3-8-2001

Gomen for the crosspost minna! This is the next short story for the Angel and the Dragon timeline ^_^ It comes after Dragon's Decision, so make sure you read that first. All previous parts of this story can be found on Miko no da's homepage at http://members.tripod.com/~Miko_no_da/MW1/Index.html the archives for this list, or at Yaoi no Hentais ^_^ Enjoy!

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Wufei watched as Heero was led out of the prison cell and the door was closed behind him with relief. Silently, he wished them luck with finding Quatre and continuing the resistance against OZ.

Then he turned his attention on his companion. Duo bounded over to him, a bundle of energy as usual and none the worse for being punched by Trowa. He had a small device in his hand that Wufei had never seen before.

"Ne, Wu-man, look what Trowa gave me!" he said excitedly, not bothering to wait for a reply before turning the device on. A light sprang out of the device, projecting the image of two Gundams on the far wall of the prison. "Kick ass!" Duo crowed. "The new Shinigami and Shenlong!"

"Would you keep your voice down, baka!" Wufei remonstrated him sharply. "If the guards discover we have that, it'll be confiscated."

"Aww, you worry too much," Duo replied, though his voice had dropped to manageable levels again.

The pilots went through the schematics for a few minutes in silence before Duo bored of it for the moment and switched it off again, plunging the room into relative darkness. Sensing a shift in the DeathScythe pilot's mood, Wufei didn't object, simply waiting for Duo to say something. He didn't have to wait long.

"Ne, Wu-man, how're things with Treize?"

Wufei felt the question, coming out of the blue like that, hit him like a physical blow. He reeled for a moment, then forced himself to calm down. Still, he couldn't suppress the pain in his voice.

"I haven't seen or spoken to him since we left Earth, Duo. You know that," he said softly.

Duo sighed. "Still, it must be nice knowing you have him, that he's waiting for you." His voice dropped. "That he cares about you."

Wufei winced in sympathy. Though he had long since forgiven Heero for his actions at the cottage those many months ago, Duo didn't seem to have. The two boys had barely seen each other since then, and the separation had seemed to make their awkwardness grow, rather than lessen. Living with the two of them in this prison had been akin to being trapped in the middle of two armed warcamps.

"Duo, I don't understand you," he said matter-of-factly. "If it bothers you so much that you and Heero aren't speaking, then why don't you make up with him?"

Duo shook his head. "I can't. I'm still too pissed at him for what he tried to do to you."

"Still?!" Wufei was incredulous. "Why, for heaven's sake?"

"I don't understand why you aren't mad at him, Wufei," Duo replied. "I mean, he nearly *killed* you. He's a jerk, that's all."

"If you're acting like this because of me, Maxwell-"

Duo dropped down to sit beside Wufei on the floor. He wrapped his arms around his knees, which were drawn up to his chest, and rested his chin on them. "No, I'm not acting like this because of you. I just don't understand why you aren't mad at him, too."

Wufei shrugged. "He had a right to suspect me. To Heero, the mission required that he destroy the enemy and anyone else who threatens him. 'The enemy is anyone who stands in front of me and tries to kill me' he says. I was just another enemy to him. That's all."

Duo raised his head to look at him. "No, that's not all. Jeez, Wu-man, you're always so willing to take it up the ass and forgive everyone else their wrongs. Heero promised not to involve your and Treize's relationship in the war, and he broke that promise."

"That's true," Wufei acknowledged. "But that was a while ago now, Duo, and Heero has grown since then. There's no point in holding a grudge over something so trivial."

"But it's not trivial!" Duo cried. "Heero betrayed a trust, and it's a big deal."

"And you're afraid that he would do the same to you."

"Damn straight," said Duo with a nod. "If I had decided to go with Mi- Zechs after all, Heero would have hunted me down, too." A crooked grin spread across his face. "And I wouldn't have been there to save my ass."

Wufei felt his expression soften and he smiled. Ever since the night when he and Duo had conspired to rescue the leaders of OZ from their own safehouse, he had felt a kinship with the brash, cheerful pilot. He hesitated to admit that it was friendship, but he felt keenly the fact that Duo was the only one who truly had a chance to understand him. They were in love with the enemy.

"I never really thanked you for that, Duo."

Duo's smile widened into a genuine grin. "You don't have to thank me. I was fighting for myself, too." Then his smile faded and he looked forward again.

The silence stretched out.

"Duo," Wufei began. Duo blinked and his head snapped around to look at him, startled. "Do you ever regret turning Zechs down?"

The corner of the other pilot's mouth quirked up in a half-hearted attempt to grin that quickly disappeared. "Yeah," he sighed. "Every day." He shook his head. "But at the same time, I know I couldn't have done what you do, Wufei. Just like I told him."

"But he's not in OZ now. Why don't you go to him?"

Duo's eyes squeezed shut. "Because I don't know what I'd say. 'Hey, Zechs, sorry it didn't work out before. Heero turned out to be a bastard, just like you said. Wanna screw?'" He chuckled bitterly, then fell silent.

"Duo-" Wufei was cut off abruptly by Duo throwing himself into his arms.

"God, Wu, I'm so fucking lonely," Duo said brokenly, his voice muffled by Wufei's shoulder.

With anyone else, Wufei would have thrust them away, sputtering and irritated. Instead, he returned the hug with feeling. "You're not alone, Duo."

"Honto?" Duo looked into Wufei's face, his violet eyes shining in the dimness. "Yeah, I guess you gotta be my friend. I saved your ass."

"Not just that, Duo, and you know it."

Duo shifted his body, pulling himself into Wufei's lap. The slender pilot was barely a weight in Wufei's strong arms. He leaned his head against Wufei's shoulder, his face turned inward, his lips brushing the sensitive skin of his neck.

Wufei felt the blush rising on his cheeks even as his body, treacherously, responded to the other pilot's closeness. "Duo," he said in a strangled voice. "What are you doing?"

"Nothin'," Duo said, the movement of his lips making Wufei shiver. He nuzzled Wufei's neck, laying light kisses that left tingles.

"D-Duo..."

Duo pulled away a little and kissed the confused and frozen pilot on the lips. He went back to nuzzling his neck. "Ne, Wufei, I'll bet you're lonely, too, so far away from Treize," Duo said softly. Wufei shook his head, attempting to clear it of Duo's intoxicating scent.

"I highly doubt if that's why you're doing this," he replied. He grasped Duo's shoulder, intending to forcibly extricate the pilot, when he felt a hot tear hit his collarbone and trace a wet path down his chest.

"I'm so lonely, Wufei. Why do things have to be so complicated? Why can't people just love each other?"

Wufei sighed sadly. "I'm starting to see why, Maxwell."

Duo looked up, a look of confusion supplanting the misery etched on his face. "What do you mean?"

"Duo, if you want something, you have to go get it."

"I thought that was what I was doing."

The Chinese pilot shook his head, gently pushing Duo off of his lap, but not removing his arms from around him. "You don't want me, Duo. You have a nasty habit of using temporary means to deal with things rather than permanent ones." Duo dropped his eyes, but Wufei grabbed his chin and forced him to look at him. "If you want Heero, you have to take steps to get him. If you want Zechs, you have to do the same thing. Sleeping with me will only make you more lonely, not solve your problem."

"So what you're saying is, I should go find Zechs and screw him silly." Duo grinned, starting to recover his masks again. Wufei smiled.

"Essentially. If that's what you want."

Duo buried his face in Wufei's shoulder again. "I'm really sorry for doing that, Wu-man."

"It's already forgotten," Wufei assured him goodnaturedly.

Duo looked up, a mischievous expression in his eyes. "I hope it wasn't that boring a kiss, Wu-man."

"No, quite the contrary."

The other pilot's face grew sober abruptly. "Ne, Wufei, you're still my friend, right?"

Wufei suppressed the urge to thump the baka on the head. That would allow them both to maintain their masks, but the essential question would still remain between them. Instead, he lowered his head and kissed Duo softly, lingeringly, on the lips. "Of course you are, baka," he said softly.

"Thank you, Wufei," Duo replied. Then, predictably, he brightened again. "Let's look at some more schematics, Wu-man!"

"Whatever you wish, Duo," Wufei said, with a long-suffering tone that Duo laughed at. They sat in companionable silence as Duo switched on the projector again.

"Ne, Wu-man. Is it getting stuffy in here, or is just me?"