Love, Drag and the Kinsey Scale
by Casey Valhalla
I made a face at myself in the bathroom mirror. The eyeliner wasn't cooperating
The door opened while I was busy grabbing a tissue and attempting to correct some
of the mess on my right eyelid. After several minutes of silence, aware that there
was a presence behind me, I turned around to see Quatre standing in the doorway,
jaw hanging open, half-forgotten cigarette burning between his fingers. Muted
strains of Veruca Salt wafted past him from the dorm room beyond.
My first positive reaction for the evening. Things were rolling along quite well.
He was wearing a dark gray pinstriped suit, three piece, that fit him like it was tailor-
made - which is exactly what I told him when he bought it at a thrift store two weeks
ago. Of course at the time he didn't have his blonde hair slicked back and wasn't
wearing a choker of gold chain, so I took the opportunity to give him a once-over.
"You don't look too bad yourself."
He looked fantastic. It was a shame he was my roommate.
Quatre gave me a crooked smile and leaned against the wall by the sink, prodding
the pile of cosmetics I had dumped on the counter. I stole the cigarette still dangling
from his hand and took a long drag before returning it. I usually didn't smoke unless
I was drinking, but there's nothing wrong with getting a head start.
"Really, Heero. I'll have to have you dress me up sometime."
I smirked at him and returned to my eternal struggle with the monstrosity called black
eyeliner. "Don't tempt me."
"You need help with that?"
"Are you sure?"
"Where'd you get the dress?"
The item in question was a hot little number in midnight blue satin with a black lace
overlay, mid-thigh in length with spaghetti straps.
"I acquired it from a friend in high school."
Quatre proceeded to give me a similar once-over and crooked an eyebrow at me.
"I don't do this halfway, Q."
Lipstick. A much easier operation. The eyeliner still wasn't perfect, but it was
"Shouldn't you be wearing *red* lipstick?"
"It disagrees with my skin tone." A discovery made by accident. Since then I've
kept with cool lavender shades, sometimes pink if I'm feeling particularly pretty.
Speaking of which-
The opposite door to the shared bathroom burst open and Wufei stuck his head in.
"Hey guys, are you - holy *shit*!"
"Almost ready." Positive reaction number two. I was definitely on a roll.
"Uh..." Wufei gaped at me for a moment before wiping the dumb expression from
his face and straightening his hat. I noted that his choice of evening wear gave him
a disturbing resemblance to Michael Jackson - from the "Bad" video, in particular.
Massive Attack was blaring on the stereo in his half of the suite, causing an
interesting clash of musical tastes in the small bathroom. "I'm gonna go get the car
and pick up Meiran. Meet you two out back in about ten minutes?"
Wufei made a less-than-graceful exit with a muffled, "Damn."
I chuckled and studied my reflection in the mirror. The hair was always the hardest.
It had taken several hours of argument with a borrowed straightening iron and most
of a can of pomade to get my unruly coif to lay flat. I parted it down the center to give
the impression of a stylish bob.
In retrospect, a wig would have been easier. But wigs look fake, and as I told
Quatre, I never do this halfway.
I wear black nylons. Fishnet, I know, is more traditional, but it looks tacky. I wear
strappy black platforms. Stiletto heels are just too much of a pain to walk around in.
My nails are painted blue to match my dress. Tiny silver hoops in my earlobes,
simple silver chain around my neck and left wrist, and the masquerade is complete.
Drag is a performance, after all.
I usually don't accept rides from Wufei. For one very good reason.
"Did Trowa actually come up with the 'Pimps and Ho's' theme?" the young man in
question asked as he accelerated from twenty-five to 60 in a 30mph zone.
I, personally, was hanging on to the 'oh shit' handle for dear life. "No, I think it was
one of his roommates."
"They bought two kegs." And Quatre knew this *how*? I would have to talk to
Trowa. It appeared my long-time friend's passing interest in my roommate had yet
to actually pass.
Wufei spun the wheel one-handed, burning rubber across the surface of an
unsuspecting intersection. "I thought Tro only drank hard alcohol."
"Who's running the music tonight?" Meiran shifted in her seat to peer back at
Quatre and I, the former partially curled into a fetal position.
"I think Nick claimed sole access to the stereo system." Wheels screeched as her
boyfriend slowed behind a vehicle that was actually doing the speed limit. He
cursed under his breath.
Who the hell was Nick?
Quatre shrank away from the back of the bucket seat containing one road-rage
consumed driver, but smiled brightly at Meiran. "How much you wanna bet Duo'll
change that by the end of the night?"
"If nothing else Tro'll probably break out his personal stash for us." Did I miss part of
the conversation? Wait a minute...
"He's got vodka, doesn't he?" Wufei tapped his fingers impatiently on the steering
wheel and glanced backwards at his blind spot.
I braced myself for a peel-out. Wait... "Wait - did you say *Duo* is going to be
there? Duo Maxwell?"
"Mmmm, he's *so* hot." Meiran swooned distinctly, then froze up as the car jumped
Wufei glowered at her and stomped on the gas. Fifty-five in a 25. "Hey! What am I,
"Who invited him?" I was going to strangle whoever it was.
Meiran smiled consolingly and patted Wufei's thigh. "Yes, but you're *my* chopped
Quatre, having infinitely more knowledge about the situation than I expected him to,
looked to me warily as the car swerved around another turn. "Trowa did. They have
Psych 201 together."
Great. Just great.
Duo Maxwell. The single most infuriating man I have ever known, for a variety of
different reasons. Not the least of which being that I wanted him.
Wufei's car jolted to a halt at a curb alongside a ramshackle blue house only fit for
habitation by college students. Two stories, every light on, door open, rock music
pouring out onto the street. A knot of people was already forming on the porch,
cigarettes lit, plastic cups in hand.
The place broadcasted 'party' for a two-mile radius.
I slid out of the car as Wufei offered a hand to his girlfriend. Meiran was dressed to
kill - or possibly work a corner - in a form-hugging red dress, with the prerequisite
fishnet stockings and matching heels. She looked me over as the four of us started
up the walk, and offered a cheeky grin.
"Your bra straps are showing."
I crooked a smile back at her. "So are yours."
She raised a manicured eyebrow. "Why Heero, whenever did *you* become so
"When I put the dress on." I reached out and gave her loose black hair a playful tug.
"It's all part of the show."
Let me digress, just a bit.
I was introduced to crossdressing by the aforementioned friend in high school. It
was a Halloween caper I indulged in for her amusement, but something clicked
when I looked at myself in the mirror that first time, seeing a woman instead of a
The process and results of gender-bending are difficult to describe. You feel
powerful. You feel like an actor on stage, with the world as your audience. You are
deceiving them. You are challenging them. And at the same time you are giving
yourself the freedom to be someone you're not.
Tonight I intend to give my grandest performance yet.
Trowa rushed to the foyer when we stepped inside, the cheerful expression on his
face suggesting he had already broken into his 'private stash'. He had somehow
procured a white suit and a cane, topped off with several garish gold necklaces.
"Evening gentlemen..." his one visible eye flickered over me. "Ladies."
Wufei snorted. "It's just Heero in drag. I don't think he counts as a lady."
Trowa raised his eyebrow and looked adorably confused. "Why not?"
"Never mind." Wufei rolled his eyes. "Where's the booze?"
I scanned the crowd as he pointed them off to the kitchen, noting every look cast in
my direction. Appreciation. Desire. Amusement. Disgust. Fear.
College students have an amazing range of comfort zones.
"I took the liberty of inviting the object of your affections."
I narrowed my eyes at Trowa. "I heard. What the hell are you trying to do to me?"
He grinned at me. Yes, grinned. I am one of the few people Trowa Barton has ever
grinned at. Familiarity can make you do crazy things.
Then he turned and wound his way through the crowd, leaving me to my own
Whoever this 'Nick' person was running the music was doing a pretty good job. A
techno song I vaguely recognized came to an end as I continued eyeing the mass of
dancing bodies, and another song started. One I knew I recognized.
One I couldn't possibly *not* dance to.
It's a little known fact that I love to dance. No one has ever accused me of being
good at it, but honestly, how 'good' does one have to be to wiggle around in time to
a beat? I slid carefully into the mass of bodies as the drum intro started, and found
myself alongside one Dorothy Catalonia.
Who was, incidentally, also in drag. Navy blue dress slacks and a pinstriped vest,
her mass of platinum hair tied into a ponytail. She even went to the discomfort of
binding her chest.
It's nice to know I'm not the only person who doesn't settle for halfway.
Her eyes brightened as soon as she recognized me. "Looking good, Heero."
"Same to you."
"Alone tonight?" She offered an enticing smile and made a formal bow. "Or will one
of your many suitors challenge me to a duel if I ask you for a dance?"
I dropped a curtsey and took her hand. "I don't know about you, young man, but
*this* lady is predominantly available."
She laughed lightly and stepped closer until our bodies were flush, both of us
moving suggestively against each other in time to the beat. She was taller than me,
which was funny most of the time, but in our respective assumed gender roles it
complimented the masquerade. The costumes, the dance, all part of the
performance - she expected nothing of me, and I certainly wanted nothing of her.
She was a friend, yes, and a good one, but this was just a show. I cast my eyes
over the crowd again, to see who was watching.
Yes, this is me. I am a boy in a dress. I have power over you. If you adore me, you
give me power. If you fear me, you give me power. I have power because I am
pushing the limits of my gender, because I am challenging your level of tolerance. I
am questioning your sense of morality.
I am not like you.
/so what'cha what'cha what'cha want?
you're so funny with the money that you flaunt
I said where'd you get your information from?
you think that you can front when the revelation comes/
My favorite part of the song: the guitar rifts. At this point our dance was most
definitely a grind, our knees between each other's legs, our hips spiraling together,
and I swear every voice in the crowd was singing along.
There is something marvelously freeing about meaningless eroticism.
Then I turned slightly and caught a glimpse of a chestnut braid.
Duo Maxwell. Duo Maxwell the flirt. Duo Maxwell the tease. Duo Maxwell the man
who could take any god-fearing human being regardless of gender or virtue and
drive them insane with lust without so much as touching them. Then proceed to turn
around the next day and pretend nothing had happened.
His flings were college legend. I knew what I did from watching him, and being at
the receiving end of his flirtatious escapades at more than one party - when,
inevitably, he always left with someone else.
How did I know the guy to begin with? Queer Lit. Seriously. Second semester of
freshman year he sauntered into the classroom, all black denim and purple eyes,
slid into the seat right in front of me and blithely introduced himself.
He's been driving me crazy ever since.
But I digress. Again.
He was dancing. Which alone would be enough of a problem, but he was decked
out in tight black slacks and an unbuttoned white dress shirt, displaying his
magnificently toned torso for the world to see. I know for a fact that Duo Maxwell can
look delicious in any situation, including when he's just fallen out of bed in the
clothes he's worn and slept in for the last five days with his knee-length hair tangled
into a rats nest and circles under his eyes. Everyone living in a dormitory sees
everyone else at their worst at one point or another. I would have jumped him on the
spot if I'd thought for a minute my attentions would be welcomed. Therein lies the
problem - despite legend, despite rumor, *no one* knows where Duo Maxwell's
preferences actually lie.
But in this getup, in this scene, he was beyond delicious.
I think the word I'm looking for is 'decadent.'
He saw me.
Purple eyes gleamed.
/well I think I'm losing my mind this time
this time I'm losing my mind, that's right
said I think I'm losing my mind this time
this time I'm losing my mind/
I give up. I had it bad for the guy.
"Go get 'im, sweetie," Dorothy whispered in my ear. She dropped a kiss on my
cheek and was gone, vanished into the crowd of dancers.
Leaving me on my own to deal with Duo.
Suddenly he was right next to me. I hate it when he does that. Even the spinning
guitar rifts in the background couldn't hold my attention. He was gazing at me
thoughtfully, an amused smirk on his face. Up. Down. Up again.
"Like what you see, soldier?"
"Damn, Heero, you make one hot chick!"
Positive reaction number... ah, hell. "Wanna dance?"
"We *are* dancing."
So we were. Damn. "So are you supposed to be a pimp, or a prostitute?"
"That's the beauty of this costume." He raised one finger to his lips in a gesture of
secrecy, and winked. "You're not supposed to know."
I don't think he's strayed far from ambiguity for a single day of his life. Leave it to
me to fall for the ones I can't figure out. "You weren't in class today."
"Wha'd I miss?" Note that he failed to explain said absence.
"Not much. Still going over the Kinsey Scale. That guy Matt started a debate."
Duo chuckled and spun behind me. I almost turned, then felt his arm slip around my
waist and his chin rest on my shoulder. We were barely touching, but I could feel the
heat radiating off him against my back.
Dear sweet fucking god...
"Matt *always* starts a debate."
Shit. I forgot what we were talking about. I could feel his breath against my neck
when he spoke.
"What do you think of it, anyway?"
Fuck. Sensory overload. But I don't have to be myself tonight. Two can play at this
He started it, anyway.
"I think it's an interesting concept," I replied smoothly. I reached back with one hand
to cradle his head, twining my fingers in his hair. My other hand rested on the arm
that circled my waist. "But unnecessary."
He wasn't getting away anytime soon.
For some reason he seemed to find all this highly amusing and pulled me closer.
"So you're of the belief that one can't chart one's sexual identity?"
"It's a process." Someone up there likes me after all. I was at a party, in drag,
dancing with Duo Maxwell, and having *this* conversation with him. I might just have
to thank Trowa. "I'm nineteen years old, and all I know for certain is that I'm most
definitely *not* straight."
He was laughing. I could feel the vibrations through my skin. "And where on the
scale do you think I'd land?"
I snorted, and edged into his embrace until his chest was flush with my back. I
decided to experiment and moved my hips slightly, satisfied when I heard him take
a sharp breath. "I think you have your own damn scale, and constantly fluctuate
along it depending on your mood, the weather, level of intoxication and proximity to
He blinked. I know. His eyelashes fluttered against my ear. "Wait a minute. Are
you calling me a slut?"
"No, I'm calling you indecisive. A slut would have jumped my bones by now."
Oops. Got a little carried away there.
I felt him tense behind me, and continued. "What, the thought never crossed your
"I need a drink."
"So do I. Shall we?"
Unfortunately that meant the dance was over. Duo started heading for the kitchen,
but I noticed Trowa motioning to me and grabbed the braided man's arm. "I think
one of our hosts might have some better offerings."
He turned back and grinned disarmingly. "Good old Trowa."
Two shots of vodka and a screwdriver later found me back in the living room,
wandering the crowd and looking for Duo. He'd slipped out of Trowa's room
sometime between the first and second shot, which didn't surprise me. He wasn't
the kind of person who liked to stay in one place for too long, and we were taking
our sweet time.
I finally bummed a cigarette off of Quatre and snuck onto the back porch for a break.
Duo-hunting is tiring work. Not to mention frustrating. On several levels.
Lo and behold, the object of my search was already outside, sitting on a folding
chair with a plastic cup in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.
No one else in sight.
He graced me with a charming smile. "Hey, Heero. Need a light?"
He set aside his drink and flicked open a zippo. Light. Inhale. Exhale. Ah,
"Have a seat."
I did. Right in his lap. I crossed my legs, ladylike, and settled my arm around his
He didn't say anything. I didn't say anything. The moon winked pale light through
the branches of a tree. It was perfect. The cigarettes burnt out and were flicked
over the porch railing. He turned his head, his nose nuzzling the base of my neck...
"You smell good..."
His mouth brushed my skin, and I couldn't take it anymore. I reached out, caught his
chin and tilted his face up, and pressed my lips to his.
He froze, then relaxed and started kissing me back. His mouth was cool and warm
at the same time. His hand reached up to touch my hair just above my ear. Our
tongues touched and moved against each other. I don't know who initiated that, but I
didn't care. Someone was whimpering. He tasted like rum and coke and
cigarettes. His skin was soft, and he was warm, so warm... Christ in heaven, I
Vaguely, I was aware that his hand had left my hair and was sliding up my leg, cool
through the nylon; that my fingers were trailing down his exposed chest. I pulled
away and gasped for air, and found myself looking down into his eyes.
They were wide and shining. Confused. Nervous.
I smiled slightly as it registered. I wanted to laugh out loud.
Duo Maxwell, the flirt, the tease, the pinnacle of sexuality to men and women alike,
had never kissed a boy before.
I leaned my forehead against his and caressed the length of his braid. "I'm going to
let you run now, because I know you need to."
He let out a long breath and closed his eyes, relieved.
"But I'm going to chase you, Duo Maxwell." I grinned and kissed him on the cheek
when he looked back up in surprise. "And I have never been one to do things
Two more screwdrivers and a beer later found me on Trowa's couch. The party was
over, the house strangely quiet without music blaring from the sound system. I,
personally, was fabulously drunk, and was more than happy to stay right where I was
and fall asleep.
The rule of removing makeup before bed be damned.
Duo had vanished again shortly after our tryst - if one could call it that - on the back
porch. One of the party guests informed me he had caught an early ride back to
My eyes fluttered open when I felt a blanket fall over me, and I looked up to see
Trowa, a smug smile on his face.
"You'll be okay here, Heero?"
I stretched one arm over my head, and gave him what had to be the biggest,
goofiest grin of my life. But he's allowed to see things like that.
"I kissed Duo Maxwell tonight."
His eyebrows shot up under that ridiculous bang of his. "No wonder you're in such a
I sighed. It was true.
Mark me down as another lovesick fool.
"Now if we could just get that cute roommate of yours to notice *my* existence, we'd
both be set."
Ah, so he *was* still hung up on Quatre, after all. I might just have to do something
"Go to bed, Trowa."
"At least put in a good word for me." Puppy-dog eyes. Another expression no one
else has ever seen.
"I will. Go to bed."
He walked away, calling his goodnight over his shoulder. "Sweet dreams, Heero."
Oh yes, I think I'll be having many sweet dreams tonight...