by June

And you pointed your headlamp toward the horizon
We were the one thing in the galaxy God didn't have his eyes on.
900 CCs of raw whining power
No outstanding warrant for my arrest
Hi diddle dee dee
The pirate's life for me.
-Mountain Goats, "Jenny"

With the curtains drawn, the room was still dark and just a little stuffy. Whoever got up first always raised the thermostat. The top sheet and blankets were pushed to the end of the bed. The sound of the box fan in the corner covered our quickened breaths, though we could still hear footsteps crossing back and forth outside in the hall.

"Trowa's gonna bang on that door any second, I can feel it," Duo groaned, shifting his knees wider apart on the bed and increasing his pace just enough that I had to brace my hand against the wall behind my head so I didn't bump into it.

"We could have waited until after they left for work. We don't have class until ten." I pushed against the wall, sliding down the bed a bit and forcing Duo to adjust again.

He shook his head, tossing hair out of his eyes. "I didn't wanna wait. You didn't either. Mmnn. You were all over me the second the alarm went off."

Duo's latest angle was by far the best and I arched back on the bed, drawing another low, needy sound out of him. Duo's movements were slow and smooth, a steady rhythm that he knew I liked. The way he pushed and pulled was confident and easy, in control. I slid my hand up his arm and across his chest, feeling out the swells and dips of muscle. Pushing myself up on one elbow, I reached around for the back of his neck, the hair at the base his braid damp with sweat. When I grabbed the rope of hair where it swung over my chest, he leaned down far enough to kiss me.

"No pulling," he murmured.

"No stopping," I answered, raising my knees a little higher and relaxing back onto the bed.

"'S is feel good?" he asked, knowing full well that it did.

I lifted my arm to the wall again and made some noise in the affirmative.

My knees were pressed to his sides, my lower back and spine curved over his legs, but pushing a a bit harder against the wall, I could shift enough to feel along the line of his thigh muscle, down to the puckered scar in the middle. I rubbed my thumb over it just as he traced his fingers along the back of my leg to the scar bisecting my knee. It was a sort of ritual. Then his hand moved from my knee back up to my hip and across my stomach. I grabbed his fingers and closed them over my cock, guiding his rough palm until my breath hitched and I pushed my head back hard against the pillow.

He leaned forward over me, his bangs almost brushing my chest. "Are you--"

The sound of knuckles sharply rapping on the door jolted us both and Duo froze above me, teeth clenched.

"Dammit," I muttered.

"We're headed to the office," Trowa said through the door. "You want anything from the market for dinner tonight?"

"Not really in a position to consider the menu right now, Barton," I called.

I heard Duo whispering something under his breath, his eyes closed. I strained to hear and then smirked.

"I'm grateful we're not in prison and that we have friends who care. I'm grateful we're not in prison and that we have friends who care. I'm grateful we're not in prison and that we have friends who care."

"Oh, did I wake you up?"


"Well, just give us a call if you think of something."

He was doing this on purpose, I was sure. He lived for moments like these.

I started to move my hips again, hooking my legs around Duo's middle and flexing up into him. His eyes flew open and he grabbed hold of me, trying to keep me still, shaking his head.

"We sure will," I said, fighting to reestablish a rhythm. Duo's hands scrambled against my skin and he bit back a groan.

"Oh, and Wufei, there's coffee on the stove. It's still warm. Don't forget to take it with you when you leave for--"

"Oh my God, go away!" Duo finally shouted.

I burst out laughing and thought I heard Trowa's soft chuckle from the other side of the door.

"I am so looking forward to having our own place," Duo groaned, sagging forward again. I grabbed his arm and started to pull myself up, rolling forward until I straddled his lap. Duo shifted his legs to help settle my weight and let out a shuddering sigh against my chest. He wrapped both arms around me and thrust upward with quick, even strokes, humming contentedly when I carded my fingers through the wild fringe of hair that framed his face.

He turned his head into my shoulder, nuzzling under my arm with his nose until he found the computer chip set just under the skin. He traced the shape of it with his tongue and sucked until he left a mark. The chip monitored my location and relayed it to whichever Preventer was on watch at the time. We were allowed out of Trowa and Heero's two-story flat to go to school and back and that was it. At the time that it was implanted, it itched and ached. Duo had nearly scratched his right out. Now, they were a reminder of exactly how much time we had left under house arrest. Eight months and counting.

They made the surrounding skin surprisingly sensitive. I hissed and then shivered when Duo blew on the reddened spot.

"Eight months," I said, "and we can do this on any flat surface we want."

"Mmm, why limit ourselves? I'd take you on the front steps if you let me..." He pressed a kiss to my sternum. "In the laundry..." He leaned up to kiss my throat. "I'd highjack your shower and fuck you against the tile." His words sent a wave of heat radiating up and down my spine and when he tipped his head back so that I could kiss him, I whispered into his mouth, "I'll hold you to that." He gripped me harder and grinned into the kiss. Then it was a heady, headlong rush to something sharp and beautiful and perfect.

Heero and Trowa's Brussels flat was only a short walk to the university, and although it was cold outside, with a fresh layer of snow on the sidewalks, it was a beautiful day. We walked side by side in easy silence. Bundled up in heavy coats and with packs on our backs, we looked like any number of other kids on their way to class.

I could finish my degree in two semesters if I also took classes over the summer and Duo could get his in four. He had abandoned his plans for a degree in small engine repair after I'd kicked him out of the flat in London and especially after my sentence started at RCNP. But now, with a year to kill under close surveillance from Preventers and with nothing else to do but go from home to work or from home to school, Duo had chosen school. He said he didn't want to hang around one place too long and really only wanted a title people would recognize for the skills he already had. He already had more practical experience with engines than most ordinary humans would gain in a lifetime.

There hadn't been much talk yet of what we'd do after our probationary period was over. Duo had one more year of school than I did and we hadn't broached the subject of whether I'd stick around for that second year. Acknowledging whether we were in that sort of relationship--beyond whispered promises during sex--wasn't something we'd attempted while thinking clearly. Trowa, Heero and Une expected me to take the Preventer exam. I didn't know what they expected from Duo. I had a bit of a plan of my own, though I hesitated to share it with anyone.

Karl had already passed his exam and was now in need of a partner. I didn't envy whoever ended up with him and I worried that if he still didn't have one by the time I finished school, Une would do something stupid like try to partner him with me. Actually, I was probably a good choice for him since I already knew the way he used people. Nothing he did would surprise me.

"Hey, what are you thinking about?" Duo asked when we neared the campus. "You're melting the snow with that glare."

I turned to glance at him, but the sun was behind his head, so I had to look away. "Just wondering why I'm bothering with a degree in pre-colonial literature if I'm joining Preventers right after I finish," I grumbled.

He chuckled, the sound a bit muffled by his scarf. "You could start a book club. I'd join. I still haven't read my first novel with you."

"Starting a book club is not what I had in mind."

Duo stepped over a slushy puddle in the pitted sidewalk. "What did you have in mind?"

"It'll probably sound crazy, even to you," I muttered, idly kicking at a pile of snow when we stopped at the curb adjacent to school property. We waited at the crosswalk until the cars yielded to us and then quickly went across.

When we were walking up the path toward the humanities building, Duo jabbed me in the ribs with his elbow. "Come on, tell me."

"I haven't done much more than think about it and talk a little with Prescott."

He wrinkled his nose. "Prescott? What, like for permission?"

I shoved my gloved hands into the pockets of my coat. "Yes, for permission. I asked her if I could work for her. At the Rehabilitation Center for New Pacifism."

Duo stopped in his tracks, his boots scraping loudly on the salted walk. He looked down at his feet. "What kind of work?"

"The real kind. Hopefully the kind with tenure."

He turned to face me and now we were both squinting against the sun. "You wanna get a teaching job there?" My silence was his answer. "Wu, you hated your classes. You only did enough work to pass."

I shrugged restlessly. "The classes were stupid. The books we read were stupid. But the teachers weren't stupid and neither were the students. Most of them were, in fact, very smart."

"And you told Prescott that?"

"With a bit more tact, yes."

"What'd she say?" He looked like he couldn't quite believe he was having this conversation.

"She laughed at me."

He crossed his arms over his chest. "Well, that was mean."

"Then she said she'd think about it. Then she told me to get a master's and she'd think a little harder."


We were going to be late for class, but neither of us moved from where we stood. This was too important.

"Have you told anyone else this? Do Heero and Trowa know? Jesus, does Une know?"

I shook my head, frustrated, and pulled off my hat to scratch a hand through my hair. It was just long enough to tickle my ears. "I haven't told anyone. Doesn't mean Prescott hasn't already told Une, though. They must call each other every night before bed."

Duo laughed. "That's a scary thought." He sobered quickly. "But seriously, man, what do you think she'll say?"

"Une? I don't know." I shook my head again, trying to clear it of my useless fears about what other people thought. "And I don't care. Dammit, it's my life, not hers." I gestured at Duo's arm. "She may have us both under her thumb for the next eight months, but after that, she's just another person, just somebody else who could be a boss or a coworker or nobody."

Duo silently nodded.

"I want to choose how I pay back my debt. And putting on a uniform so that I have the official capacity to tell other people how to live their lives is not it. I can't do that, not now, not after I've seen and lived and understood how people react when you push them. I don't want to do it." I felt like shoving something for emphasis, but I restrained myself.

Duo stepped a little closer and leaned forward to speak in my ear, as though what he had to say wasn't safe for anyone else to hear. "Then you shouldn't," he said. "You should do what you want." He leaned back to meet my eyes and even in the glare, I could see that they were bright with understanding.

A bunch of students brushed past us and we stepped aside to let them through. When they were gone, the silence had turned heavy. Duo ran his boot over the salt on the walk. I hitched my backpack into a more comfortable position on my shoulders.

"What does this mean for you, then?" I finally asked. "What do you want to do?"

Duo shrugged, taking off his mittens and bending down to scoop up a handful of new snow. He packed it into a tight ball and then took a bite, wincing at the cold. I watched his hands turn red. "I want to own my own business, be my own boss. Fix busted engines. Build 'em, take 'em apart. I want to be with you."

I hid a smile inside the high collar of my coat. "If I get my master's, that's another year-and-a-half to two years added onto my schooling, probably more if I'm working."

"I've already got one more year than you do, as it stands. Another one's no big deal, so long as we don't have to live in fear of Barton's knuckles on our bedroom door."

I smirked at that. "You realize we're skipping past the dating phase again. We're already living together."

Duo shrugged, already comfortable on this new path we were taking. "I'm not sure I can actually date someone. I don't really want to go on dates." He threw the snowball and then shoved his hands back into his mittens. "I want to live with my partner."

My chest tingled with heat at his words. They smoothed over the jagged questions this conversation had raised. "But what if that's in southern Italy? There's nothing to do there. And Brussels is so far. We'd hardly ever see our friends."

Duo grinned. "Eh, maybe Heero and Trowa liked Rome more than they let on. And I kinda liked it at Sam's. The place had sort of a stark, brown beauty. Plus, she's got more business than she knows what to do with. She'd be thrilled if I took over some of her customers." He started walking again and I hurried to keep pace. He swung his arm over my shoulder and spread his other arm wide, gesturing at all the possibilities. "And we'll always be tan and muscular. No more space-atrophied muscles. Lots of room for you to train, for us to train together, like you said."

"Let's not make it out to be a fairy tale, Duo," I grumbled, though I couldn't keep the relief out of my voice. I hadn't expected him to be so excited by the prospect of moving back to Italy for the long term.

"Hey, I don't expect it to be one, Wu. I'm more concerned about your career longevity than mine. I mean, what happens when the school runs out of war criminals to reeducate? You could be outta work in a few years once they're all fixed."

"I doubt it," I scoffed. "A whole generation has been turned upside down by the fighting over the last twenty years. With Prescott and Une in cahoots, there will always be a fresh crop of fuck-ups to correct."

"Speaking as a freshly corrected fuck-up?"

"That's right. I'd say they run a pretty solid business."

We'd reached the humanities building and I had to draw away from Duo to go to class. He stepped back and adjusted his bag on his shoulder. "Hey, let's talk some more about this tonight, okay?"

"Okay. I'll see you after class, then."

He grinned. "Yes, you will."

Find more of June at her Livejournal.

Back to part twenty.