Disguise the Limit - Part 5
Duo's Friendship Arc 10
by Dyna Dee
Easing out of his deep, restful sleep, the pilot of Shenlong pulled the mass of warmth in front of him closer, he could smell flowers.
"Not so tight Wu." a voice complained and woke him from his deep rest.
"Sorry." he murmured and, as his memory returned, quickly released the other pilot as if he was a hot cylinder. He opened his eyes to see the top of Duo's head. Just over it was the clock brightly displaying that it was after eight o'clock.
"Heero is a genius." Wufei stated, pleased at the number of hours of uninterrupted sleep he'd gotten.
"Yeah, a fricken genius." Duo muttered as he rolled up and out of the bed.
Wufei looked up confused at the negative tone in Duo's voice, and pushing back his long hair from around his face, he watched as Duo stretched. "Didn't you sleep well?" He was curious at his friend's current attitude.
"I slept fine." His answer was brusque.
"Then why are you upset? And don't say you aren't." he quickly added, seeing Duo was just about to do that very thing. He watched as the American's arms stretched downward and became rigid, his fists clenched tightly and his lips pressed firmly together in anger.
"Duo?" the Chinese boy called out softly. "I'm sorry if I offended you."
The American seemed to relax his shoulders a bit and he bowed his head, shaking it slightly. "It's not your fault." Duo said quietly. "I just feel" he turned and seemed frustrated in how to express himself. "...confined, controlled. Maybe it's just triggered by having experienced what its like to be a female being pursued, ogled, and lusted after. Between that experience, being told what to do by the "Powers that Be", being ordered around by Heero, and now you, it's like....." He was breathing heavily now. "I have no say in my actions any more, no freedom. I even have to be restricted in my sleep!"
"Duo," Wufei began, but was instantly interrupted by his friend.
"Ah, forget it...." He said in disgust and waved his hand in dismissal. "Heero would say I'm being overly sensitive again. I'll just chalk this up to another lesson learned." He reached behind his back and freed his braid. "But I'll tell you one thing I've learned from this whole situation." he said as he turned towards the bathroom. "I'm going to treat girls and women differently than I have in the past." He disappeared through the door and the sound of the shower being turned on was heard.
Wufei leaned back, putting his head on his pillow and stared at the ceiling as he thoughtfully pondered the words his traveling companion had just spoken.
A half hour later when Duo came out from the bathroom, a cloud of steam trailed behind him. He was draped with a towel around his waist, his towel dried hair fell in damp tendrils about him, and he had his hairbrush in hand. He moved to sit on the bed and covered his legs with the blankets, and pulling a section of wet hair forward, began brushing out the moisture laden snarls.
"Duo," Wufei's voice sounded tentative. "I didn't .... I don't want you to think I'm trying to control you. Heero only gave me the lead because I had a plan and he trusts me to take care of you. I didn't have you dress like a girl to make you feel weak, but to help us evade capture. As for holding you in your sleep, well...."
Duo looked over to his friend's serious face, wearing a wary look on his own.
"You are horrible to sleep with." Wufei said with a measure of exasperation in his voice. "Last night is the best night's sleep I've had since we left the safehouse. But, if it makes you feel uncomfortable, we can take turns sleeping on the floor."
Duo smiled. Not his broad manic smile, but a small, relieved smile. "Thanks Wu, I'll let you know."
He grabbed the remote and clicked it on to watch a morning news show while he brushed his hair.
They spent the day much like the day before. Yet as the parking lot behind the hotel began to empty out that evening, the city workers returning to their homes, the two headed out of their room for dinner. The phone book listed a nearby Chinese restaurant that had a five star rating. As they studied the menu, Duo could see that Wufei was quite pleased at the selections offered, and with his permission to choose the food, The Chinese pilot turned to their waiter and ordered the meal in his native language. The waiter seemed pleased with this, and the two carried on in what seemed a lively conversation in their native language.
Not understanding a lot of Chinese, Duo turned his attention to his surroundings, and studied the decor of the room as the two chatted. It was tastefully decorated in black and white. Black modern tables and chairs took nothing away from a large painted dragon mural in the same colors with red and gold flecks on the scales. From the ceiling hung white lanterns with back wood trim.
Wufei nodded to the waiter as their conversation ended, and he looked across the table to the other pilot. Duo was dressed in the floral blouse and his own jeans and he wore his hair in a style similar to Relena's, a ribbon tied at the end of the single small braid dangling down the back. With his large, unusual colored eyes, wide in examination and appreciation of the decor, Wufei had to, once again, remind himself that this wasn't a girl in front of him, but his friend. His very male friend. 'Damn, he looks good.' he thought to himself in disbelief.
Duo's violet eyes turned to look at him with curiosity. "What? Too much blush?" he asked in reply to Wufei's stare.
Wufei squinted his eyes as if studying his face instead of ogling. "No, in fact, for this lighting, you might need more."
"I didn't bring it with me." the American frowned.
"You're fine." Wufei sat back with a smile, dismissing the others concern and glad he wasn't accused of ogling again.
They sat in comfortable silence surveying the restaurant and its patrons.
The meal came in stages, and Wufei described each dish to Duo. He looked at the large, whole, deep-fried fish with the crusty shell dubiously as it was placed on the table. The Chinese pilot cut the unusual fare open and placed a good sized piece on Duo's plate.
Coaxed into trying it, he took a small piece on his fork and hesitantly put it in his mouth. He didn't exactly hate fish, but it wasn't something he went out of his way for. His eyes opened wide in appreciation and a smile. "Ummm, it's good!" he declared quietly, much to Wufei's delight.
They were both unbelievably full when they left the restaurant two hours later.
"Thanks, Wu-man, that was great and I'm in an incredible amount of pain." Duo moaned.
"You must learn to know your limits, my friend." he answered feeling quite full himself.
Duo rubbed his stomach gently. "I know that last bite was my limit. No ice cream for me tonight."
There were quite a few people on the sidewalks that night, so they didn't pay any particular attention to the footsteps behind them until they were both grabbed from behind.
"What?" Duo gasped looking frantically at the arms encircling his chest, trapping his arms at his side. He immediately began to struggle and noticed Wufei was in the same type of body lock.
"Look who we have here." a semi-familiar voice mocked behind his ear. "The feisty little couple from the pizza joint."
Duo's body stiffened, and with eyes filled with apprehension he turned his head to look at Wufei.
"Let her go!" Wufei ordered, his voice as cold and lethal as a steel blade.
"I'm not going to hurt her." the man behind Duo said. "She's so pretty, I just want a taste of what I was denied the other night." The man shifted his arms to take a different hold on the squirming body trapped against him, his large and powerful left arm wrapped tightly around the slender body's waist, pinning both arms and securing the beauty's back against his chest. The man's freed right arm then moved up, and his hand firmly gripped the long silky hair near the nape of his prisoner's slender neck.
Duo winced as his hair was ruthlessly grabbed and pulled downward, and his face was forced up and sideways. He glimpsed the face of the guy from the other night just an instant before his lips were crushed under his attackers, forcing his lips open. The other's mouth tasted of beer and garlic. Maybe it was the taste, or the smell, or the fact that a guy was kissing him, or that his stomach was being tightly squeezed while obscenely full, or maybe it was a combination of all the above that caused the bile and the just eaten meal to rise from his stomach. He almost choked as he violently threw up into his attacker's mouth. Instantaneously, he was angrily tossed aside and off of the sidewalk and into the street as the larger man reacted to the situation. Stumbling to maintain his balance and somehow managing to stay on his feet after being flung, Duo bent in half and brushed his hair aside as his stomach continued to heave as he threw up the remainder of his meal into the gutter.
After wiping the vomit from off his face with the back of his hand, the now livid attacker venomously glared at the girl standing in the street still heaving. Taking the few steps forward, he drew back his arm and swung with all his might, hitting the unaware girl on the side of her head, knocking her down to the ground, her head hitting the curb with a dull thud, and she lay still.
Wufei broke free of his hold as the man who held him reacted to the scene playing out before them. "Are you out of your mind, Bill? Leave her alone." the man behind him said in shock. Wufei went for the idiot, Bill. One hit or kick might have taught him a lesson, but the Shenlong pilot was livid.
"Never," he kicked the surprised man in the stomach, "hit" then roundhouse kicked his bent head on the left side, "a" a slam of his fist upward to keep him from falling and brought the now suffering man upward. "woman." he gave a final kick to the face, breaking the offenders nose and knocking out a few teeth. The man fell heavily to the sidewalk and ceased to move. The avenging Wufei turned in an attack position to the fallen man's companion. That man quickly put his hands up.
"I'm sorry." The other man trembled as he apologized quickly, his hands up in a surrendering pose, and turning, ran into the darkness, abandoning his unconscious and wounded companion.
Seeing no one else posing a threat, Wufei went quickly to Duo's side. He lay sprawled in the gutter, unconscious, his hair was spread out in a mess of tangles, covering him from the top of his head to his hips. Cars stopped and pedestrians began cautiously approaching them. Wufei picked his friend up carefully and ran down the street, leaving a group of concerned witnesses behind who then turned their attention to the prone man bleeding on the sidewalk.
Staying to the darkest shadows and hiding behind cars and other objects, Wufei managed to hide them from the view of anyone who might be able to report to the authorities of a boy carrying what appeared to be an unconscious girl. Going along the outside edge of the parking garage, he approached their room from the back of the hotel by edging around the perimeter. After fumbling for the key, he entered and gently lay the injured boy on the bed.
Getting a damp wash cloth from the bathroom, he wiped off Duo's face and any traces of blood and vomit from off his clothes and hair. He was a mess, even after his attempts to clean him up. He felt the growing knot on the right side of Duo's head where he had hit the curb. He left his companion's side for only a few moments to get the ice bucket filled, then put the large ice pieces into a hand towel and placed it gently against the swell.
Duo moaned, and after a moment, raised a trembling hand up to his head, his eyes squinted open to see the worried onyx eyes above him.
"Was I hit by a car?" his voice was scratchy and weak.
"A big, ugly behemoth that smelled terrible and had to be the world's worst kisser?"
Wufei nodded and tried very hard not to smile at Duo's apt description. To his surprise, Duo's mouth curved up into a small smile.
"Now what's funny?" he asked, confused by Duo's ever changing moods.
"Well,..... that was certainly a .... unique defensive move, huh?" The smile lingered, but the pained eyes closed.
"Yeah, emptying my engorged stomach into his mouth."
Despite the seriousness of their situation, Wufei returned the smile. "Unique is right. Never would have thought of that myself."
"Ah, stick with me Wu. I've got lots of tricks that aren't taught in a dojo." Duo's voice started to fade as he began to slip back into sleep. "Serves the bastard right for trying to kiss Shinigami. Yuck." he mumbled under his breath as he brought his hand up to wipe at his mouth with the heel of his hand, acting as if the action could wipe away the memory of what had happened.
"How about a shower?" Wufei asked, thinking he should keep his injured friend awake a little longer to evaluate his condition. Duo also smelled of vomit laced with the spices they had eaten that evening. Not a pleasant smell, and not one that the Chinese boy planned on sleeping next to that night.
"Bath..... bubbles." came the sleepy reply.
Wufei's eyes rolled to the ceiling realizing this was going to be a very long night.
The next morning found them both irritably cranky; Duo, for a horrendous headache and being awakened every hour, and Wufei for being up all night to do the waking. Having determined the other had a concussion, he woke him hourly. In silence, they both consumed the muffins, doughnuts, juice and milk Wufei had purchased that morning, and decided to go back to sleep. They both settled down on their respective sides of the bed.
"You better hold me if you plan on getting any sleep." Duo warned as he yawned.
Wufei promptly gathered the braided boy into his arms and both fell instantly to sleep.
They stayed within the room for the next two days. Duo slept a lot, recuperating from the concussion and the headache caused by the blows to his head. Wufei went out during the peek hours of pedestrian traffic to better blend with the city's crowds. He purchased magazines, puzzles, food and snacks to keep the both of them occupied. Daytime television was proving to be less than satisfactory in keeping them entertained.
On the morning of the third day after the incident, Wufei noted that Duo's facial color had returned to a more normal shade, and he didn't immediately ask for pain pills upon waking. Things were looking up. When he returned with breakfast, he also came back with good news.
"I think there are less soldiers in the city?" he reported to the boy still in bed. "I wasn't stopped even once this morning."
"Do you think it's safe to blow this place yet?" Duo asked as he brushed his hair.
"Maybe." Wufei again studied his companion. "How's your head?"
Wufei took a deep breath. "If you're up to it, we should check out the highway to see if the roadblock has been removed. With luck, we might be able to steal a vehicle and drive out of here.
"Why don't we go out the way we came in?" Duo asked, flipping the now tangle-free, long hair behind his shoulder.
"I don't think you're up to a long trek on foot yet, and I would imagine they'd expect us to go out that way. I think, to be safe, we need to get out by going right under their noses."
Duo leaned back against the raised pillows. "If we drive out of here on the highway, we'll be asked to show I.D.'s."
Wufei sat on the edge of the bed and handed the white bags full of fast food breakfast items to his friend. "We could make those, but it will take time."
"How about a bus, a bicycle, or walking out?" Duo smiled. "Hell, lets steal a little red wagon and I'll pull you out of here."
"I can just picture that, you pulling me past the check point wearing your little dress." Wufei snickered. "You seem a little anxious, Duo. Maybe even desperate to suggest stealing a child's toy as a means of escape."
Duo's smile faltered only slightly, turning into a sneer. "Shinigami was not meant for a life of leisure. I need to get back to a little riot and ruin."
Wufei smiled and shook his head, clicking his tongue.
"What?" Duo laughed.
"That doesn't sound very lady like."
He ducked as Duo hurled a pillow at him.
The next day was Saturday, and despite it being Duo's favorite television morning, the two left the hotel room early to seek their breakfast and then caught a bus to the city's outskirts near the main highway.
From a distance and with binoculars in hand, they observed that the OZ check points were still in place.
"That leaves the bus or little red wagon." Wufei said straight faced as he handed the binoculars to Duo.
"I'd love to get a picture of you in the wagon." Duo chuckled
"And I of you in that dress." Wufei replied.
"Har, har, very funny." Duo grimaced, then turned with a serious glint in his eyes. "Listen Wu-man, we need to come to an understanding."
Wufei knew what was coming, and folded his arms over his chest to wait for his friend to make his request.
"I've pretty much followed your lead here, as ordered." he began. As he spoke, Wufei appreciated again, how nice he looked in the navy blue dress with his hair only partially pulled back into a pony tail. "I don't want you to tell the others about this. Got it?" He gave the Chinese boy a look that brooked no difference of opinion.
"I don't know...." Wufei raised an eyebrow. "I'll have to make out a report of our time here."
"Fine, just leave out the part about the disguise."
"But it was the perfect disguise to conceal our presence here, it should be noted for future....." He countered but was loudly interrupted.
"I. DON'T. CARE." Duo shouted as his hands fisted on his hips. Wufei was sure that he had just stomped his foot, a good sign that Maxwell was working up to one of his famous temper tantrums. "The last time you guys saw me in female clothes, you wouldn't let me forget it. Man, you teased me for a whole month."
He didn't dare smile because he knew Duo would pounce on him, and the appearance of a what looked like a girl attacking a boy on a city street would draw too much attention. But the memory Duo had just invoked caused his eyes to light up with amusement as he remembered Heero leading Duo into the safehouse. Trowa, having received a cryptic message from Heero, had helped bring he and Quatre, who were both injured, out into the living room at the hint of a possible surprise. The three sat in the dark as instructed, and waited until the door opened and the light went on. He remembered well the shock on everyone's face, except Hero, at the sight of a girl being brought into the safehouse, then came the realization that it was Duo. He had resorted to putting on clothes he found in the trunk of they car they heisted from the "school from hell", as they referred to it now. He also recalled the pain he felt from his laughter at Duo's expense. His mouth twitched at the memory even now.
"Stop it!" Duo growled. "You're thinking about that night, aren't you?"
Wufei tried, but couldn't quite force his facial features downward.
Duo stood with a look of disgust on his face, his fists still planted on his thin hips. Then a look of "I gotcha" came into his eyes.
Now it was Wufei's countenance that changed, from merry to wary. "What now?" he asked.
"You know," Duo drawled in confidence. "I have to write a report also.
Wufei waited, not showing the nervousness he suddenly felt. When Duo felt he had the upper hand, he usually did..
"I'd hate to mention that not only did you grope and ogle me, but you kissed me in public and held me in your arms every night." The look of smug satisfaction resided on the heart shaped face.
Wufei decided he hated that look. His eyes narrowed at the threat. "You wouldn't? You know very well that isn't what happened. You would be lying, and I thought you never lied."
"I wouldn't exactly be lying." Duo batted his eyes looking quite innocent. "It's close enough to the truth to pass for it."
"Did you just bat your eyes at me?" Wufei glared accusingly.
"Yes, you did."
"Whatever." Duo shrugged.
They glared at each other for a few moments.
"Are we having our first fight?" Duo asked in his breathy girly tone and batted his eyelashes again, a smile tugging at his lips.
Despite his best efforts at staying angry, the Shenlong pilot's smile returned.
"Alright, a truce." he declared. "I won't mention the clothing unless I'm specifically asked, and you, in return, won't warp the truth to make us the laughing stock of the team."
Duo held out his hand, still smiling at what he viewed as a rare victory over the other boy. "Agreed."
They shook hands firmly, Wufei returning the smile with good humor.
They returned to the hotel room and contacted Heero on the way. Having checked the bus schedules, they arranged for a pick up in a small town two hours away from their present location. Wufei insisted that Duo wear the dress until after the check point to ensure their escape.
They didn't encounter any problems at the bus terminal, and just after leaving the city, the bus was stopped in a traffic back-up as each vehicle was halted and questioned by the military. The two boys sat together, their backpacks stowed between their feet. As the bus inched closer to the check point, their talking ceased.
The doors of the bus finally opened and three Oz soldiers entered, towering over the seated passengers.
"We can do this." Wufei whispered encouragingly aside to his companion. He turned to give the other a reassuring glance and found Duo bent over, fumbling with his backpack.
Sitting up, he flashed a bright smile and held up a yellow bag of peanut M&M's.
Two hours later, they descended the steps of the bus, backpacks slung over their shoulders. They walked through and out of the bus terminal. Heero stepped out of the shadows making himself known to them. They greeted each other and Heero looked both boys up and down. "You don't look any worse for wear." he commented.
"We're fine." Duo smiled, happy to be out of the situation they had just left behind. After the bus passed through the check point, he had gone to the small and really inadequate bathroom and with no small difficulty, changed into this own clothes and re-braided his hair. He felt soooo good being himself again.
The twitch of a smile on Heero's face, however, worried him. "What?" he asked warily.
"Disguised yourself as a girl, huh?"
Wufei's smile grew and after Duo managed to close his mouth and compressing his lips tightly, he turned to glare at the Chinese boy. "You told," he accused him angrily. "All bets are off." he declared.
"No, wait! I didn't." Wufei said alarmed and rushed to make a point of it. "How could I? Heero just guessed on his own." Duo didn't looked convinced so Wufei continued. "I shook your hand. It would not be honorable for me to break my word." he said lastly, speaking faster than he normally would.
Duo studied him, eyes narrowed with anger and suspicion, but Wufei's words made sense. He was a person you could count on to keep his word. Honor meant everything to the Chinese boy.
"Alright." He caved in, much to Wufei's obvious relief, and turned to Heero who was still looking at him, quite amused. "How did you guess?"
Heero raised an amused eyebrow. "Unless you're trying out a new trend, I'd have to say the makeup gave it away."
Duo's eyes and mouth opened wide and he turned back to his partner for the past few days. "Why didn't you say anything?" he shouted.
"I guess I just got use to it." was Wufei's reply just before Duo launched himself at him, disbelieving the simple explanation.
Heero watched the scuffle for a few minutes before grabbing the back of Duo's shirt and pulled him off of Wufei who was completely unhurt and smiling like the Cheshire Cat.
"You're drawing attention to us." Heero reprimanded Duo still holding him at arm's length with a slight smile on his lips. "Besides, now your mascara is running." He ducked as Duo began swinging his fists in his direction. He dodged them easily and began to plot how he could get a hold of Wufei's report, which by Duo's current reactions, should prove to be very entertaining.