Disclaimer: Gundam Wing and all characters belong to Bandai, Sunrise, Sotsu and peoples.

Warnings: angst, denial, my brand of humor, fluff and sap, eventual lemon

Kagi's notes: The angst got away from me a little bit here... I just can't write pure fluff to save my life. XD In case you couldn't tell by now... I have a thing for long hair. Especially long, braided hair. Duo's in particular. Before the fic is over, this will be very evident. You have been warned, no da. ^^ Also, I sometimes refer to Quatre as Kat in the narrative, depending on whose POV it is -- apologies if anyone finds this confusing. And Heero sometimes thinks of Duo as Maxwell, and sometimes as 02 -- this is intentional. Poor boy, he's so confused! ^_^

Thanks to Nenya for inspiration on part of this chapter... you'll know it when you get to it. ^_~ And Duo's fantasy is Moonraven's fault... sorry it doesn't go as far as you wanted, love -- maybe next time. ^_^ Beta read as usual by Hiriyou and Loceheri, who are very cool, and nice enough to do this in a hurry for me since I wanted to get it up on time, as promised. Well, almost on time. I'm a day late. ^^; And last but definitely not least, thank you very much to Triv, Fancy Figures, Morgan, Shinigami Phoenix, Nenya, KittyKat0303, AnonymousTrigunOtaku, SatanicPurpleOnion, Santurion1, damiscus, Debs-dragon, Moonraven, Ashes, J'ohn, and everyone else reading -- you are awesome!

~*~ indicates scene change and/or passage of time
--- and // signifies Duo's imagination at work ^_~

Stealing Sweet Dreams
Chapter 2
by Kagemihari

Over the next week or so, Duo decided that his fantasy had definitely not been ruined. In fact, it was better than before -- he had a whole new beginning for it. It had made him uncomfortable, knowing how irritated Yuy had been, to have the other boy watching him brush his hair. But that didn't change the fact that the intense stare had still made his skin tingle and his stomach feel funny. Kind of an interesting, twisty feeling, that was not entirely unpleasant.

He thought that having that deep blue gaze watching him with a hungry, intent look rather than the usual annoyance or indifference would be very sensual. His fantasy now began with him brushing his hair, and Yuy watching, and in his mind, the eyes on him were not cold and annoyed, but heated and smoldering with desire. The idea made him shiver; even if it was highly unlikely in reality.

Shivering while you worked on your Gundam was not conducive to making good repairs. Duo swore softly as he dropped a bolt, and it rolled away into the farthest recesses of the cockpit where he was working. "Shit," he muttered. He shivered again for good measure, and pushed the fiery blue eyes to the back of his mind for the hundredth time that day.

He really had to stop this, he told himself again, it was pointless to have a thing for a guy who so obviously couldn't stand him. He hung his head, exhaling in a not-quite-sigh, and flexed his shoulders, working the tension out of his muscles. He had resolved, numerous times, to forget it, to stop letting Yuy affect him that way, to accept that they were going to be reluctant partners and nothing more.

Every time he decided that it just wasn't worth it, every time he almost convinced himself that Yuy was just too much of a jerk to be attractive in the least... he would find himself watching the quick, clever motions of his fingers as he typed on that ever present laptop. Watching the way the messy dark hair hung in his eyes, almost hiding the startling blue. So damn touchable, that hair looked... Duo had to restrain himself a dozen times a day from just reaching out and brushing it back to reveal those incredible eyes.

Or he'd find himself watching the way the smooth golden skin rippled across the muscles in Yuy's arms and shoulders as he worked. That damn tanktop didn't really hide anything... and then there were the times that he'd come out of shower wrapped only in a towel, exposing the firm hard lines of his finely toned body, his skin still damp and looking so fucking delicious... and Duo was left with an ache in his groin and a feeling of frustrated longing as his determination crumbled. It was so not fair that Yuy could have this kind of effect on him, and was, apparently, totally incapable of being affected by Duo in return.

And it wasn't for lack of trying, either. He teased, he flirted, he used any excuse to touch him, even if it was just a friendly pat on the back or an arm over his shoulders. Yuy would just completely ignore him, making no response to either the teasing or the contact, as if Duo didn't even exist. If he ever did bother to notice him, it was merely to glare at him, or tell him to fuck off and go annoy someone else for a change. The only time Yuy spoke to him voluntarily or with any kind of civility was on a mission.

On a mission, their differences melted away as if they had never been. They worked as a team, moving in perfect tandem, seeming to be able to guess each others moves. They backed each other up, covered for one another, fought side by side as partners, their talents meshing with a seemingly effortless grace. Duo lived for that feeling of synergy, the euphoria of that unified teamwork, and the satisfaction of knowing that if nothing else, Yuy respected and relied on him as a soldier and a pilot. As a partner. They made a good team, a damn good team.

Duo couldn't help but feel that they would make a damn good team off the field, as well. If Yuy would just lighten up a little, let him in, stop freezing him out at the slightest gesture of friendliness. That if the Wing pilot could just turn that fierceness, that fire he showed when he was fighting, and focus it on him... they could light each other up like wildfire.

Duo's breath hissed between his teeth, and the spanner he was using slipped out of his suddenly fumbling fingers. It cracked loudly against the control panel he was working on, leaving the glass covering one of the gauges with an oblique, hairline fracture across it's clear surface. "Ahh, fuck!" he groaned, sitting back on his heels. He resisted, with some effort, the urge to cuss out the inanimate object. With a heavy sigh he sank down into a sitting position against the opposite panel, resting an elbow on an upraised knee.

He doubted that Yuy would appreciate how ironic it was that he never thought about Duo at all, while Duo seemed to be unable to stop thinking about him. It would be incredibly funny -- if only it was someone else's life. He smiled, rather wistfully. Hell, it was funny anyway. A wry laugh and a shake of his head expressed his reluctant amusement. Damn it, he was so screwed.

He gave up and leaned back, letting his mind follow the familiar path, lent a new feeling of reality by the possibility of what might have been. Closing his eyes, he allowed the images to play, seeing how that night could have been -- if Yuy didn't have such a large stick up his ass.


//...Duo sat brushing his hair, the long brown waves rippling as he did so, feeling the weight of a hungry gaze. He threw a heated glance at Yuy out of the corner of his eye, and smiled -- a slow, lascivious expression. Yuy's eyes darkened, burning into him, although he didn't move. Duo pulled his hair back and separated it into three strands, preparing to braid it.

Yuy was on his feet and halfway across the tiny room in the space of a heartbeat, laying a restraining hand on his arm. The heat from his body radiated from the touch like a flashpoint, raising hairs up and down Duo's arm and on the back of his neck. A flood of warmth washed over him, magnified and echoed by the nearness of that sexy body he only dreamed about touching. Duo paused, looking up at him as he stood there, putting an innocent, questioning look on his face.

"Leave it," Yuy said, and his voice was husky, even deeper than usual.

A tingle ran down Duo's spine and he shuddered briefly, but he smiled disingenuously. "Hm?" he answered, pretending not to understand the request.

"Leave it down," Yuy repeated, reaching to disentangle Duo's fingers from the heavy mass of hair.


"Because," came the rumbled answer, very close to his ear, "I like to see you like this."//


Duo moaned softly; it was at this point in his fantasy that things either got very intense, very quickly.... or he lost the illusion completely, as the gap between fantasy and reality became too great to sustain. Sometimes, he couldn't even imagine that happening, couldn't even picture Yuy saying something like that -- it was just too far from the truth. Regret was sharp as he realized that today was one of those times; the image wavered and faded out from behind his eyes, vanishing like candle-smoke.

"God damn it," he growled in frustration, snapping his head back, banging it against the hard surface of the control panel he was seated in front of. It didn't even make him wince; he was that upset. He didn't know if he was more frustrated that he'd lost the illusion, or that he'd felt, and given in to, the need to call it up in the first place. Idiot.

Bloody hell, but that night was going to haunt him for months. If he'd ever had a hope of erasing the dream, it was all shot to hell. The images and the pull of fascination it held were ten times as strong, now that he'd come so close it for real. Part of the problem was, he wasn't sure if he wanted to erase it.

And yet the sharp edge of discord which separated the dream from the memory, the difference of what had really happened from what he'd dreamed might happen, would sneak up and throw him if he wasn't careful. It stung, that apparently unbridgeable gap. Why the hell couldn't he let go of something that was never, ever going to happen?

Unless they were actually on a mission, Yuy's manner toward him was abrupt, almost hostile, treating Duo as if he were an enemy, rather than an ally. As a general rule he avoided Duo as much as possible, and ignored him or snapped at him when it wasn't. But once the shooting started, once mission mode kicked in, they flowed seamlessly as a unit, working as if they were two halves of a perfect whole.

It really ticked him off -- actually, he couldn't decide whether he was more hurt or ticked off, but that usually won -- when they returned to whatever 'safe' place they were staying at, and cold indifference and general contempt and disapproval resurfaced. He knew the Wing pilot didn't like him -- he just wished he knew why.


The late afternoon sun was falling through the living room window, throwing shadows across the floor. It was quiet. Trowa was stretched out on the couch, feeling lazy, idly watching the shadows ripple when a gust of wind caused the tree outside the window to sway.

He wondered vaguely where everyone was. Nobody had a mission today, but they all seemed to have vanished. Quatre had been in here earlier, which had been nice. Trowa had watched him watch TV, thinking to himself what a wide range of expressions some people's faces had. Quatre seemed to have a different expression for every emotion; Trowa hadn't realized it was possible to be that expressive about something as passive as watching TV.

But then, Quatre was expressive about everything. Not in the same high-energy fashion that Maxwell was, but with a quiet animation that showed his thoughts passing on his face like clouds on a summer sky. Whatever he was doing, his emotions flitted across it in a ever-changing series of expressions that were as easy to read as if he were speaking. Not to everyone, maybe. But Trowa had a habit of watching people, and it amazed him sometimes the things that people could tell you if you learned to pay attention to what their faces and body language said.

Watching Quatre was more enjoyable than watching most people, though. He might look innocent and simple enough, but he had a devious streak a mile wide. Trowa had seen with some amusement and a lot more bemusement the way that Maxwell seemed to bring this out in him. The gleam Quatre's eyes got when he was teasing Maxwell was pure mischief.

Trowa smiled to himself, remembering the other night when Quatre had, with a perfectly straight face except for that gleam in his eye, handed Maxwell his usual cup of coffee. Trowa had watched with covert interest as Maxwell took a drink, coughed, sputtered, and made a truly amazing face.

"What the hell is that?" he had growled when he could talk again.

Quatre had smiled, and the gleam in his eyes was quite obvious now; Trowa wondered if Maxwell had noticed. The smile itself was innocuous enough, though, and the words even more so. "Coffee." He had paused, waiting until Maxwell was about to launch an outraged protest before he continued, "Sweetened coffee. Very sweet. Not so easy to swallow, is it?"

Maxwell had turned an interesting shade of red, and shut his mouth with a snap. "Sweet?" he finally asked suspiciously.

Quatre just nodded, his smile now openly devilish. After a moment, Maxwell had shaken his head ruefully, and very carefully tasted the drink again. He screwed up his face as he swallowed it, and shuddered. He had looked from Quatre to the coffee and back again, then broke into a crooked grin. "Okay, okay," he'd said, laughing finally. "You win, Kat. I can not drink this stuff." And he had walked over to the sink and poured it out.

Trowa had been more intrigued by the triumphant smirk on Quatre's face as Maxwell retreated. He never did find out what exactly that had been in retaliation for, but he was fairly certain that it had something to do with a comment Maxwell had made about Quatre being too sweet to be in this line of work. Trowa grinned to himself. He might be sweet, but that didn't make him any less dangerous. It just made him more interesting.

A sudden shout from the upper floor shattered the quiet afternoon -- apparently the others were in the house after all.

"Maxwell, you are dead!" came the angry threat. Quickly followed by running feet, a crash and a faint thud, and a slamming door.

Trowa sat up with easy grace, stretching his long limbs briefly, and wandered out to see if he could find someone who knew what all the excitement was about.

Upstairs, Heero stood in the middle of their room, breathing hard. He glared fiercely at the braided pilot, who was sprawled across his own bed as if he'd been thrown there. Heero didn't know why it bothered him so much to have Maxwell getting into his things, just that it did. He didn't want Maxwell anywhere near his stuff, didn't even want him on this side of the room. Damn him.

He must have been here for awhile too -- what was he doing, laying on the bed? Why didn't he use his own for god's sake? Now Heero's entire half of the room smelled faintly of lavender, instead of just the bit of it he caught every now and then when Maxwell walked by.

Maxwell was looking at him warily, still in the spot where he'd landed when Heero had shoved him. "I wasn't doing anything!" he protested loudly, a look of innocent hurt on his gamin's face. Heero wasn't buying it.

He glared at the Deathscythe pilot, wishing he knew more about interrogation techniques. He was sure Maxwell had been up to something, but 02 was a master of evasion... he didn't know where to start. As they remained frozen in their staring match, they could hear faint echoes of a conversation downstairs.

"What's going on?" Trowa's voice floated up, asking no one in particular.

Wufei answered absently, "Maxwell and Yuy are fighting, again." He sounded bored. It was a fairly common occurrence, nothing to get excited about.

"Ahh." Trowa was silent for a moment, needing no other explanation. Then his quiet voice came again, "We shouldn't let them room together. It's bad for mission security. They're loud enough for the neighbors to hear, when we have neighbors.

"Aa," Wufei agreed, "but they're partners. They work so well together; why can't they live together?"

Duo was silently wondering the same thing, but he stayed motionless on the bed. Sometimes you had to treat Yuy with the same caution as a wild animal -- you didn't want to make any sudden moves.

Heero, on the other hand, had frozen as soon he heard the word 'mission'. His anger suddenly faded in a wash of self-recrimination. Dammit! Maxwell was doing it again -- getting past his guard, getting under his skin, making him react in ways he normally wouldn't. Trowa was right; this kind of behavior was a potential risk to the team's security. Fuck. Maxwell was an idiot, anyway.

Realizing that 02 was still watching him warily, waiting for a reply, he repeated it aloud as he turned away, growling, "You're an idiot, Maxwell. Stay the hell out of my stuff."

But the room still smelled like lavender.


It had been a long couple of weeks for Heero. Yet again he'd been stuck in a room with Maxwell for most of that time, and he was so frustrated, he wanted to hit something. Maxwell would do nicely, he thought. He couldn't do that, though, since they were supposedly on the same side. And he actually liked having 02 as a partner, they got along remarkably well for being as incompatible as they were. Heero liked having someone at his side he could depend on, and 02 was good. Really good.

He was sharp and quick, and he put that chatter of his to good use for a change -- he could talk anyone into or out of just about anything, it seemed. And Heero almost enjoyed the witty remarks when they were directed at someone else; he'd come near to laughing a few times when he'd heard certain things over the com that Maxwell yelled at the enemy. It was, of course, a waste of energy in the middle of a fight -- but it didn't seem to affect his piloting skills any. He could still fly circles around pretty much anything they faced. And shoot them down afterward, too.

Heero would rather have Shinigami back him up on a mission than any two of the other guys put together. But that didn't make him any easier to live with. Maxwell was irritating as hell, and twice as obnoxious. But Heero was more puzzled by the nagging feeling of threat he got from just being around the other boy.

He was... dangerous. To the enemy, obviously; but Heero felt the danger on a personal level, a wariness, as if Maxwell would blow up in his face if he got too close. He talked too much, smiled too much, got way too close and into your personal space if he decided he was going to be your friend. And for some unfathomable reason, he had decided that Heero was his friend. If he wasn't so damn good at what he did, it would be a lot easier to avoid him. Maybe.

The fact was, they were more effective together than either would have been on their own. It was logical and efficient for them to fight together. But that didn't mean he had to like it.

As he took his shower that night, he used the time alone to analyze the problem.

Heero didn't know what it was about 02 that irritated him so, but something about him just put Heero on the defensive. Whenever he was around, there was a faint air of tension, like a warning, that made Heero feel restless and on edge, all the damn time -- it was exhausting.

It was impossible to keep his guard up like that continually. Eventually he would wear down, and a seductive sort of lassitude would take hold of him, an ease and almost an apathy, where he wasn't really paying attention to Maxwell at all. And while that might seem a good thing, since Heero went out of his way to ignore him when possible, this was a different sort of inattention that was damn scary.

It was a feeling as if he'd been lulled into turning his back on an enemy -- except 02 wasn't an enemy, right? He would find himself listening to the Deathscythe pilot's chatter, not the words so much but the cadence of it, an almost hypnotic soothing sensation, as if the words and presence were an enchantment, to snare him into a false sense of security.

For that was the feeling it gave him, that apathetic state, a sense that all was well, and someone else had point, and he didn't need to think or worry about anything. A feeling almost of quiet peace, and that scared the hell out of him. How could he even think that anything like peace existed in this war torn world?

The shock would snap him out of it, making him aware again with a sharp, screaming sense of wrongness and betrayal. And he would be back to the edgy, wary restlessness that was 02's usual effect on him. It was a vicious cycle that he was getting very damn tired of. And he wanted a pair of scissors, or a knife, even, in the worst way.

The hot water streaming down had done a good job of relaxing his tense muscles as he thought, but now he could feel them tightening again. That fucking braid, god, Heero hated the braid. It was a fucking menace.

He just knew it was part of the hypnosis. It would swing back and forth, back and forth against Maxwell's back as he walked, drawing the eye irresistibly to the swaying motion. If it wasn't swinging with his every move, then he was playing with the end of it, brushing or swatting something with it. It was a miracle it didn't get caught in things like slammed doors as Maxwell banged through them. Heero smiled grimly, imagining that scenario.

An incredibly impractical and pointless thing, he thought, and he made a conscious effort to relax himself again. He reached for the shampoo to wash his hair. The shower wasn't helping to ease his tension anymore, and he wanted to finish as quickly as possible. Damn... he'd forgotten to replace his shampoo and there was barely any left. He growled in annoyance, as he worked the small amount into his hair, and realized that it wasn't enough to work up a lather.

Sighing, he grabbed someone else's and borrowed some, in his haste accidentally squeezing out more than enough. He wanted out of here, goddammit, so he could go to bed and sleep, and put all of his confusing thoughts out of his mind.

Said thoughts continued circling around in his mind as he hurriedly finished with his hair. That stupid braid. He scowled. He had to catch himself often to keep from growling at the other boy to just get rid of it. Cut the damn thing already. Sometimes he didn't catch himself in time, and he made a snide or bitingly sarcastic comment about the uselessness of it, which was embarrassing.

Embarrassing because it was, after all, none of his damn business, and Maxwell would invariably laugh at his comment as if he found it very amusing, telling him that it had it's uses. And that Heero shouldn't care anyway as long as he didn't have to take care of it. A statement that was always accompanied by a suggestive look, as if to imply that Heero could take care of it if he wanted to.

A suggestion that had appalled Heero the first time he had caught it, and now more often left him with conflicting reactions of annoyance, confusion, anger, and frustration. A quick retort of 'Hell no!', was the first thing that came to mind. But he didn't know if that was the proper way to respond to it. He had a feeling that Maxwell would find that even more amusing.

He didn't really think that Maxwell was serious about it, that was just how he was. Flirting and suggestiveness seemed to come naturally to him, it was part of his teasing nature; but Heero didn't know the rules of that game, and didn't want to play if he had known them.

Finally rinsing his hair out completely, he shut off the water with a sigh of relief and got out. He toweled himself off with mechanical efficiency, then used the dry side to rub the excess moisture out of his hair with a few quick, rough motions. Wrapping the towel around his waist, he shook his hair into place in it's usual messy fashion, and went to seek the sanctuary of sleep.

It was only later, as he rolled over on his stomach and buried his face in the slightly damp pillow, that he realized that the shampoo he'd borrowed had been Maxwell's. He groaned internally. Great, just great. Like there wasn't too much of that scent in the room already.

He flipped determinedly onto his back and firmly shut his eyes. Forget it. He refused to let Maxwell annoy his rest as well as his waking hours. Taking a deep breath, he let his training kick in, forcing his heart rate to slow and his breathing to become regulated, putting him safely under in a matter of minutes.

on to chapter 3

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