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Duo woke in the wan, false morning light to feel that Wufei was still, incredibly, pressed to his chest. Somehow neither of them had managed to kill one another in their sleep last night, and that... Wow. That was awesome. Duo had barely been able to sleep in the same room as another person since the war ended. The fact that he'd slept in the same room—in the same bed—so close to Wufei was... Well, it was more important than he cared to think about, at the moment. Instead he just hunkered down and buried his face in the loose mess of Wufei's dark hair, smelling like the camellia oil and so soft, despite the dust shower they'd used the night before.

Wufei's hair was so long, now. Past his shoulderblades, thick but fine. Duo remembered a time when Wufei had worn it pulled back so tight it looked painful, when he'd looked so solemn and furious, without any other expression. It was hard to remember that sixteen year old boy now, with this twenty-seven year old man cradled against him. Eleven years...

Duo wasn't sure that he'd changed so much, in eleven years. He was still an obnoxious brat, according to some of his friends, though Hilde swore he'd mellowed out a little. But Duo had known something was missing, something important wasn't there. He'd felt it when Hilde got married, when Quatre had quietly confirmed that he was in a relationship with not only Heero but Trowa, too—when Quatre had asked, last year, if he was in a relationship with Wufei.

A relationship? he'd asked then, laughing. Ah, hell no. He's got like, a life n'shit, y'know? He ain't got time for me.

I think you'd be surprised, Quatre had said, but nothing more. Duo had left that conversation confused and tangled up and it had bothered him all through the last sixteen months or so. Maybe it was that conversation that caused him to ask his first mate, wide-eyed and panicked, to take him to L5. He'd locked himself in his quarters, taken out all the weaponry and given it to his security officer, and he'd stayed in those rooms until they reached their destination. He'd stewed in his own thoughts for almost four days, staring down at Wufei's address, thinking about him, wondering if he ever felt this way, if he'd ever fucked up so bad post-war.

But then Wufei had opened his door and all thoughts of anything except how good it was to see him left Duo in a rush. He was so beautiful, and he knew what to say, and how to touch him and Duo was so fucking grateful, he could never really express it.

I trust you, Wufei had said, and it was more comfort than Duo could have ever asked for. Wufei trusted him. Trusted him enough to sleep in the same bed with him, trusted him to take care of himself, to...

“Duo?” Wufei asked, and his voice was hoarse with sleep and Duo leaned over to kiss his lips, taking no small amount of delight in the way Wufei took in a breath and moaned it out, tired and shivery. “Duo,” he tried again, when they parted, and Duo hummed against his neck, kissing the pale skin. “Ah.

“Mornin,” Duo murmured, pushing up onto his hand, rolling Wufei onto his belly and resting on top of him, back to chest, kissing his neck, one hand gathering up his hair while the other fumbled to hold his hand. Wufei held his hand and Duo wanted to cry.

“You're a fucking weasel,” Wufei laughed, almost croaked, his voice cracked up with dryness. “Does your libido have no limits?”

“None,” Duo said, kissing his way down Wufei's back, licking at the skin, letting go of his hand to cup his ass and hold it, to spread his cheeks apart and push his groin against him. Wufei grunted, lifted his hips up as best he could and Duo knew he had permission. Wufei stretched his arms out in front of himself like a great cat and it was just so sexy, it was sexy and beautiful and how could Wufei not know how beautiful he was? How could he be so unaware that he was sex on legs, that he was stunning? Duo knew he had permission, but he wanted more than that.

“Can I fuck you,” he asked, sitting up to let the blankets fall away from their bodies—watching Wufei break out into goosebumps, his shoulders tensing at the chill.

“Yeah,” Wufei hummed, tucking his arms under his torso, looking back over his shoulder at Duo with a tolerant smile. “Yeah, you can.”

“Do you want me to?” Duo bent down and kissed Wufei's cheek, was.... Startled and somewhat delighted when Wufei turned his head a little more to kiss his lips. It was... Soft, and chaste, and it made Duo's head spin.

“I want you to,” Wufei hummed, settling back down. “Just... Go easy, okay.”

“Easy,” Duo nodded, sliding his hands from Wufei's shoulders, to his narrow waist, to his delicately wide hips. “I can do easy.” He kissed his way down one more time—lingering in places that made Wufei shiver or shudder or squirm, tonguing at them, his hands kneading Wufei's backside, pulling his cheeks apart, running his fingers over Wufei's tight, raw rim.

He'd been buried inside him, the night before. He'd fucked him deep and personal, but more than sex they'd shared something so fucking intimate it made Duo want to hide, but he couldn't. Not from this, not from Wufei, who at the moment was the absolute center of his universe. He orbited him like the moon orbited the earth.

Duo's tongue slid down to rub over Wufei's rim. He took great pleasure in the stifled gasp, in the way Wufei's shoulders twisted and his hips pushed down into the bed. “You are such a slut,” he teased, even as Wufei lifted his hips and spread his thighs just enough to let Duo get between them and lick at him, holding the cheeks of his ass apart. “You should get it tattooed on you.”

Wufei laughed, breathless, and the sound turned into a groan as Duo pushed his tongue inside of him, pushed his body down. “You—ah,” Wufei's shoulders curled forward and Duo pulled away, grabbed for the lubricant. “You'd be, be the only one who sees it,” he admitted, and Duo held his breath for a moment. Was that true? Would Wufei... Did he ever see other people? If he had been, would he stop now? Would he wait for Duo? Wasn't that too much to ask of someone you had sex with once a year?

But at the same time the thought was irresistibly enticing. Wufei wouldn't fuck other people. Duo would be the only one to see him like this, panting, eager, groaning as Duo squirted lube down the crack of his ass and pushed fingers inside of him with ease, just to check and make sure he was relaxed enough for this, though he was... Sure he was. Wufei made a delicious little noise and Duo straddled his thighs, rubbed his cock up and down against Wufei's ass and slid inside with one easy thrust, cursing under his breath and listening to the way Wufei grunted, gasped into the sheets under his cheek. His torso was heaving for air and Duo got down onto his elbows, one hand sliding under to hold Wufei's jaw, to hold his head up. The other wrapped around his shoulder to keep him in place as he started to move, deep and slow. Wufei was so warm. So soft around him, so tight. It was better than anyone else ever was. Maybe because Duo didn't have to be gentle with him, maybe because he didn't have to be afraid of hurting him by going too hard, or too fast.

Still.

Duo got up, up onto his knees, and he guided Wufei to do the same. Wufei shivered, whined in protest at his chest being exposed. “Duo,” he complained, arms crossed over his chest. “It's cold.

Duo laughed, he couldn't help it, and wrapped his arms around Wufei's torso, kissing his neck, cradling him back. “I'm sorry, baby,” he teased, reaching down to hold Wufei's generous cock in his hand, stroking slowly. “Can I make it better?”

“Lay down,” Wufei said, looking back over his shoulder. Duo's heart stopped. “Let me ride you.”

Well that was a temptation Duo certainly wasn't going to say no to. He laid back, carefully bending his legs so Wufei didn't slide off his cock. Not that he couldn't have climbed back on, but it was nice to stay connected like that, especially as Wufei started to turn his body around to face him. Christ, he was flexible. He was flexible but more than that he was beautiful, and as he spread his thighs, as he sank lower and tipped his head back Duo could do nothing but stare up at him, enraptured.

“'Fei,” he breathed. “You look so amazing.

Because I'm riding your cock?” Wufei asked, breathless with laughter as he started to gently rock his hips back and forth.

Because you're mine,” Duo replied, without even thinking about it. Wasn't that was Wufei had said the night before? You're mine.

Wufei looked down at him, eyes unguarded and bright with surprise and something even Duo had the emotional sense to recognize as affection. “Yes,” he said, sliding up and down, very slowly. The words were reassuring, affirming. “Yes, Duo. I'm yours.

Duo reached out a hand and took Wufei's cock in hand. It was warm in his palm, dark—he slid the foreskin down to reveal the wet, pink tip. Duo carefully slid his thumb over the sensitive skin and watched as Wufei dropped his head to one side and groaned, arched his back and tightened up. Duo lifted his legs, bent his knees and used his free hand to push Wufei back against his thighs, offering leverage. Wufei smiled down at him and it was... Shit, it was. Stunning. Beautiful. Like the fucking sun rising up over the crest of the earth, bright and awesome. Duo wondered if anyone else had ever seen Wufei smile like that. He wondered if he could hunt them down and kill them, so the sight could be his and his alone.

“Oh,” Wufei's legs were shaking with the strain of moving his body up and down. Duo watched him, let him thrust into his hand, drop down onto his cock, listened to him groan and pant and cuss in Mandarin, watched him bite his lip and claw one hand across his chest to leave bright red marks—watched him pull his nipple rings, cup his ballsac and tug. Watched him cum, his eyes wide and bright and open, his cock twitching as he fell forward onto his hands and worked himself back almost frantically, bucking, squeezing around Duo's dick so tight that Duo came before he really knew what was happening—jerking his hips up and feeling Wufei's cock giving another soft spit of semen against his palm as he rode himself back against Duo's pelvis.

“Shit,” Wufei panted, his elbows locked and his arms shaking, his head dropped and his face hidden behind his hair. “Shit, oh shit.”

“That was fuckin' glorious,” Duo breathed, rolling them over so he could look down at Wufei, panting beneath him, pink-cheeked. “ChristWufei.”

Love it when you say my name,” Wufei whispered, a teasing little smile on his face as he echoed Duo's words from the night before. “So good.

“Yeah,” Duo breathed, swallowing hard. “So fuckin' good.”

><><><><

The two of them spent nearly four days cooped up in the apartment doing nothing but having sex, watching old earth documentaries, and sitting uncomfortably close together. Well. Perhaps it would have been uncomfortably close to anyone else, but to Duo it simply felt natural to be so close to Wufei, to be in his personal space when they were eating, or drinking coffee, or working out in the garage. Wufei didn't seem to mind it; in fact he seemed to prefer it, always stepping closer when he didn't think Duo was near enough.

But all good things must come to an end, and Wufei had to leave to get food, eventually. Duo got dressed in clean clothes from his go-bag, which he'd dropped just inside the door when he'd arrived, and took Wufei up on his offer of a clean t-shirt with some Chinese lettering on it.

“It's too big for me,” Wufei said, as he offered it to Duo. “So it should fit you just fine.”

“What's it say,” Duo asked, frowning at the symbols. His reading had never been very good, not even in English, nevermind in any of the languages he actually spoke.

Match for a thousand,” Wufei said, smiling over at him as he pulled on a hoodie and adjusted the belt in his jeans. He looked so much like a normal person that Duo had to stop and stare. He hadn't seen Wufei in anything other than a suit (or his birthday suit) in years—it was startling to see him there, pulling his hair free of the hood to braid it over one shoulder, shoving his feet into a pair of cheap canvas sneakers.

“...What,” Wufei asked, blinking over at where Duo was half-laced into one of his own sneakers, the shirt ready to be pulled over his head. “Duo?”

“You just,” he started, swallowing. Honesty is the best policy. I trust you. “You look real good, that's all.” Wufei looked down at himself and cocked an eyebrow at Duo, who shrugged and tugged the shirt over his head. When his head popped out of the neck Wufei was standing right in front of him, as he'd known he was. His spatial awareness hadn't suffered since the war, not when someone was four inches away from his body.

“So do you,” Wufei murmured, giving him a soft kiss on the mouth. “Now get laced up, we gotta go before the market closes up for the day.”

Duo felt something closer to flabbergasted as Wufei took his hand and led him down the street. The aura of L5 was one of congenial poverty—old men and women smoking long pipes on porches, dirty children playing in the streets, women and men hanging laundry from windows, a cacophony of Asian languages spoken loudly—Duo could hear Thai, Vietnamese, a type of patois he knew was from Laos. Cambodian, Indian, Japanese, Balinese and Indonesian. Some words he knew, others he didn't, and as he followed Wufei to the marketplace he just... Enjoyed the racket of it all. It drowned out the sounds of the colony, the turn of turbines and the whoosh of vents, the inner workings of a mechanical world that only barely separated them from the vacuum just outside. There was laundry hung everywhere, there were colorful banners and flags, religious and fortune bells, little shrines outside some houses that must have also functioned as churches, and even though everything was covered with the slight grey grime that came from colony living, it felt like a place full of undeniable life.

Duo wondered if living in a place that was so full of color, movement and sound helped against space madness. Wondered if that was why Wufei had chosen this place instead of L4, where Quatre surely would have given him the best of the best in living conditions and quarters, or even Old China, down on Earth. Though perhaps like Duo, Wufei had never really felt in place on Earth. Maybe he would ask him, someday.

He let Wufei lead him through the market—which smelled like rice, overripe fruit, soaking tofu and dried meat. He listened to Wufei banter in Cantonese, Balinese and Korean over food, exchanging credits or sometimes just cards with Chinese characters on them. He did his best to talk to anyone who talked to him—mostly old women who eyed him up and down very suspiciously, and one little girl who begged him to let her touch his hair. He crouched to let her do so, smiled when her eyes lit up with delight and she babbled in Indonesian that she hoped her own hair grew that long, someday.

Duo felt very overwhelmed by all of it, in a good way. But before he knew he was getting overstimulated Wufei had led him away from the main thoroughfare and back towards the quiet street his apartment was on. Duo hadn't even realized how tense he was until his shoulders dropped, and his hand loosened against Wufei's in something like relief.

“Wow,” he said, looking over at the other man, who gave him a laugh.

“Mm,” Wufei replied, leading him inside. “Come on.”

There was always sound in Wufei's home, Duo noticed. Some kind of ambient not-quite-quiet, a hum like the idling engine of a gundam. It comforted him more than he'd noticed, as he sat down on the floor and watched Wufei unpack the food, putting the few perishables into the mini-fridge and putting the non-perishables into the small cabinets.

“It sounds like a cockpit in here,” he said, and Wufei looked over at him, quiet and considering.

“Yes,” he said, moving to sit down beside Duo with four soft plums. “It... I modified the air circulation system. It was too quiet, I couldn't sleep.”

“Yeah,” Duo nodded, looking at the plum Wufei dropped into his palms. It was small and dark and just barely off from overripe, so it would be sweet in his mouth. “Yeah, I uh. Used to sleep in the engine room. Couldn't stay in the cabin, y'know? Too quiet, like you said.”

There was a moment of silence, and Duo took a bite of the plum with an almost sardonic laugh. “We're so fucked up, Wufei.”

“We are,” Wufei admitted, looking over at him and taking a bite of his own plum. It seemed to split against his mouth, juice dripping down his lip and chin that he caught with his fingers and a startled laugh. It was so fucking beautiful. He was beautiful, this place was beautiful. Duo hadn't felt so... So fucking content and safe since the war ended. He'd always been looking over his shoulder, always waiting for the gunshot, for the scrape of metal to metal but there was none of that here. Nothing but Wufei sitting cross-legged beside him, laughing as plum juice slid down his chin, his palms as he cradled the offending fruit.

I could stay like this, Duo thought suddenly. I could just. Stay here, like this.

The idea seemed so insanely unbelievable. Where would he live, what would he do? What kind of use could he make of himself here, where Wufei had already built his life? What would happen to his ship? What... What would happen to the two of them, if they stayed together for too long?

“Duo?” Wufei asked, and Duo looked over at him, startled out of his thoughts. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” he replied, weakly, knowing Wufei would know he was... Not quite lying, but not really telling the truth, either. “Yeah, I was just... Just thinkin', that's all.”

“About what,” Wufei asked, and Duo pursed his lips.

“...Colony's short on water, right? N'other stuff.”

“Yeah,” Wufei replied, shrugging. “Most of them are, though.”

“The rig I captain,” Duo said, very slowly. “S'a supercargo, you know. Big. Fits a lot of shit.”

“Okay,” Wufei replied, blinking, taking another bite of his plum and licking his lips.

“So I mean, I could... Bring shit. Supplies. Bottled water n'stuff. I got a fly permit, I can bring stuff from Earth n'all that. Stuff you need.” Duo knew he wasn't being very eloquent. Wasn't really speaking very well but he was nervous and trying to avoid saying what he wanted to say, which was I could help your community, and I could come home to you.

Home. That was it, wasn't it? Wufei, this place, felt like home. Duo hadn't known that feeling since the war started, not really. Always moving, always going, always changing places or running away or... But Wufei was here. Said he'd always be here, said he wouldn't leave and Duo believed him because what else could he do? Wufei wouldn't lie to him, not after all this time, would he? No, he wouldn't. Duo was sure of it.

“Duo,” Wufei said, his voice firm and serious. “You shouldn't—we can't give you anything, you know that, don't you? This colony, it... It has nothing to give.”

“I don't need nothin,” Duo mumbled, looking down at his plum. “You think I ain't got black accounts like the rest of us, you think I ain't got more money than fuckin' Solomon? I ain't in it for the money, 'Fei, you know I ain't.”

“Duo,” Wufei started, and Duo cut him off.

I'm in it for you.” The Mandarin rolled easily off his tongue, and he watched Wufei's expression change from one of confusion to one of... Something soft. Something accepting, something almost tender that wasn't a cage, wasn't a rope, wasn't a noose to tie him with. Just... And Duo couldn't stop himself, he kept talking, god he couldn't stop, even though he desperately wanted to. “I'm in it for you, 'Fei. I don't—I don't wanna get back on a fuckin' ship n'know I ain't comin' back 'less I have another fuckin' breakdown, I want—I want space, I want my fuckin' freedom but Jesus, Wufei, please,” he felt so weak and disgusting, like a man begging to be saved. “I want you. God help I'm so fuckin' selfish, but I want my freedom and I want you, too.

Duo looked down at his hands, taking deep, gulping breaths, so close to panic he could feel the urge to run racing up his legs. He started to get up. He started to get up and gasped when Wufei grabbed him by the lapels and yanked him in close, staring at him with those dark, dark eyes. They were brown, Duo noticed. A dark, clear brown.

If you think I'm going to let you walk out that door, Maxwell,” Wufei hissed, his voice delicate. “If you think I'm going to let you leave me without your solemn vow you're coming back, I'll never—never look at you again. Do you understand me. I'm not leaving, Duo, so you can't leave.” Wufei's voice was stained with a desperation Duo hadn't been able to recognize in himself, but heard clearly as Wufei pressed their forehead together, the bridges of their noses side by side, their breath mingling, the smell and taste of plum on their lips. “You can't leave me without promising me you'll come back, Duo. You have to come back.

There was something important, there. There was something horrible and dark and important as Wufei's hands fisted bone-grindingly hard in his jacket and clenched, pulled him closer, jerked him a little. “You have to come back to me.

Maybe someone had left Wufei. Maybe he'd lost someone. Duo didn't know what the cause was but he reached up and took Wufei's tight fists in his hands, smoothed his thumbs over the white knuckles. He listened to Wufei's breath even out, very slowly. Listened to his hisses become panting, watched his eyes squeeze closed and was somehow not surprised to see tears on his cheeks, his bared teeth. Wufei had always been so emotional. Duo wasn't sure who Wufei thought he'd been fooling during the war but it had always seemed so clear to him that Wufei was soft on the inside where it mattered, just like Trowa. That he probably bruised like a peach and was thus afraid to let anyone close enough to do any damage.

Duo was close enough to do damage. A lot of damage, he could see now that he knew what he was looking at. He brought Wufei's hand up to his mouth, kissed his knuckles. Kissed his fingers, leaned forward to kiss his lips. They tasted like plum, sweet and tart as Duo licked them, licked into them, tasted Wufei's tongue against his own. The kiss was not frantic, not yet. He kissed Wufei's chin, his cheeks and the bridge of his straight nose. He kissed Wufei's hairline, his temple, his ear.

I won't leave,” Duo promised. “I ain't gonna leave you, 'Fei. I swear. Need you too bad.

Need you too,” Wufei whispered, his voice tight and his eyes squeezed closed. Duo kissed his eyelids, the crease in his brow. He dropped little kisses all over Wufei's face until the tension in his jaw disappeared, until he was relaxed, his hands now only holding on to Duo's shirt, instead of grabbing at him. The frightened desperation had fled as quickly as it had come.

Wufei had dropped his plum to the low table. Duo had squeezed his to a juicy pulp, and together the two of them licked his fingers clean between tired laughs and soft, soft kisses.

><><><><

The supercargo Santa Helena came back to L5 a week later. Duo had input the lists of requests onto his tablet and grudgingly allowed Wufei to transfer credits into his known accounts, to at least make the business seem legitimate.

“I'll be back soon,” he promised, as Wufei looked at the floor, at the ship, at anything but him. “Hey, 'Fei. Look at me.” Duo reached out and took Wufei gently by the chin, brought his head up to face him. He had a feeling that if anyone else had done that, they'd have lost an arm. “I'll be back soon. Two or three weeks, tops. Okay?”

“Okay,” Wufei breathed out, visibly trying to relax. Duo smiled, leaned forward to press their foreheads together and wasn't surprised when Wufei wound his arms around his waist on the inside of his coat. Duo let him, pressed his cheek to the side of Wufei's head and listened to him speak against his throat.

Promise you'll come back, Duo.

“I promise.”

Wufei let go after a moment, clearly disgusted with himself for getting so emotional. “Go on,” he said, trying very hard not to look as flustered as he felt. “Get out of here already. The sooner you leave, the sooner you can come back.”

“Yeah,” Duo laughed, and reached up beneath his braid to unhook the clasp on the little gold cross he wore. His nice one—the one given to him by the woman his ship had been named for—was kept in the captains quarters; this was the one he wore every day. The cross itself was smooth and worn to the shape of his clavicle, and as he hooked the clasp around Wufei's neck he had to smile that it cradled perfectly against his body. “It's a promise,” he said, when Wufei opened his mouth. “I'm gonna come back for that, so you better still be here.”

Wufei looked at him and Duo felt an eternity pass between them as they stood there on the launch deck. “I'll be here,” he whispered. “I told you. I promised. I won't leave.

And I promise I'll come back,” Duo replied, giving him one last kiss as the horn sounded for launch. “Need you too bad, to be gone for long, trust me. Even though,” he tapped the cross that hung on Wufei's chest. “It looks good on you.

“Duo—”

Duo offered him a smile, backed away. He didn't let go until he had to, dashing aboard just as the hatch doors were closing. Wufei was ushered out of the bay, the area locked down before the doors to the vacuum of space opened up beyond. Duo stood on board the Santa Helena, rubbing at the place on his neck where Wufei had sucked a passionate bruise as he'd ridden him up and down, clutched desperately at him, tore his fingernails over his skin and driven himself to the edge and backed away over and over, so many times that when Duo finally yanked him down and held him in place, fucked up against him he'd screamed out his name, wrapped his arms around Duo's neck and shaken to pieces. Duo had never known such an incredible lover and he knew, quietly, that he never would need to know another.

Wufei would wait for him. He'd be there, when Duo got back. He trusted Wufei, and Wufei trusted him. That made the return worth any parting, any wait in the world.