Chapter Twenty-One: Indiscretions 3 -- Maxwell??
Heero blew a small leaf from the circuit he was examining.
Yes, they'd been apart for three weeks. Yes, this was their first time alone together. Yes, he was admittedly just as... interested in resuming-
If the baka had cracked this, he'd have to shoot him.
No, he didn't really mean that. The part was ultimately replaceable, more so than a Gundam pilot, and Duo couldn't have known he'd reach over to clip it into the reader frame just as Shinigami was ghosting up to pounce. Actually it was lucky that Duo wasn't the thing to be cracked. Heero's concentration had been huge, and being out here in the open had increased his instinctive reactions to threats. Duo had chosen a very bad moment to try out his play-stalking and seduction games. Baka!
Brutally honest with others, Heero had the decency to bring the same harsh light shining on his own actions. He realized that his annoyance with Duo was partly annoyance with himself. He'd been... to be honest he had been looking forward to resuming relations with the braided baka. Had that made him careless? He should have checked the circuit immediately instead of assuming it'd slotted itself correctly into the reader despite the shock of realizing Duo was suddenly behind him. But he'd been... distracted. First, in calming his immediate instincts to avoid hurting Duo. Then... He licked his lower lip slightly, which still tingled a bit from hard pressure, and straightened his tanktop. It had taken all his concentration to still his reflexes to avoid accidentally lashing out at his lover, who had taken even fewer precautions than usual in approaching the highly-strung perfect soldier. They'd both been impatient... and, still honest, Heero had to admit that he'd been enjoying the change in his afternoon's schedule until he realized the circuit had tumbled out of the reader and into the forest mulch.
At least Duo was smart enough to realize he had to leave right away.
- steps approaching behind him-
- Maybe he'd underestimated the baka!
Heero, about as angry and frazzled as he could be without brain injury, didn't even bother to look up from his circuit, merely snarled: "Apparently I have to spell it out to you! I'm not interested in any sexual relations at this point. Or *ever* if you continue to-"
Words died on his lips as he analyzed several inputs at once. Steps - too loud, and a scuffle that was sandal, not boot. Scent - not Duo's shampoo. Horrified gasp - definitely not Duo's...
Heero turned slowly to watch Shenlong's pilot rapidly leave the clearing.
He wished he could curse like Duo. It seemed to relieve the pressure somewhat... His lips merely twitched then his attention went back to his circuit.
Gundam first. The rest of the complications... later.
A small work shed skulked on the other side of the yard from the abandoned holiday cabin in the deep woods. It had been empty except for dust and cobwebs up to that point. Wufei had gathered some of each in his hair while pacing the floor. Now he was leaning against the worktop, hugging his sides and scowling.
What a mess. What a mess! Heero's words kept repeating in his head until he thought they would burn permanent grooves in his synapses. Which were writhing in horrified embarrassment.
What could he say, how could he explain! His mind reluctantly started to probe his past actions with Yuy to see where this misunderstanding could spring from.
He groaned. Yes he was always hounding- that is, trying to persuade Yuy to spar with him. But that was because the perfect soldier was the best! Not because he wanted... some kind of further... ugh. They'd been living in close proximity for months now, on and off in various safe-houses and combat situations, some... unwarranted degree of intimacy was pretty much unavoidable, but why did Yuy think...
In Wufei's mind, the pilot of Wing was something of an ideal. Perfect, cold, a soldier to the tips of his deadly fingers, a god of battle and revenge. It was the admiration of one warrior for another, not... but he was realizing how easily, so chillingly easily that admiration could have been... misinterpreted...
He groaned again. With anybody else this misunderstanding would be embarrassing for the proud pilot of Shenlong, but with Yuy of all people, no! That just couldn't bear thinking of!
Wu Fei felt as if he'd been dropped into the artic ocean but he was no coward so he lifted his head to face Wing's pilot.
"Yuy. Please believe me that I never intended to dishonour you with any suggestion that I was... interested in-"
"I know that."
"-you that way that-... you do?"
"Yes. I apologize for my outburst. It wasn't intended for you."
Wu Fei went from the artic seas to a warm summer shower. His tense body slowly relaxed.
"That-that's good, I didn't want you to think-I... I'm not... "
Heero simply nodded firmly - a warrior's response, Wu Fei thought, embarrassed by his own confusion- and turned to go.
"Wait a minute- who- who was it for?"
Heero froze in the doorway. "What?"
"You said it wasn't intended for me... who did you mean it for?"
Wu Fei had the sudden suspicion that Yuy was simply trying put this behind them with his usual cold, uncaring efficiency by taking the quickest way out; by blaming himself for the mistake rather than blaming Wu Fei for what now seemed a series of gross improprieties (Wu Fei had really not intended walking in on Heero in the shower that time, he'd honestly not heard the water running!)
Heero was staring at him as if judging his reply. Wu Fei began curdling inside again as this confirmed his fears. As if those words *could* be meant for someone else! Who else would *dare* to-
Ask a stupid question...
"How-how could- how do you let him live?!"
"Wait!" Heero managed to snag Wu Fei's arm as the pilot shot past him, hand on his katana.
"Calm down, Chang, I didn't mean-"
"Calm down?" Wu Fei spun around. "The dishonourable dog is- is pursuing you with his- his unwanted-"
"No, you don't-"
"You do him the honour of fighting with him, he's the only one you'll spar with, you're his *partner*, and he still forces his attentions on you? How *could* you-"
"No one is capable of forcing anything on me!" Heero snapped.
The shock of the words brought Wu Fei back to reality...
...a reality where he was, unbelievingly, shaking Heero Yuy by the shoulders.
The Chinese pilot paled and stepped back quickly, out of harm's way. "I- I apologize, I didn't mean to-... didn't mean to suggest you couldn't take care of yourself. I know that. But how can you let Maxwell insult you like that and not retaliate!"
"Chang, you misunderstood me."
"Those words were not retaliation! I give Maxwell a harder time when he mistreats my name! How do you put up with his disruptive, disrespectful, inefficient behaviour?"
"Duo is not inefficient." Heero said sharply, picking up on the worst -to him- insult first. That just ignited Wufei's temper again.
"Ignoring him won't make this go away! It's hard enough working in close quarters with the fool- damn, now I know why he always insist you share a room to sleep with him! You let him- Why, Heero? Why won't you let me-!" he wouldn't kill Duo, but a good set of bruises- "Together we could -" no, that was stupid, Yuy could shake Maxwell off with one blow of his iron fists, he didn't need Wufei's help for that.
"I can't believe you chose *him*-!" That's what really hurt. Heero had chosen Maxwell to partner him in his missions, and spent time and patience training him, sparring with him... And the braided menace had repaid the perfect soldier with insults. "He doesn't appreciate the honour you do him! Not the way I would!"
"Chang... " Heero seemed at a loss for words. Seeing him so embarrassed finally shocked Wufei out of his annoyance.
Wufei took a step back, and gave a small bow of respect. "I'm sorry for my outburst, I... feel strongly about this. If you ever need... I've said enough. Think about it." He spun on his heels and headed blindly out into the woods.
It was not his place to reprimand Heero. And Heero was not the one who needed it anyway. Yuy was apparently going to try rise above the insult for the sake of the team. But... the man shouldn't have to put up with it! If he thought the small outburst in the clearing would be enough to get Duo Maxwell off his back -Wu Fei shuddered at the choice of phrase and the mental image it invoked- he'd visibly underestimated the pest. No, Wu Fei had a better understanding of Maxwell and his resilience to reasonable words. He wouldn't do anything to Duo physically - if ever that became necessary, then Heero could do a much better job of that- but for the sake of the soldier's equanimity, he would attempt to talk to Maxwell and pound some sense into his thick demented skull, verbally.
On to chapter Twenty-two
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