for a loop.

Heero considered his lover, pensive. Duo was primarily joking with them to dissipate the tenseness between the two Asian boys, true, but Heero could see the nervousness underneath… In his own way, he was asking for the rules. Was there to be any sort of hierarchy with the order in which they were kissed? Would Heero feel jealous if he kissed Wufei first? Would Wufei feel abandoned if it was the contrary?

The Japanese shrugged.

"Kiss Wufei. I've had my share, I can wait a little longer," he added, sitting at his place at the table and grabbing his cup of coffee.

Wufei felt silly. He had somewhat thought that as the… as Duo's senior boyfriend, well, he should have gone first. If there was something Wufei didn't want, it was to make him jealous. Heero shared remarkably easily, especially considering his background, void of any sort of love, but that didn't mean he couldn't feel lonely and abandoned. And when… IF he decided he had enough of this strange arrangement, there was no doubt in Wufei's mind that Duo would choose him, even if he loved Wufei too. They had been together way longer, when he had only been Duo's friend. It would be less trying to go back to the ancient relationship.

Then, Duo approached him, silent on his bare feet, and put a finger under his chin to make him look at him in the face. Wufei started, he had been totally lost in thoughts and hadn't seen him come any nearer.

And as for being near, they were near. Nose to nose, almost.

Duo grinned at him, then slid a hand under his ponytail and pressed his lips against his. Instead of taking full advantage of the warmth and suppleness of his lips, Wufei couldn't help but glance over the boy's shoulder to verify if Heero was looking. He wasn't, thank God. Wufei kissed back.

Duo let him go with a radiant smile and danced to Heero's chair, draping himself on the boy's shoulders.

"You've been patient, good boy," he joked while nuzzling the ear poking out of the boy's tousled bangs.

Heero bent his head and bit Duo's arm.

"Ouch! You beast!" protested the violet-eyed boy.

Heero caught his braid in his hand and used it to force him to come on his side and bend toward him, till he was at a good distance to kiss. And kiss him he did.

"Mmm… ravaged by early morning already, the day's gonna be good!" commented Duo, licking approvingly his lips.

"Sit down and eat," answered Heero, smacking his butt.

"Yes dear," Duo answered, overly meek.

"You'll have to be firm with him, Wufei, I don't want him to come to you when I refuse him something… If you give him an inch, he'll take your whole arm. Pets like that don't let pass the slightest opportunity to forget the rules."

Wufei blinked and stared at the Japanese boy, who, sitting calmly, was eating without a care, as if what he had said was totally normal.

"Sorry, master, I'll be a good pet, I swear," Duo said, head modestly lowered, but his eyes gleamed amusedly under his bangs when he glanced at Wufei. Well, if they joked like that between them, he should play along when he was invited to, shouldn't he?

"Don't worry, I'll be firm," Wufei answered in what he hoped was a very stern voice.

"Oh, rats, two overly dominating males for one little me…"

"You're being insolent, pet," Wufei shot back, lightly smacking his arm. He couldn't help but wonder if he was stepping over a line he didn't know was there, but Duo only looked overly sheepish. He was still playing along.

"I beg you pardon, O Great Master Wu."

Wufei smirked. He hadn't been able to help but wonder for a second if they truly had this sort of relationship in the bedroom, but… Duo couldn't look submissive if his life depended on it. Being someone's pet for real… naah. Not possible.

"How come he's Great Master and I'm only Master?" asked Yuy.

"Favoritism?"

"You're just licking his boots, hoping he doesn't get wary of your devilish ways before it's too late…"

"You know me soooo well, Master… Hey, gimme tha coffee, Wu."

"It's Great Master Wu to you," answered the boy, mock-glaring at him.

They all snickered.

"You dun wanna see me kneel and kiss your feet either?" snorted Duo, sticking out a little bit of tongue.

Damn, it was good, Chang felt it come back, the rhythm of their usual friendly banter, the barbed replies, the plays on words, exactly the same as it had been when they had been only friends. Wufei felt much more at ease suddenly.

The Chinese pilot caressed pensively his chin, as if he was considering. "I don't know, submissive is a good look on you…"

"Oh yeah?" challenged the braided boy, his eyes gleaming maliciously.

"Children, no battles at the kitchen table," asked Heero sternly.

"Yes mom."

"It's Master to you," Heero shot back without missing a beat.

Duo laughed.

"Ok, I give… I won't have the last word today, since you're ganging up on me like that."

"How could we have it if we didn't, knowing you?" asked Wufei dryly. Duo made a face and decided not to answer. They ate in a comfortable silence, giving each other amused smiles from time to time.

+

Once finished, Heero took care of the dishes while Duo put back the food. Wufei looked at them, they were acting so in tune that they almost never got into each other's way, feeling useless but not wanting to just up and leave like he would have done if it had been a normal day… a day before The Night, that is. Now he had a feeling his life wouldn't be what he had considered normal for quite some time. Well, anyway, he didn't want to leave them just like that without warning…

When they were finished, they looked at him then at each other.

"I've got repairs to make on Deathscythe, someone wants to go to the hangar with me?" asked Duo.

It was a half hour away in the woods in a straight line, and none of them would have attempted it because of the grounds, which made such a trek very difficult. The easy path went on long, annoying curves, but at least you didn't arrive with your clothes shredded and your knees and hands bloodied. And there was no way to go there using a bike or a car. Usually when they went there, they stayed most of the day, because making the trip took so much time. It made sense Duo wouldn't want to be alone all day up there.

"I have a meeting with a contact," said Wufei in a sorry tone.

"I need to wait for information right here," added Heero, apologetic. Sadly, he needed to use the house's internet connection, using his Gundam's made it too likely to be spotted, and if he had to sacrifice something to avoid getting caught, he preferred it to be an old house, easily repaired, and that nobody would miss that much in case of total obliteration by OZ forces.

The braided boy sighed.

"Well, see you tonight I guess…"

He grabbed Heero by the neck and gave him a little kiss on the cheek, then walked to Wufei and pecked his nose, winking at him. Then he grabbed the sandwich he had made for himself before they came into the kitchen, and a bottle of water, and disappeared to his room to pack the things he would need. Heero and Wufei glanced at each other, then shrugged and went to take care of their occupations.

"Later," Heero called as he left the room.

"Later," answered the other boy, sounding pensive in someway.

Heero wondered if he was having second thoughts too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Guys? I've got a question."

Heero and Wufei glanced at Duo who was standing between them in the little bedroom, facing the bed under the roof, fists on his hips.

"How the fuck did the three of us fit on THAT?"

Wufei blinked and considered the small bed.

"That's a good question, you know," he mused, nodding pensively.

Duo let out a disgusted snort.

"With lots of mortgage on our future back health," answered Heero derisively, making a face as he stretched some protesting muscles, a leftover from the night before.

Wufei snorted, Duo snickered.

"There's no way I'm sleeping in this bed with you guys again. It was nice, but one night dreaming I was a sardine in its little box is more than enough for me, folks."

Wufei stared at the floor, pensive, reflexively biting his lower lip.

"I could…"

He didn't even have the time to propose letting them sleep together in their bed while he returned to his own like he had intended to do. Duo had flung a bundle of covers and sheets at Heero, and was loading his arms with the pillows before he could find his words. The Chinese boy blinked over his armful.

"Duo?"

"Duo, what the hell are you doing?" asked Yuy calmly.

"You'll see!!"

He was dragging the mattress to the floor. It landed with a loud thud, on his feet, but didn't deter the tornado one second. The braided boy propped up one side of the mattress and began to drag it through the door. He had some trouble maneuvering the thing through the corridor, but finally succeeded in making it fit, and dragged it to the staircase with renewed energy. The two Asian boys followed in confusion, exchanging startled glances.

"Wu? Could you go to the living room and drag the little table with the phone to the other side of the room, please? And just put your pillows on the couch."

Bemused, Wufei obeyed. It was always funny to go along with Duo's ideas, anyway. Well, most of the time. When he wasn't the target of said ideas.

After having thrown his armful on the couch, he put the little table as far from the staircase as was possible. If he read Duo correctly, the mattress would go descending the stairs in a few minutes. Gods, but the thing was hideous, what with its twisted-over legs and the little crocheted tablemat. Would not have been a big loss if the mattress ended up crushing it, but still, the house wasn't theirs after all.

"OK!!" he called.

The mattress went rolling to its edge, then crashed to the floor once it was free of the walls of the staircase. Duo went bounding down the stairs after it, and dragged it with enthusiasm between the low couch and the fireplace. He passed Heero running, bounding up, and they heard his feet slap against the planks and a door opening with a bang. A minute later, he was back with Wufei's mattress in tow.

"Maxwell…"

"Pyjama party!! Ain't it a great idea? Go fetch your pillows, Wu-love, we've got to make this as comfortable as possible!"

The Chinese boy started. Wu-love? And Duo hadn't even seemed to realize he had called him by a pet name…

He had a pet name. He didn't know if he should feel annoyed or all fuzzy inside; feeling fuzzy didn't seem very becoming for a serious young man like he was… But hell, it was what he was feeling anyway, so there.

Wu-love.

He bit the inside of his cheek and stalked up the stairs.

+

"I could learn to really love this," sighed Duo contentedly.

He stretched and let himself fall flat on his back, arms crossed behind his head. The low, fluffy couch provided a very comfortable headrest, and the two mattresses crammed between it and the chimney were so covered in comforters and pillows that it looked more like a nest than any kind of human bedding. Near to their feet, the fire danced merrily in the depths of the chimney, not close enough to burn, just close enough to warm them nicely. Sitting cross-legged at his right, Wufei was staring at its orange and red depths, looking hypnotized. The flames made his skin glow in warm tones, and his dark eyes seemed softer. There were bangs escaping from his ponytail, framing his face, erasing the usual harshness of his features. His knee was brushing against Duo's hip, and the braided boy wanted to purr. It was so perfect. Even more perfect when he looked left, because on the left, there was Heero, leaning against the couch, his eyes half-closed, dozing off, his hands crossed on his belly, near enough that he could feel his warmth against his side. Rrowr.

Well, it would be better if he didn't know perfectly well that Wufei didn't lean back and enjoy the comfort because he was too tense for that. Which Duo couldn't see because the man had control of his body language, but could feel anyway. He didn't know yet what to do to make them relax in each other's presence, but he thought about it, and he thought hard.

Heero was voluntarily acting laid-back to show that he accepted Wufei being so close in an intimate situation, but the Chinese pilot wasn't sure yet that it was true. He was acting skittish, in a way, always checking with Heero's reactions to his acts to see if he hadn't passed a line. Duo hoped he would accept that he was here to stay and had as much the right as the other boy to be in this relationship. But in a way, he knew that it wasn't quite true. Because if Heero hadn't proposed, the said relationship would never have begun. And if Heero decided to change his mind, it would all crumble. Wufei knew that Duo wasn't a problem, because he knew that the braided boy loved them both equally, but Heero tolerated him like someone who had to be tolerated for Duo's sake, nothing more.

Or so the Chinese boy thought. The American had caught Heero more than once an amused, sorta condescending, and somewhat affectionate look on his face when the two Asians had just had a disagreement, and Wufei turned away to leave, in annoyance if he had lost or in pride if he had won, even before he had told Heero of his love for the both of them. Heero liked Wufei, Duo could tell. Now, how he liked him was another matter entirely. If it was friendship, or a sort of brotherly thing, or a strange rivalry thing…

Damn. It was too late and he had worked too long today to think about that. Time to get to sleep. His brain was thinking fuzzy thoughts, sure sign that he should rest.

Fighting the sleepiness, he sat up in a leap, making Wufei start and Heero glance at him, puzzled.

"I wanna sleep."

And before one of them could ask him what was preventing him from doing so, he had grabbed Wufei by the neck and had fallen on his back again, dragging him after him.

"Hey!!" protested the boy.

"You go to sleep too. I need cuddles to fall asleep, so there," he added, mock-pouting. The Chinese boy snorted at his antics, a little ill at ease anyway.

He snuggled against Wufei's side, snaking an arm around his torso, then looked back. Heero was observing them, unreadable.

"What are you waiting for?" Duo asked in mock-annoyance. He indicated with his chin that Heero was to come nearer, then, as he didn't comply fast enough, the braided boy rolled on his back, caught Heero's arm, wound it around his chest, then turned around again to cuddle against Wufei, making the Japanese boy spoon him.

Duo sighed happily. "There is no way I'm sleeping alone ever again," he informed his two boyfriends, his voice muffled in Wufei's shoulder. Heero laughed and wriggled closer, molding his front to Duo's back.

Wow. The best of two worlds. His head on a strong shoulder, his arms around someone's waist, and a hard body plastered against his backside, all at the same time. Heaven.

"No way in hell…" repeated the braided boy, feeling the first stirrings of sleep invading his mind.

+

Wufei sighed, relaxing slowly into the embrace. He was still unused to being so intimate, to having the right to be so intimate, with the boy he had been crushing on for so long. And it had been even longer since he had touched anyone so intimately.

His mother had stopped hugging and cuddling him when he had been about six, and his father had never done it to begin with. Then there was Meiran, who was supposed to be his wife, but with whom he had never even shared a bed. They had been supposed to, and had had many angry talks about the invisible line not to ever cross, but finally he had just gone to sleep elsewhere… to find out that she had done the same, anyway. Never used marital bed… The only contact he had ever had with her had been the fight, her fists on his belly, his own against her cheek. And those rare encounters after their most intense fights, which couldn't really be called making love. Mating, probably, or something like that. Even then, the contacts hadn't been tender at all.

In a family of Chinese descent and culture, you didn't hug or kiss. You bowed, you nodded. You didn't touch. Ever. What a shock it had been for him the first time Duo had glomped him after a battle, the second or so they had fought together. He had pushed him back, violently, just refraining himself from hitting because the braided boy hadn't meant anything by the gesture, had just let loose some of the battle excitement he still felt coursing in his veins. Miffed by the rejection, Duo had decided to make it his personal goal to hug him as often as he could, to relax him. After a while in which he had discovered that Maxwell was about the most stubborn person in the galaxy, Wufei had just stopped trying to escape his clutches and had let himself be hugged, just waiting for it to stop. After another while, he had found out that he kind of liked it.

After yet another while, he had realized that he would have wanted it to be more. More contact, for longer, maybe a different kind of hug too. Totally floored by that realization, he had avoided Duo for a while, trying to make sense of this strange attraction. Then he had admitted to himself what he felt. But by then it was too late; Duo had been with Heero. The braided boy still hugged him every time he got the chance, but Wufei just went back to his old way of bearing the hug, stiff and distant, just counting the seconds until it finally ended, not letting himself appreciate it too much. Maxwell was Yuy's from now on. Off limits.

It wasn't as if the enthusiastic pilot could like a sarcastic, cold, haughty boy like himself in any other way than as a sort of friend.

A lock of dark gold hair slid against his cheek, tickling his nose. Wufei lifted a hand and caught it between his fingers, letting the soft strands slide against his rough fingertips. Duo mumbled and his hand slid to Wufei's belly, and the Chinese boy sighed silently, a tiny smile on his lips.

The hug was definitely not one of the kinds you submitted your just-friends to.

On a whim, he rolled on his side to press his chest against Duo's, sliding an arm around his waist to hug back.

And froze. He had brushed against Heero's arm. Startled, he glanced over Duo's shoulder, to see dark blue eyes looking back. He removed his arm, awkwardly letting it fall on his own hip, but Duo's arm made it not very comfortable. He wanted to bend it to rest his hand on Duo's shoulder, but the contact would probably wake the boy up.

Damn. And why couldn't he put his arm around Duo's waist too? he thought with annoyance. Just because Heero's arm was already there… There was enough room. He just had to hug higher, that was all.

He carefully slid his arm around Duo's torso, stupidly ashamed because he knew that Heero was awake, and was looking at him putting the moves on Duo. But the braided boy was his boyfriend too now, he had a right to hug him back! Annoyed at himself as much as at Heero for his supposed thoughts, he closed his eyes, nesting his hand just under Duo's braid.

+

Heero smirked awkwardly. His own hand was closed on Duo's braid, only two folds higher. He toyed with the idea of letting it go, knowing that if Wufei moved his hand they would touch, but finally he didn't move. If he moved now Wufei would feel it and know that they were nearly touching anyway. And, hell, they were sleeping in the same bed, of course they could end up touching! He didn't have cooties anyway, so there wasn't a problem. Damn, they had even slept in each other's arms yesterday, so he didn't understand why he was feeling so skittish now. It was stupid. Damn his emotions.

He closed his eyes too, gently kissing Duo's nape as was his pre-sleep ritual, and wondering about a time where Wufei and him would feel comfortable enough in each other's presence that they wouldn't fear ending up in contact.

He didn't get to really sleep until much later.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heero woke up to the smell of toast and coffee.

'Damn, how does he do that?' he wondered when he realized that Duo had escaped from between the two other boys without even waking them up. Hard thing to do when he had been sandwiched between them, their arms around his body…

… oh. Oops.

Wufei's arm was resting on Heero's hip, Heero's wrist brushing against the Chinese boy's torso. The messy-haired pilot swore. How was he to disengage without waking the other boy up? He froze, embarrassed, totally undecided, unable to find a way.

+

Black, slanted eyes fluttered open, slowly. And then widened when the face that greeted them wasn't the one he had been waiting for. And Heero looked as flushed as he felt. Shit. He froze for a second, then began to lift his arm, realizing with shame the place it had been resting over. Damn, and for a moment, before being totally awake, he had enjoyed the contact, thinking it was Duo… Damn damn damn!

+

"Wow, that's such an erotic picture you two make together like that, resting face to face and barely touching at all... Methinks I should take a picture. A life-sized poster of you two would look good in DeathScythe's cockpit…"

The two Asian boys jumped out of the bed-nest faster than if it had been on fire, their faces red. Bent over the couch's back, Duo was laughing his ass off at them, tears of mirth in his eyes, pointing to them and clapping his thigh.

"You…" growled Yuy, advancing menacingly. Wufei imitated him on his other side, cutting Duo off from another escape route.

"Eep!"

'Mission accomplished,' thought Duo while running away from the two homicidal boys. 'Now they're not worrying about waking up together anymore… But how the hell am I gonna get out of here alive ?'