Disclaimers: I don't own any of the Gundam Wing rights. (I'll buy up as much as I can when I become rich.)

Pairings: 1x2/2x1
Rating: PG

Summary: Heero and Duo make an interesting wager.

Interlude - The Game
by D.C. Logan

There was no way he was going to let Duo win this round. But he wasn't entirely sure how much longer his control would hold out either. It had been a day of hard trials so far.

He'd agreed to the rematch of the contest knowing that his resolve was strong, his will was sure, and that he could counter any attack Duo sent his way. What he hadn't planned on was Duo's unique brand of inventiveness.

It was a simple game with only one rule: for the next twelve hours, neither of them could touch each other, the first one to do so lost the contest. And the usual forfeit was on the line, so Heero had no intention of losing.

They'd done this once before—it was Duo's idea. That round had gone to Heero, Duo hadn't been able to keep up with the game and begged (most persuasively if he remembered accurately) for an early ending to the contest.

Hn. Duo seemed a bit more, uh, motivated, this time around.

The contest had started at first light. He'd woken with an uncomfortable tightening in his groin and had rolled over in bed to catch sight of Duo standing in the doorway, completely naked, swinging the end of his braid in a vampish fashion. Heero had groaned in heartfelt response and rolled back to face the wall—thinking cold thoughts.

When he'd glanced back, Duo was gone—but it had set the tone for the rest of the morning. Even after a ten-minute shower with the taps turned to arctic, he'd had trouble pulling on his briefs.

He tried in vain to return Duo's favor, but leaving the shower door open and brewing coffee in the altogether didn't have its usual effect on his partner. Maybe it was the coffee. He sniffed it experimentally—Duo always said it was better suited for drain cleaner than beverage. He tasted it again, rolling the flavors in his mouth. Huh, it seemed all right to him.

Duo wandered into the kitchen a moment later, wearing his favorite shabby patchwork silk robe and nothing else. He'd slept in his braid, which looked like it was shedding its customary twist, and looked so ordinary that Heero wondered if he'd imagined the moment in the doorway earlier that morning.

He'd shuffled over to the sink and inspected the contents for a mug that wasn't too far beyond use. Only then had he looked Heero up and down, noting his complete nudity and partial erection, and shrugged noncommittally before pouring his coffee. He'd proceeded to collect his breakfast materials before sitting down at the table. Heero had stood there, flummoxed. He didn't know how Duo managed it. Two hours into the contest and he was dying, Duo looked sleepy and almost bored.

The rest of breakfast hadn't been much easier for him to cope with. With Trowa away on a mission, they were the only residents of the flat—which left the playing field wide open for Duo's games. Trust Duo to turn cornflakes into a sexual statement. And Heero nearly groaned when Duo had slowly but thoroughly licked the beads of condensation off the outside of his tall glass of orange juice. But the damn stunt with the butter knife had been the last straw.

Seeking relief, Heero had retreated to the relative security of his computer terminal and the shelter of loose clothing. He needed a distraction, any distraction from Duo's sublime torture. Twenty minutes later though, his solitude had been disturbed, very disturbed.

Duo had wandered in unannounced and sat on his bed, cross-legged with his hair wrapped turban style. He'd taken a hot shower in the interim, and Heero could smell the shampoo he used from where he sat at his desk. Cedarwood and sage. Without saying a word, Duo reached up and lightly toweled his damp hair before letting it cascade over his shoulders and into a damp pile in his lap. Heero caught himself mentally and stopped before he shifted in his seat and gave away his level of discomfort. How was Duo managing to do it? His shorts had been tented since Duo came into the room, well, okay, actually prior to then.

Duo had combed through his hair with his fingers, carefully unsnarling the strands and partitioning the longer portion into three segments, which he twisted and looped to his back. Dressed only in sweatpants, tied low around his waist, his hair shirting his back. Heero stole a glance at his partner's exposed chest and felt his shorts grow a size smaller as Duo reached up and back to begin braiding the mass into an orderly plait. He imagined the enjoyment he'd get out of unbraiding it later.

Heero felt his resolve weaken another notch. This was definitely harder than last time. He groaned silently. Yes, much harder. He turned his attention back to the monitor and did his best to concentrate on anything but the warm living body in the room with him. Specifications for the new OZ mobile suits, the next mission, even the damn weather, anything. Anything at all but what the quiet presence lounging behind him was doing.

He managed to pass the better part of the morning at his desk. But no work was done. He merely pretended to work, much as he pretended to ignore Duo. The object of his fixation calmly read a book while sprawled across his bed. His computer held none of the usual attraction. He scanned screens without comprehension, as his sensitive ears picked up every turning page, every nuance of Duo's breathing. His brain registered each minute creak of the bedsprings as Duo shifted position—on his side, on his back with knees bent, on his stomach with an elegant arm and elbow supporting his chin as he read his book. Page by turning page, chapter by chapter. As Heero remained trapped in his mental prison.

He'd decided to take a break for lunch much earlier than intended. He'd take his frustration out on food. Yeah. Right.

But then lunch hadn't been much of an improvement either. Duo was in rare form today, and had managed to twist an innocent question about what was available for lunch into yet another Heero torture moment. He'd shuffled back to his computer in defeat, leaving Duo laughing soundlessly into the cabinets.

Duo grinned now that Heero was out of the room and focused back on his computer. This was going better than he'd expected. Heero was really having a difficult time today.

He remembered the fruit juice that morning, and running his tongue over the exterior of the glass while eyeing Heero from the edges of his vision. He'd been pleased when he'd caught Heero tensing in reaction. The cornflakes thing had been pure dumb luck, he hadn't thought Heero would notice. And licking the butter directly from the knife had successfully chased him from the room. Duo hadn't even had a chance to make it to the banana thing he had planned. Well, he'd keep it on the list for the next time.

He'd intentionally used the shampoo Heero preferred during his morning shower, and had done his level best to spread his presence all over Heero's room. Knowing how much Heero enjoyed the feel of his hair, he thought it would work nicely if he cared for it in his presence—drying, brushing, and braiding. Shifting his body on the bed just often enough to keep Heero preoccupied, but not pushing so far as to break the leash he had on his control. But he so enjoyed fraying the rope to the breaking point—that was the joy of this game. Heero took it so seriously. Well, so did he, up to a certain point.

He paused to consider his progress up to now. Hmm, he thought the moment at lunch had gone rather well. Heero had asked what was in the fridge before realizing what Duo could do with such an open-ended question. He'd immediately taken the game to heart and had the time of his life pushing Heero's control to the absolute limit. He remembered the moment with a wide grin.

"Hey Heero! What do you think?" and he held a large carrot aloft suggestively with a grin.

He rummaged deeper into the refrigerator and emerged with a broad smile and a long green vegetable wrapped in protective plastic.

"Hey, how about this! A safe sex cucumber!" He turned and chortled back into the cool air, planning his next move. Aha. He turned, shut the door to the fridge, and leaned nonchalantly against it—still holding the carrot in his hand. He made sure Heero was still watching him, and took the first four inches of it deeply and slowly into his mouth before withdrawing it and biting off the first inch with a loud crunch. At the first move, Heero's eyes snapped to attention; at the second he winced in reaction.

Aha, gotcha.

Oh yes, the day was going exactly as planned. He wandered back to his room to see what else he could come up with. And grinned yet again at his unintentional pun.

Duo shifted restlessly on Heero's bed. The object of his attention was focused on his monitor again, but Duo saw the twitch of annoyance that meant Heero was reaching his limit.

He sighed deeply. Heero wasn't quite getting the point of this exercise....

It was time to end this.

He walked over and stood directly behind him, wrapping both arms tightly around the tensed muscles in Heero's chest. He could feel the erratic rhythm of his heart under the embrace. And felt a rush of joy and wonder that he had the power to elicit such a powerful reaction in the one he loved.

Heero's breathing caught, then resumed with a gasping exhalation that sounded almost like a soft curse. His eyes remained front focused, not daring to believe that this moment was real. He'd had too many waking dreams that day to fully trust his own tortured senses.

Duo leaned forward, his arms still circled around Heero, feeling the tightness of his body. He dared a small, gentle lick across the base of Heero's neck for emphasis and whispered lightly into his left ear two words: "I lose."

Heero spun the chair abruptly, dislodging Duo. He stood and turned to face him with his jaw dropped and eyes bright with surprise. But he'd been losing! Surely Duo knew that! How dare Duo give in now!

Duo grinned openly at the reaction he'd caused and, leaning over, kissed him full on his parted lips—and flicked his tongue lightly across the roof of Heero's mouth for good measure. And felt his body clench and shudder in response as he overcame his shock and deepened the kiss.

They broke apart, and Heero's eyes turned from shocked to dangerous in an instant, and Duo found himself lifted and slammed against the desk. It rocked with the combined impact of two bodies landing on top of it.

"Uh, Heero. Hey man, save the table."

"You should have thought of that before you conceded the contest."

"But think about your computer..."

"Okay, you've got a point. Bed or floor?"

"Who's gonna be on the bottom?"

"You are."

"Bed then. Splinters in private places are a literal pain in the ass."

Slightly euphoric with relieved tension, Heero let out a rare laugh and lifted Duo to the bed.


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