Categories > Anime/Manga > Gundam Wing > Shades of Gray

Chapter Seven

by sumthinlikhuman 0 reviews

It took me a great, long stretch of time before my sluggish brain registered: me. He's talking about him and Trowa and me. (Winner of KumoriCon '06, Best Novella Adult!)

Category: Gundam Wing - Rating: R - Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Duo, Trowa, Wufei - Warnings: [!] [X] - Published: 2007-03-13 - Updated: 2007-03-14 - 1571 words

He that but once too nearly hears
The music of forfended spheres
Is thenceforth lonely, and for all
His days as one who treads the Wall
Of China, and, on this hand, sees
Cities and their civilities
And, on the other, lions.
-Coventry Patmore's "The Victories of Love" I, 2

Chapter Seven

When I began to awoke the next morning, the first thing I was very much aware of was the warm barrier at my back, slightly yielding, but strong in its force to stay where it had been placed, and for a very long moment, I thought I had been transported back to a place and time where this would have been a common waking sensation; or that perhaps I was back in the little Chinese village, and I had been drunk the night before and had picked up a strumpet or something. But my head didn't hurt, and the only strumpets in the village were women, and whatever I was leaning against was most assuredly not a women.

The brush of hair against my hip made me jolt without really opening my eyes and waking up entirely, and I remembered how wet I'd been the night before, and how Duo and I had sat on the couch for a very long time, before I had begun to dose off, and had wormed myself out from under his weight on my arm and leg. He had grabbed my sleeve, and, without even looking at me, had asked if he could sleep in the bed with me, because the couch was lumpy and had a spring that dug into his back-and then I had just pulled him off the couch and trudged him back to the bedroom with me, and had fallen asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I turned, and blinked sluggishly, until I could focus through the fog of sleep on Duo's still sleeping face. Except for the soft puff of his breath, he was utterly silent, wrapped around himself and the pillow, and a little bit around me as well.

Something compelled me, and I gently traced my fingers through his bangs, pushing them out of his shuttered eyes. He groused softly in his sleep, his hand darting out as mine began to retreat, and he tugged softly, until my hand was tucked under his chin, kept warm and safe.

He slowly gained footing in consciousness, and blinked at me slowly. For a very long time, he didn't seem aware of the way he was grasping my hand, or how he was entangled with me. When he did notice, he flinched back, and blinked owlishly at me.

I slipped out of bed, and stretched widely. When I looked back at him, he had an flush high on his cheeks, and his eyes were carefully diverted from my own. Softly, I sighed, and asked, "Would you like some breakfast?" He nodded without looking up, and I trod out of the room on quiet feet, and began the same process I had the morning before.

We were quiet, and I wasn't sure if it was for his benefit or my own. There was no mention of the afternoon we'd spent together, or the way he'd cried on my shoulder, or the fact that we'd slept in the same bed together.

He ate listlessly, and I watched him out of the corner of my eye when he wandered off to watch TV, leaving his half-eaten breakfast sitting pitifully on the counter. I stuck it in the fridge, and retired without a backwards glance into the bedroom, digging out a textbook and flipping through idly, trying to keep my mind off the unusual events.

Duo brought dinner to me, and sat, helping with the homework. I smiled, and nudged him in the shoulder a bit, telling him he should go back to school. He shrugged, explaining that, more than anything, he didn't want to 'waste his life' like that. So I just shrugged, and let the matter drop.

As I fell asleep much later with Duo's warm weight at my back, I realized I'd have to go back to Beijing soon.


"We've got a postcard from Tro'. It says, 'Miss you. Hope Fei's still there. See you both soon'. Well, isn't that just sweet?"

Duo threw the postcard onto the table with some disgust, and settled heavily into a chair, opening up the bills and quickly scanning the contents. I leaned over his shoulder, took a swig of my beer, and stated, "I think that's illegal."

"He's told all his utilities to allow my name on the bills," Duo replied softly, setting aside the water bill and opening the electric. I shrugged, and took another swig, leaning my elbows against the back of his chair. He peered at me over his shoulder, and smiled softly. "Don't you have anything better to do?"

"Not really. All my homework's done. And I don't have any new books to read." I whirled a chair around and straddled it, letting my arms drape listlessly, occasionally lifting the bottle to my lips as I watched the longhaired brunet write out the checks.

"So read one of Trowa's." I shrugged.

"I've read all of those too. Some of them are mine." He looked up, and cocked a brow at me, chuckling humorlessly under his breath.

"What, don't you reread stuff?"

"Well, yes," I replied, swinging the beer bottle a little bit. "But I don't have any books with me that I like that much. They're all back in Beijing."

The phone rang. Duo jumped up, and wandered over, even as he asked, "Beijing? Is that where you've been all this time? Hello! Barton residence, this is Duo-. Oh. Hi."

The sudden dejection in his voice made me lean forward, and mouth the words to ask who it was. He rolled his eyes, covered the mouthpiece, and grumbled, "It's Yuy. Gimme a sec," before returning to the 'conversation'. "Look, he's not here. Une sent him out."

There was a stiff silence, and then Duo snarling, "I don't know! Ask Une. She won't tell you, but it's worth the shot, you stubborn ass." With the last of that, he hung up and glared at the phone for a moment, before huffing and returning to the table.

I was quiet for a very long time. Finally, I asked, "What happened there?"

"Yuy blames me for what happened with the . . . the thing/. He says that if I'd had better control over my lover, none of it would have happened." Duo snorted. "I always have to remind him, when he says that, that there were /two people in that bed, and he wasn't doing a stellar job taking his own advise."

"Ah." There was nothing else to say. He looked over the amounts to be paid, and wrote the checks in silence. I drank from my beer and after a while wandered into the sitting room and turned on the TV, flipping through the channels absently.

He sat next to me this time, instead of in the chair at the other end of the couch, and leaned over his knees slightly. His voice was very quiet, singing along with some jingle on a commercial that I didn't recognize.

"I'm sorry," he murmured when the commercial was over, and leaned back. His head tilted towards my shoulder, and my arm mindlessly slipped over the back of the sofa, letting him slide in closer. I looked at him, meeting his dark blue eyes, and cocked a brow.

"What for?"

"You don't like to talk about all that stuff, right? I'm sorry." I blinked at him for a moment, before shrugging a little.

"It's alright," I assured. He watched me intently for a minute, and then focused on the show I'd stopped on-mindless, numbing half-entertainment to distract us for a comforting while. Duo was a bit more intent on it than I was, though I caught him looking at me out of the corner of his eye once or twice when the show broke for sponsors.

I blurted, at some point or another, "I have to go back to Beijing soon." Duo looked at me stupidly for a minute, before shrugging, and chuckling softly. He turned off the TV, and sprawled over the couch, his feet landing on my thighs haphazardly.

"Trowa'll be pissed if I let you leave," he grumbled, but was smiling gently from his end of the couch, his bangs falling into his eyes. "So . . . how much do I have to pay to get you to stay?"

"It's not a matter of price, Maxwell," I snapped, perhaps more cruelly than I meant to. I continued, softer: "I have classes, and friends, and a life back in China. I can't just leave that behind, you understand?"

"You had that here, and you left," Duo pointed out, leaning his head back over the arm he was resting against. He chortled, a sound that was almost sad and pathetic, and shook his head a little, apologizing softly.

Suddenly, he stood, and stretched, looking down at me. "I'm kinda tired, m'kay? Mind shoving off? I'll take the couch."

"You don't-." I stopped, knew what I was about to say, and carefully sealed my lips firmly before the words could escape. Slowly, I nodded and stood, and wandered down the hall to the bedroom.

It seemed awful cold, without Duo's comfortable warmth at my back.
Sign up to rate and review this story