The Arrangement

by Maldoror


Part Nine: The Path Of The Sword

'In the face of evil, one would rather be a broken jade than a brick intact.'
--- Chinese proverb.

The wreckage of suits and stars orbited around them.

*Throw down your weapons. When the weak are armed they lose control. The weak should not fight.*

Nataku was the unmoving center of a small galaxy of debris, and the stars moved around them both.

*I'll keep on taking my own path. I take no orders.*

The only thing that was no longer moving was time. It had ceased to function along with his Gundam, leaving Wufei hanging in space like a fly in amber, as minutes or centuries fled by outside.

*Wufei, strength is in the mind, and the mind is a battle against oneself.*

It would be easier to fight a battle against oneself if a whole fleet of mobile dolls and warmongering fools from every faction is space didn't continuously insist on interfering, Wufei thought with slight sarcasm; it coloured his meditation like bubbles of air caught in the same amber.

At least...

*Justice is believing in yourself, not lying to yourself, and never betraying yourself.*

At least he'd followed his path to its logical conclusion. He hoped Master Li would approve. The old man had also followed his righteous path, to pretty much the same conclusion as Wufei. All roads led to the same grave at the end, but the manner of going honoured or dishonoured the life that was-


The noise fractured the amber and the eternal dance of debris around him. Wufei opened his eyes a fraction, glanced at the long-distance radar. Analysed the approaching signature. Recognized the FOF signal.

Huh. Well, Nataku, looks like our road may go on a little further.

He closed his eyes again and waited patiently for the transport shuttle to approach and pick him up.


The door opened to reveal the shuttle's cabin and the occupants. Wufei glanced without surprise at Heero off to one side. He was sitting in his usual pose, arms crossed, face set. A brief glance up was acknowledgment and greeting, and Wufei met the gaze for a second in return. He then turned to the shuttle's pilot, who was not someone he'd expected. The last he'd seen of Sally she'd been with her resistance cell in China, but that had been a long ago, in terms of political upheaval and rearrangement of allegiances. If he'd thought of her at all, he would have been quite unable to say if she still had any opponents to fight against in China, or if he would have to consider her a friend or foe at this juncture. Her presence here with Heero and two - now three - Gundams in her shuttle's hold probably meant she was not an enemy.

It didn't mean she was on his side, of course. No one was. It was simpler that way.

"It's been awhile." Sally said with her quiet smile. Her eyes flicked curiously between Heero and Wufei but if she was expecting a greeting between them she was going to be disappointed. Or to be more precise, she'd missed it. She missed the import of the next few words between Heero and Wufei as well, or she might not have continued to sit there so calmly.

Wufei almost smiled at Heero's curt statement. It had been too long... he'd only left a month ago, but it was long enough in terms of battle and destruction and a solitary path. And getting distracted by people whining at him to join this or that side, trying their 'irrefutable' arguments on him and expecting him to fall in line. It was nice to be once more with someone who understood exactly how he thought.

So... Heavyarms wasn't space worthy. And Nataku was too damaged for a long space flight. He very much doubted Heero would let him 'borrow' the other suit, not without one hell of a fight. But he had to get to Libra, follow his path to its inevitable and bloody conclusion.

Wufei considered the implications of Sally's flight plan to Peacemillion even as he found himself sarcastically suggesting he'd commandeer the shuttle and head for Libra instead.

His baiting was rewarded with the slightest snort from the seat on the other side of the cabin. But Sally apparently took him seriously.

"Good point, I never thought of that. But on Peacemillion, there are supplies and engineers who can repair your Gundam. You can go and attack Libra afterwards." She added kindly.

Wufei glanced at Heero, trying to read him. "Is that why you want me to come?" Just to repair Nataku, no strings attached, no promises made or demanded?

Heero said nothing. Wufei noted his silence. As he noted that Heero was on his way to Peacemillion as well.

Sally was looking at them curiously. She'd obviously been surprised at their lack of greeting when he'd come in, and she seemed slightly embarrassed by Heero's silence now. She gave Wufei an apologetic smile, uncomfortable at the lack of friendliness which she thought she was perceiving. She was missing a lot of history, Wufei reminded himself, as well as the ability to follow the silent argument that had been running practically since he'd entered the cabin.

Wufei considered Sally's offer of the help aboard Peacemillion, and sat down with a scowl. He felt Heero note both his slight concession and his overall rejection; a flexing of strong shoulders, bared by the tank top without any regards to the chill of the air conditioning, told him what Heero thought of his stubbornness.

Then the alarms sounded.


Wufei's steps slowed as he passed Nataku. The machine, still noble in its ruin, seemed to beckon. Heero was right of course, it would be suicide to use his Gundam to fight one virgo, let alone forty. But... it would be his path! If he was going to die he wanted it to be in Nataku's arms... okay that sounded a bit defeatist. No, the attraction of that plan was that it was simple and he understood it thoroughly. He depended on no-one, he was alone as he should be, with Nataku, and he would fight until he died, end of story.

Whereas this! He picked up his pace and used the low gravity to float to the far end of the hold. This... he didn't understand at all.

Take zero?

What was Heero thinking?

Though his mind was racing, most of Wufei was already in combat mode, slipping quickly into a command seat of familiar design, booting up systems, waiting for Sally to open the cargo bay doors.

Heero understood him better than anyone. Why on earth was he giving Wufei the means to get out?! Out of the trap of the White Fang forces surrounding him. *And* out of the snare of Sally's kind offer that would leave him beholden to others. Out of all the complications that were trying to drag him into one side or the other of the fight for peace, trying to integrate him to one or the other set of values.

His fingers flew over the thruster settings, the radar panels. They were fortunately similar to Nataku's set up. Right, this was Gundam zero, the original. He could use it. In fact he could take it. Oh, he would never be dishonourable enough to leave Sally and a now defenceless Heero - why why why had Heero let him - concentrate. He wouldn't leave them to face forty virgos in a shuttle, he'd get rid of the enemy first but after that, how could Heero know he would bring zero back?

The radar picked up the enemy and Wufei's pulse started to accelerate with anticipation as he manoeuvred out of the bay. The jets and the thrusters obeyed his delicate touches to perfection. He could feel the power in this machine. He frowned slightly at the targeting system. He didn't like the heads-up display, he didn't need it, and he preferred to see his enemy face to face and without electronic interpretations creating a false impression of remove between them. This was life and death. He was about to get more intimate with these machines than he'd ever been with anyone, save the man who'd given him this further chance to strike back.

A crosshair danced on the viewer before him.

What had Heero meant? Why had he warned Wufei about the cockpit system?

The hum turned into a roar as he cleared the shuttle and rocketed away towards his foe.

While you pilot zero, it will tell you who your enemies are. What had Heero meant by that?

Wufei knew who his enemies were. That's why he'd left earth, to make that very clear. His enemies were those foolish enough to bring an arsenal into the fragile clockwork balance of space. His enemies were the ones who had brought injustice to the colonies, the rule of the weak bearing weapons. His enemies were the ones who thought their strength was greater than his, and were trying to impose their values on him.

His enemies were the ones he'd destroy to prove to them just how wrong they were.

"Well, zero, show me. Let's see what you can do!"

His enemy closed around him. It was time to see who was right and who was strongest.

He dodged the first three shots. Stupid dolls. Moronic pre- programmed pieces of hardware, they always opened with the same volley, he could avoid it in his sleep. The first two went down easily, it was the usual opening gambit, almost boring in its predictability. He caught the next shot on his shield - and felt a moment of elation at the similarity between zero and his beloved Nataku.

Two more units went down. He was in the middle of their formation now, that and their numbers made the next few moves of his enemy unpredictable and now the real fight was-

He dodged and hurled himself forward with his beam sword swinging. Two more down.

Okay scratch that. The dolls were sluggish responding today, he could still see their programming jerking them around like cheap puppets, putting them exactly where he wanted them to be to - slash, hack - cut them down. Two more exploded in silent blossoms of fire and metal behind him.

He swung up the beam canon instinctively, knowing exactly where that clump of dolls would dodge to regroup and -

The beam scythed through the air and the thought cut through his mind with the same luminous intensity.

The cockpit system!

It was -...

Targets and crosshairs danced before his eyes on the screen, and in his mind like little bulls-eyes.

It was somehow-...

Three dolls tried to dodge and regroup and were met by the beam of destructive light right at the supposedly safe spot they had gathered.


Two more machines were down, the sword scything them in a single, graceful arc, sending their exploding carcasses rocketing into a third on the predicted trajectory.

At that point, Wufei realized he'd been fighting with his eyes closed for the last minute, at least.

The attack vectors and crosshairs in his mind grew frantic. The doll's program was trying to adapt to its target's greater speed and manoeuvrability. It was starting to compensate.

Wufei smiled savagely, alone against his enemies and relishing it. Now it would get fun!

He slashed and spun and dodged and the virgos fell, and one got through his defences, and shot him straight in the powerpack on his Gundam's back.

Zero exploded into a ball of fire and molten metal, its cabin bathed in heat so great the human body within didn't burn but vaporized.

Wufei shouted and slammed back into the seat.

What was that?!

He was thrown forward as two beams hit him, and he sent zero spinning and diving away on instinct. His eyes were wide but unseeing, mind screaming - as zero showed him the path each virgo would take, and how they would try to outmanoeuvre him, and how they would, eventually - maybe not these but the next wave or the next - how they would eventually kill him.


Wufei died again and again. Each twist he took to avoid his fate placed him in the path of the next deadly trap.

Zero was showing him his future. What there was of it. The mathematical equations of his solitary fight were running at top speed within the new Wing's computer system and coming up with only one outcome.

"I can fight on my own! And I'll die that way!" Wufei shouted. He didn't feel the shots slamming into him. His eyes were blind to the spiral of vectors tightening around him like a noose.


Zero peeled his reasons and his excuses away layer by layer until it hit rock.

Wufei snarled and swung his beam at the image in his mind. Treize! Destroy him, destroy the enemy! The image melted and a virgo exploded just as it was about to shoot him point-blank, but Wufei barely noticed. He was feeling the press of a cold blade against his throat as Treize defeated him again and again.

Treize is as strong as you are... and he has an army behind him. How will you defeat him by yourself? Wing zero was as coldly challenging as its owner, pushing Wufei to move past the images of himself he wanted to keep, to burn down to what was essential.

And then there was the other one. Zero flicked a few more preconceptions from his mind, getting down to the meat of the matter. The other one. Milliardo Peacecraft since that was the name he'd decided on this week. Didn't matter. The man who had armed space. The man who had tainted the one thing that was still pure and untouched by the madness on earth, and dragged it into the final conflict.

Zechs, in an illusion of Wing zero, was there, right in front of him, trying to tempt Wufei to his side. Fight for the colonies... join me... Wufei smiled and drove his sword without hesitation into that maddening, self-righteous bastard.

Outside, in the real world, another virgo exploded, unnoticed. The dolls were having trouble regrouping fast enough, zero destroying each time the central unit of their formations, leaving them to scurry in tatters. Not that the pilot was fully aware of any of this.

In the cockpit and in Wufei's head, Treize and Zechs were always just out of reach. They were the ones he had to attack! They were his enemy! Their armies were just symptoms, tools for them. They were the ones who had caused so much pain and death already, and were planning on unleashing more on a scale never seen before. It was his duty to stop them!

So why?! Why was zero showing him dying again and again, and his enemy out of reach?

Was this his future? He knew he was going to die soon but... would he fail as well?

Wufei tasted blood from where he'd savagely bit down on his own flesh in a rage and horror he'd never felt before.

He didn't mind dying. But he wouldn't - couldn't - not make those men pay first. His whole life, every single battle he'd fought, had been for that. He couldn't just -...

Finally it came down to the crux.

Zero had shown him his enemies all right. Heero had been completely correct as usual.

Now it was showing him his future with beautiful, cruel clarity.

He could stay solitary and uncompromised, and die trying to bring his enemies to justice. It would certainly look glorious on his tombstone but he knew it would be a failure. He didn't want anything written on his tombstone if those of his opponents weren't right next to his.

His other option...

A flash - his memory or zero's interference, it no longer mattered. Duo, Trowa, Quatre... Heero, glaring at him in a familiar pose of acceptance and challenge.

They were following a different path but it led to the same destination, to the deaths of the two warmongers who were planning on putting the solar system to the torch.

Zero seemed to smirk at him. Wufei registered, at the very edge of his perception, that his body had stopped fighting, because all his enemies were destroyed. For now. He was floating in a sea of stars and ruin again. This time it was his mind that was adrift.

His enemies... his enemies were Treize and Zechs. And he would defeat them. That was the only path he could choose if he wanted to stay true to himself and the people who had died for him. And he now had the means to achieve this. All he had to do was accept the bitter realization that he couldn't do it alone.

Of course, that didn't mean he wasn't going to die, zero informed him almost as an afterthought before switching off the strange targeting system and powering down. Chances were still good that the closest he would get to his goal would be dying while helping the others achieve it. But... they *would* achieve it, if they went for it with the same determination that they always showed. They were the only pure warriors on earth and in space. He knew that, somehow, the five of them would prevail, even if they were not all alive to see it happen.

Wufei put his numbed hands back on the controls, jetted towards Sally's shuttle some distance off. He decided, as he left the broken pieces of metal in empty orbits behind him, that that was, in finality, justice enough for him.

Now to give Sally the good news. Heero already knew it of course, had known it since Wufei had accepted to use Wing zero to defeat his enemy rather than die uselessly in Nataku. Wufei found himself smiling coldly. Never underestimate Heero Yuy. He'd grown even more impressive in the last few months. This new goal of his, this... peace... it made him so strong. And wiser than before. Huh, come to think of it, he'd been fighting with zero as well. That must have been quite the life-changing experience.

He'd be working with Heero again. He'd be feeling that admiration/rivalry, following in Heero's footsteps, fighting back to back, challenging each other and becoming both the better for it. He'd missed that. A lot. He thought... he thought that Heero had to. Heero must have seen the same future he had in zero, realized that they would need to all be together on this, if they wanted to have a chance of winning against both the massive armies gathering to bring about Armageddon.

A last flicker of anger burned in Wufei's mind as he felt the way Heero had manipulated him into joining the others. But it passed and Wufei felt something heavy fall from his shoulders. He wasn't giving in to Heero; he was winning the fight against himself. He was finally moving beyond the clouds of doubt and self-loathing that had shrouded his mind. He had decided alone how he was going to live his life and he'd chosen his death. And in both, he'd be accompanied by strong, honourable warriors.

Really, Nataku, he thought as zero manoeuvred back into the shuttle and he caught sight of his Gundam, really, what more could we possibly ask for?


Wufei's fists struck air. Again. He didn't waste his breath in a snarl but used the low gravity to hurl himself forward and flip around.

This time it was his foot that scythed the empty spot where his target had been.

Wufei spun on his axis and his backhand nearly connected but the flexible waist bent back and knuckles only brushed cloth.

Wufei straightened and he crossed his arms. "Barton, do you call this sparring?"

Green eyes dropped to Wufei's fists. "No, survival." Trowa said calmly. Hands still in his pockets, he took another lazy step back. He'd made his evasions look ridiculously easy, as if he were dancing in the low gravity of Peacemillion.

Wufei rolled his eyes and took up an attack stance again. "I won't hurt you. Much. Not if you parry." He ignored Duo's snort behind him. "I thought you wanted a workout."

"I'm getting it." Trowa said, shaking his head to loosen a few hairs from his brow. Wufei was gratified to see that he was sweating a little bit despite his apparently easy evasions.

Trowa had taken another step back and he was now too close to the balustrade that separated the large mezzanine from the drop to the workroom floor beyond. Wufei suppressed a smile and attacked, knowing his opponent wouldn't be able to dodge him this time, backed up against cold metal.

His fist struck air again. Wufei gasped and looked up, in time to see Trowa end his graceful back flip with a handstand on the balustrade. A shove of strong arms sent the young man rising in the low gravity to tumble against the ceiling; he pushed off sideways and landed almost casually on the arm of a repair mecha in the workshop a few feet away from the mezzanine.

Behind Wufei, Quatre chocked on his protein drink, and Duo whistled.

The L5 pilot put his fists on his hips and glared up at the acrobat, trying not to show he'd been rather impressed at the evasion. "Can I ask why you're not even bothering to fight back, Barton?"

"Because he's got his memory back now." Duo crowed behind Wufei's back. "And he remembers that you could knock Heero on his back one times out of two. He might have had amnesia but Tro was never *dumb*!"

Wufei shot a scowl back at the two-penny gallery. Duo had set up a card-table in mezzanine where they took their breaks when they weren't working on their Gundams. Or fighting. They'd been doing a lot of both these past two weeks and they were all feeling the tension. Duo and Quatre's card game had never gotten off the ground, they kept losing track of whose turn it was. They'd apparently welcomed the distraction when Duo had suggested Wufei and Trowa have a match.

It was a toss-up which part of the staggered attack on Libra was the hardest on them. The constant grind of wave upon wave of dolls that Zechs had launched at them to wear them down had been... beyond draining. In fact Zechs' plans might have succeeded without Quatre's brilliant tactics that had given them the upper hand at the eleventh hour. The problem was, Peacemillion had been damaged and they'd lost their prey. They were now hobbling after Libra on its course to Earth and a final conflagration. Now their enemy was tension, the hopelessness of not being able to attack and finish Libra, and the long, draining wait between MD attacks which almost came as a relief.

Wufei was finding it almost as frustrating to pin down Trowa. "Barton, if I were a real enemy, would you spend your time dodging and dancing about like this?" he snapped.

Trowa seemed to consider the question for one second and then Wufei was looking down the barrel of the man's gun.

"No." Trowa said quietly.

Wufei nodded gently. Good answer. He ignored Quatre's sharp protest behind him and tensed his muscles as discreetly as he could, ready to launch himself in a spin that would hurl him across the empty space between the mezzanine and the mecha while dodging a pretend shot. Before he could attack though, Trowa put up his weapon, then holstered it, and rejoined him with a graceful leap and twist, landing on the floor with - Wufei scowled - his hands back in his pockets.

Wufei had politely taken two steps back to allow him room to land. He now dropped into an attack stance. "You ready to give me a target this time?" He sneered.

"Yes." Trowa said, but he was walking around Wufei towards the card table. "I doubt I'd be much of a challenge for you, though, so I'll let Yuy take over."

Wufei straightened up and turned in the direction of Trowa's nod. Heero had come in, hair still damp from his shower. He was looking at the people in the mezzanine, analysing their poses, the scene he'd interrupted. Finally his eyes caught and held Wufei's own.

Wufei felt a faint crackle of electricity run down his spine. Heero's eyes were challenging but Wing's pilot didn't have sparring in mind.

That'd work too, Wufei thought.

"Hey, where ya goin'?" Duo said as Wufei walked towards the door. Heero had already disappeared. "If you're going to beat the crap out of each other can't I at least watch?"

"No." Heero said from the hallway. Wufei didn't even bother answering, he closed the door on Duo's complaints and Quatre's stern warning not to injure each other.

The last few weeks existed like in island in Wufei's life. He had no more doubts, no torturous failings to beat himself with. He'd left them all out in space with the shattered remnants of the virgos. He was living his life like a blade on its final downward cut. At the end of the sword's strike was death, for his enemies and for himself, but while the cold steel swung like an unstoppable force, nothing could slow him down or make him waver. He wanted some relief from the nagging tension and momentary boredom and his partner's suggestion was as good as another. At one time he'd have hesitated and made Heero fight him for it, to prove to himself he didn't need this release, wasn't subject to this weakness. At one time, he'd have been worried that the others would guess that sparring hardly required the participants to isolate themselves. At one time he'd have worried about a lot of things.

Amazing what the foreknowledge of your own death can do to clear your mind. He followed Heero without any hesitation or afterthought, beyond wondering what they would get up to this time. Their arrangement had been resumed quietly and without any question, as if it were merely another of the conveniences Peacemillion offered. The punishing rhythm of fighting had left them little time for anything involved. It had been savage dry humps in Wing's cabin or the munitions depot or wherever they could have a few uninterrupted minutes.

The attacks were less frequent now but they'd been busy helping with Peacemillion's repairs, so time was still a precious commodity. Wufei cut short speculation as Heero, a few feet in front of him, turned down a corridor and opened one of the doors at random.

The likeable thing about Peacemillion was that it had a lot of small, out of the way, unused bunk rooms. With locks on the door.

Wufei looked around the small space. It contained a solid metal bed with a foam mattress covered by a brown, rough-woven cover, a chair, a small bedside tablet bolted into the wall, and a set of drawers and nothing else.

"I take it sparring wasn't what you had in mind." Wufei asked ironically, just to see what Heero would say.

"Hn." Heero locked the door behind them. Good answer, Wufei thought with a small, savage smile. I'm getting quite a few of those today.

His smile faltered when Heero neared the bed and tossed a tube on the bedside tablet before bending to untie his boots. It wasn't the burn cream this time but Wufei didn't think it was toothpaste either.

"Oh, you want to-" Wufei lost a good part of his enthusiasm. It wasn't that he minded what they'd done in Italy; in fact he'd rather hoped for another occasion, where this time he might actually try to enjoy it. It was annoying that he'd had sex and that the thing he remembered the most about it was the look of the wallpaper, the eyes of a painted saint, the feel of the comforter under his knees and cheek, and an overwhelming confusion and resentful embarrassment. Yes this needed to be addressed but... not today. The match with Trowa had warmed him up, he didn't want to be passive again. Having Heero screw him and then jerking him off would probably be relaxing but he wanted more than that. Right now he'd prefer to spar.

Heero had straightened, dropping his half undone laces, and was looking at him quizzically through his bangs. Wufei shrugged, knowing he'd be expressing his reluctance. Heero seemed to understand his silent protest and took two steps across the room until he was near Wufei. He didn't grab the Chinese pilot, or kiss him. He just leaned over till his breath brushed the caramel- coloured skin below Wufei's ear and murmured: "This is 'next time'."

Next time? Wufei was distracted by the proximity of the other body, triggering his reflexes at the same time it excited him. What next time.


"Unless you don't want to. We can have a match instead." Heero tried to take a step towards the door but Wufei's hand was flat against his chest as he passed him, stopping his progress.

"What did you scrounge this time?" Wufei asked casually, tilting a chin to the tube on the stand. The hand holding Heero back from the door was as firm as rock, though Wing's pilot was pushing against it as if testing his resolve.

"It's actual lubricant. I found it in Peacemillion's dispensary."

"Really? It'd be a pity to let your effort go to waste then."

"Sure?" The face near his was openly taunting him.

"Certain." Wufei said, straightening his arm and hurtling Heero back towards the bed. The other pilot managed to catch his balance with his knees against the metal frame, but then Wufei's weight landed on him and they went down in a screech of metal.

The initial blaze of fury faded from Heero's eyes, and he glared up at Wufei instead of retaliating.

"So do you want to fuck me or spar, Chang? Make up your mind."

"It's quite made up." Wufei rolled them both over twice to get them both fully on the bed, and crushed Heero's lips with his.

There was no more embarrassment, hesitation, misplaced sense of propriety or reserve. Only two young bodies with the blood pounding through them. They would be dead soon. They would take their enemies with them. They would paint the heavens in the colours of fire and destruction. They would take what they wanted from life first even if they had to rip it out.

Blood howled like stormwinds in Wufei's ears, as Heero thrust his hand down into his pants and caressed him roughly. Pleasure shuddered up and down his spine, unexpected in intensity. The pounding in his ears and his body picked up the rhythm of those hard thrusts. This was as good as battle...

He grabbed Heero's hand, jerked it away and slammed it back into the bed. Blue eyes widened with surprise, burned with lust. With his other hand, Wufei gripped the edge of the tank top and pulled it up the supple body beneath his. Heero tore his hand away and squirmed out of the top.

"Take off the shorts." Wufei growled as he started ripping his own clothes off. He didn't think he could be trusted to remove the tight spandex from that awkward bulge it covered without hurting his partner. There was a tense ten seconds of rustling and thumping as clothes and shoes were tossed to the ground, then the metal bed frame screeched in surprise as two bodies collided and tangled on the old cover.

Heero bit into caramel-coloured skin, just above the right nipple - a stab of unadulterated sensual pleasure made Wufei choke - then twisted and felt hurriedly at the side of the bed. Wufei found himself torn from the neck he was nipping; a pulse was hammering sensuously beneath his tongue, his hand, shameless as an animal, was curling roughly around Heero's cock. Something was thrust into his other hand and he stared at it blindly for a few seconds before recognizing the tube of lubricant.

"You have to prepare me for penetration." Heero said, voice still cool even though he was panting. "You have to-"

"I know." Wufei snarled. "I did the research." Over a month ago, before he left earth. He'd been embarrassed, scrolling through the information with a distasteful scowl on his face, glancing defensively over his shoulder -... foolish. All his hesitations, his little doubts and his virgin embarrassment were small, pathetic little rag-blown specks against the hurricane that had already engulfed his past, his self-image, his failures, his losses and his upcoming death.

He carelessly spread some of the transparent gel onto his fingers with one swipe, then, as Heero opened his mouth to add something - probably more instructions - crushed the parted lips with his own. His fingers felt blindly for Heero's entrance - just one to start with, he remembered at the last second. Wufei's other hand grabbed Heero's and slammed it back down again, over the teen's head into the mattress. It stayed limp with surprise for a second then tensed as Wufei's finger plunged in without hesitation. The arm strained slowly, dangerously against his, his own muscles shifted to counter the movement. Conscious thought had been blown out with the rest of the petty concerns but their bodies wanted this; the play of muscles, the striving, the confrontation, the counterpoint of violence. Heero's other hand fastened onto his shoulder with a grip that strangled Wufei's last worries; if he did anything wrong or hurt Heero, he'd find himself thrown off the bed and probably into next week as well. Wufei grinned fiercely and went back to chewing on the lifebeat in Heero's neck, feeling there the excitement that wasn't so apparent in Heero's face and eyes. He rubbed himself against the firm muscles of his partner's thighs, and listened with interest to the wild breathing next to his ear as his finger probed.

Words flashed through his mind and were quickly washed away by the flow of blood, drowned out by the hammering of his pulse. Stretch, prostate, scissoring motion, whatever. Heero was tougher than Gundanium, was highly resistant to pain, and was as impatient as he was if the way he was squirming down on Wufei's finger was any indication. Any second now they might be under attack again and didn't have too much time to lose. Wufei twisted his fingers and slipped in a second digit. Heero bucked against him a bit - the pulse under Wufei's mouth rang like a hammer then evened out at a quicker pace yet - but the legs he couldn't even remember shoving apart were reaching down and rubbing sensuously against his own bare thighs.

Wufei removed his fingers, rubbed them against each other to spread the lube a bit more evenly - he'd not really gelled up the third finger in his haste. Heero snarled something near his ear - in Japanese, Wufei noted with amusement in the tiny corner of his brain that could still think, although he didn't have enough free brain- cells left to translate. The words were cut off as Wufei slipped his fingers back in again. The tight ring of muscles was feeling a lot looser now, though there was still a lot of tension, making his first few thrusts hard. He should be worried about hurting Heero. He wasn't. Heero's words disappeared in a hiss and shudders ran through the body beneath Wufei's. Heero's hand left his shoulder and grabbed him by the back of the neck, pressing Wufei's mouth back down to the wild beat in the throat - concentrating on what his fingers were doing he'd leaned away, his breath hissing in and out and tickling the skin an inch from his lips. A rough thumb started rubbing the base of Wufei's neck in a slow, hard, totally unconscious movement.

Heero's head jerked back and a gasp made Wufei glance up blindly. The hand on his neck convulsed. From the corner of his eye he saw Heero's lips moved, blue eyes nailed to the ceiling in a glaze of surprise.

What-? Oh yeah, prostate, sweet spot, something like that, stimulation, pleasurable - the words he'd read on the screen were wind-blown leaves flashing before his mind's eye without letting themselves be caught. He remembered Heero hitting that spot - damn, what had his fingers been doing? His mind had been centring on his aching erection and wondering when Heero would be ready for the next step, and how Wufei would know when he was. He twisted his fingers again. He didn't recall feeling anything special - it was all warmth, slick inner skin and pressure on his fingers, he hadn't felt- damn it he wasn't a doctor, he didn't know - Heero choked and the hand on Wufei's neck threatened to break it but he hadn't felt anything special there either - his fingers tried to regain their prior position but with Heero squirming and everything melting into a mess of sensations - Heero growled in something like frustration an inch from his ear. Wufei realized he was staring blindly at a greyish foam pillow and tried to lift his head to look at his partner, but the hand on his neck didn't give him an inch. Their other arms were still wrestling against the mattress, forcing Wufei to pin Heero's body down with his own just to stay balanced. Wiry muscles writhed beneath his chest, his torso, so erotic and alive it took his breath away.

The pressure on his neck disappeared and the arm Wufei thought he was pinning down lifted him bodily with sickening ease. "Ready." Heero grunted. "I'm ready. Go on!"

Wufei grabbed the slender hips - found his voice for a few precious seconds: "Do you want to turn around or-"

"This is fine!" Strong hands fastened on his shoulders. "Lube!" Heero snapped.

Wufei dragged his attention away from his erection and Heero's ass. Lube? Heero said he was ready, what-? Oh, lube, yes. Damn it where had the tube- he couldn't even remember dropping the damn thing. Mandarin curses punctuated his ragged breathing as he glanced around wildly.

Heero bent supply at the waist - his legs still tangled with Wufei's - and scrabbled at a fold in the rumpled cover. He thrust the tube at Wufei with a reprimanding scowl which Wufei ignored, fumbling with the cap, his slick fingers making it hard to open. An impatient squeeze emptied out way too much of the tube into his palm. He swore again, half-screwed on the cap in two quick movements.

"Do we need this for anything else?" He panted, holding up the tube in a hand that was shaking. He'd forgotten the rest of the research at this point.

"Wh-... What?" Heero's eyes focused, lighted on the tube. His face was flushed and his hair tousled. "No!"

"Good." Wufei hurled it across the room with some satisfaction at the pointless violent gesture and smiled coldly as it hit the door then the floor with a small plunk. He quickly spread the gel over his erection. The feel of his slick fingers, the cold of the gel, the sight of the twitching flesh all collided in his mind and sent a hot ball of need shooting straight back to his groin. He lay back down on the wiry body, felt hands grip his shoulders again. Senses narrowing he barely felt himself lean an arm into the mattress for balance, the other hand on his erection guiding it blindly into Heero. Breath exploded from him at the first push; harder than he'd thought. He was dimly aware that Heero had tensed beneath him. He was more aware of Heero's hands though, because one of them was threatening to break his collarbone. But he still pushed again, against the pressure, despite the squeezing of his flesh. It became a bit easier, and in fits and starts he managed to fit in. The hands were leaving bruises on his shoulders, a reminder he wasn't by himself in this. He tried to focus on Heero's face; it was shut with a scowl, eyes turned inward in concentration, Wufei couldn't tell if his expression was one of pain or pleasure. Wufei was still for a few seconds, trying to convince himself he would be able to move. A little piece of advice about letting the other man adjust flitted through his mind as well and held him still for a few seconds more just as he was about to go ahead and try.

He dropped the hand he wasn't using for support to Heero's hip, to pin him down, and pulled back, young muscles arching and straining. Heero's pants hitched and caught then resumed, the hands on his shoulders loosened their death grip slightly. He moved inward again-

Oh... yes...

He moved out and thrust again, desperately trying to recapture that exquisite pull and pressure that had teased every pleasure centre in his body.

Oh... gods-... hands wouldn't do much for him-... after this-...

His world narrowed and focused on that motion, that friction plunging him into waves of sensation, crashing into him, stronger and stronger, higher and higher.

Something intruded - barely - as Heero's hand dropped from his shoulder to poke him in the side, worm between their bodies. Wufei arched away from the distraction - and a rainbow of sensations hit him as Heero cried out and tightened around him, just as he was thrusting in - Wufei choked at the increase in pressure, pleasure, everything. He thrust again, but the muscles had relaxed slightly, not that it wasn't good anyway - he blinked, something stinging his eye. Sweat. His vision cleared a bit, he was arched away from the body shuddering and panting beneath his own, and Heero's hand was gripping his erection, slick and red. Wufei stared, fascinated, as his own body continued plunging into Heero's, hunting after every wisp of pleasure it could drag from the tightness and warmth. Heero was shuddering, and every shift in stance spoke of his own rush, his own need to catch every fraction of sensation he could. Wufei groaned. The sight was bypassing his mind - which had pretty much shut down anyway - and hammering directly into his more primal responses, urging him along with the sensations from his groin to move faster, harder, go further and get more more more.

Time stretched and hardened like streams of toffee, Wufei couldn't say how long he'd been driving into the warmth beneath him, probably not long at all, but every time he thought to linger in the pleasure, Heero would gasp and tighten around him again and hurl him up to a new level. He'd try to cling to that but then his own stance shifted as his muscles clenched, and the change of position brought him even higher, and he was racing forward towards the crest of the wave, unable to resist the inevitable climb upward-

The wave slammed into him, pounding him into his component atoms, orbiting around the release he was pumping out into the shivering warmth around him.

His ragged breathing was ringing in his head like a bell, he'd sunk down against his supporting arm and was lying against the hot body beneath his, twisted a bit to one side to avoid crushing it. A hiss - it seemed to come from a long distance away - and Wufei's warm pillow jerked and tensed, jolting his eyes open. The muscles surrounding his cock tightened wildly and Wufei groaned, overly sensitive flesh complaining at having even more pleasure inflicted upon it. He half-heartedly tried to pull away but Heero's legs were locked around his upper thighs, holding him in place. A rich, organic smell prickled his nose, and he became aware of the scent of Heero's sweat, his skin, his hair, the way he panted, his chest shuddering beneath Wufei. A puddle of warm wetness where their skin met.

The beep of communicators.

They'd beeped just before, he realized, but it had been at the edge of his awareness and so far back in the queue of things that were important to him at that point, the comms might just as well have been shot out the airlock for all they mattered.

Heero grunted and made a loose gesture with his arm, then groaned and rolled over a little. Wufei made an inhuman effort and pulled away, wincing with loss and pleasure at the little ripple of sensations this caused. He ignored Heero fishing around his spandex for the comm and flopped face down into the prickly brown cover, manoeuvring to free his partner's leg.

He could hear Heero pause and regulate his breathing, after several attempts. Then the communicator was flipped open. "Yuy."

//Heero?// It was Quatre's voice, barely heard from Wufei's position face down on the bed and deep in post-coital coma. //We have something up on radar. Could be the next wave of attacks.// Quatre sounded tense but also excited. He'd been bored too, Wufei remembered.

"How long?" Heero asked, voice distracted. Wufei turned his head the other way and looked at his partner seated on the side of the bed. Heero had one hand holding the comm, the other was using a corner of the blanket to clean up his stomach.

//About thirty minutes away. Do you know where Wufei is? I tried calling him too.//

" ...yes, he's around here somewhere." Heero glanced back at him and gave the minute smirk which was his equivalent of a smile. "He's... meditating."

Wufei closed his eyes and extracted one of his hands from beneath his body to give Heero the finger, which he thought was ample enough a response. Heero snorted, the noise covering Quatre's next question.

"Yes, I'll get him, we'll be there ASAP." He closed the comm. without waiting for any further question, stood up slowly and stretched, yawned. Wufei's eyes twitched open instinctively at the shift of weight off the bed. He found his gaze lingering over the strong back, the firm buttocks. Then his mind slowly started to drag itself back into the real world.

"You okay?" He asked abruptly, his warrior instincts tallying up the possible consequences of their wild ride.

Heero seemed to consider the question, eyes turned inward. "Yes. Mild soreness, but nothing that will impact my performance."

"Good." Apparently he'd managed to do it right... although Heero's above-average tolerance to pain might have more to do with it than Wufei's inexperienced and hasty preparation. Wufei used the cover to wipe off lube and semen absently, still watching, fascinated, as his partner started getting dressed with quick, fluid movements.

His own comm hadn't beeped again, apparently Quatre had bought Heero's 'meditation' excuse.

'That was some meditation!' the annoying little inner voice crowed, still with a gutter-snipe twang to it. 'Think Quatre will continue to buy it when he sees what state you're both in?'

Wufei muttered a curse. Heero turned towards him, pulling down his tank top, a questioning look in his eyes.

"Better tell the others we were sparring, in case they wonder about *that*." Wufei grumbled as he pointed to the bright red blotches on Heero's neck. Heero felt the spot, scowled. His own eyes flicked over Wufei who quickly waved a hand. "I'll drop by my quarters and pick up my jacket." He said, before Heero had a chance to point out the state of his bruised shoulders.

"That will do. We'll be more careful next time." Heero added absently as he bent to tie his boots.

"Next time?" Wufei pulled on his top with one swift movement. "Do you think it's likely we'll have time to do this again before things come to a head?"

Heero paused, thinking. "The frequency of attacks is going to increase exponentially the closer we get to Libra. And Zechs will undoubtedly confront me with Epyon soon. So... no, probably not." His voice was indifferent.

"That's what I thought." Wufei grunted, tightening his belt and walking to the door. "Let's go see if Marquise managed to find us some serious opposition this time."


He turned towards Heero who was following him.

Wing's pilot eyes were hard, already burning with the heat of battle, and the smile on the lips was feral. Wufei found that gaze focused on him for a few seconds.

"Don't die easy."

Wufei snorted, returned the hard smile. "I have a score to settle first. Just get Zechs out of my way, Yuy, that's all I ask."

"Hai." Heero preceded him out the door. Wufei took one last look at the small room, wondering if they should do something with the soiled and rumpled bed cover, then deciding that since Peacemillion itself had a good chance of being reduced to scrap metal in the coming days, he needn't bother. He stared at the bed, glanced at the tube of lube near his feet.

Felt a new pulse starting in his veins, battle fever rising...

Neither he nor Heero - nor any of the others - were complaining that they were sixteen and about to die. Everyone died. And this - he closed the door to the room behind him and stepped towards battle - was the way to do it, a path worthy of them. He lengthened his stride and fell in step with Heero as they headed towards the command deck side by side.


End Part9



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