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: 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!

Thank you very much to Lóceheri, for betareading not once but several times, and making some excellent suggestions! Also thank you to Triv, Fancy Figures, Agent Midnight, Nyx, Jennifer, Shinigami Phoenix, SPO, Dawn, Thalia16, DarkSky, crimsonseraph, Hikaru, Nenya85, KittyKat0303, nekomoongirl, J'ohn, and anyone else I forgot! (I think I got everyone...) Thanks for reading!

=== indicates scene change and/or passage of time
---  signifies Duo's imagination at work

Stealing Sweet Dreams
Chapter 4
by Kagemihari

Heero actually didn't like going undercover at a school. He felt out of place -- the other students were focused on getting good grades and making friends... or in the case of some of them, just having a good time. None of those were anything he gave a second thought to. He got good grades without really trying, and if he needed a higher grade in something, he could always hack the school computer and simply change it.

Making friends was not only not a priority, it was a matter of course not to let anyone get too close. He would have to move on as soon as the mission was completed, and it was better if no one really remembered him as anything but a quiet, studious afterthought. Keeping a low profile was second nature to him.

As for having a good time -- he was a soldier; a good time just wasn't in his job description. He viewed that outlook on life with a mixture of wonder and disdain. Did those students even realize there was a war going on? Probably not.

To his surprise, it hadn't bothered him all that much that he was rooming with Maxwell, again. In fact, he had almost been relieved. In spite of their recent differences and Maxwell's outgoing -- that is, annoying -- personality, Heero much preferred to room with him than with some random student that would be even more annoying and with whom he had even less in common. Maxwell at least knew why he was here, and would not interfere with his mission.

He was also more tolerant of Heero's anti-social behavior, and didn't expect him to act like a normal student; Heero didn't have to worry as much about keeping up appearances. And Maxwell didn't get offended when he was ignored. Which was a good thing, since Heero had been trying very hard not to let the other pilot affect him the way he had before.

So far, it hadn't been a problem; it had been surprisingly easy to relegate his constant chatter to a soothing background noise, and to dismiss the occasional friendly touches as a simple reminder that he was not alone in the mindless crowd of ordinary students.

Right now, the room was quiet. Very quiet -- for the simple reason that Maxwell was not in it. The only sounds were the clicking of his laptop keys, and the barely audible hum of the machine. Maxwell had left yesterday on a simple reconnaissance mission, to take a closer look at their target. It was the weekend, so if he left after dark on Friday, and came back after dark on Saturday, he wouldn't be missed. He was supposed to be back later tonight. It was now just after noon; Heero was looking forward to an afternoon and evening of peace.

Yes... it was very quiet. Heero tuned out the silence, ignoring it, and went back to work.


Duo was bored. It was a simple, easy mission, and it was practically over, and he was bored. He really wished he wasn't. He started to think too much when he was bored.

The base which was their target was a fairly small one, and not too far from the school. He was supposed to be finding out what kind of force they would need to take it out. He needed to know what kind of defenses it had, how many soldiers there were, how often the guard changed -- the basic things. He was not supposed to actually enter the base, but just to scope it out from a distance. He had found himself a comfortable perch -- okay, comfortable was a relative term -- but a perch in a nearby tree that was not uncomfortable.

And he'd been sitting there for hours, since early this morning, and had already accomplished his objectives. The base had few defenses, as it was nowhere near any major strategic areas or important cities. It was out in the middle of nowhere -- the only reason there was a base here at all, as far as Duo could tell, was simply to serve as a relay point and supply route station. The most important thing about it was that it gave OZ control of the river, and thus, the water supply in this area.

They wouldn't have any trouble with this mission -- it would be quick, a hit and run type of thing. He had in fact spent another hour or two planning it out in his head, so that he could give Yuy a preliminary mission plan along with the information when he got back. Not that Yuy would listen to him, of course, but it gave him something to do while he waited for night to fall.

It was now late afternoon, and he still had several hours to go. Once it was dark out again, he could climb down without being spotted, make his way back to the school, and sneak back into his room. Yuy would probably want an instant report. Heh. It could wait.

He missed Quatre suddenly, knowing that if Kat had been there, he would have coffee waiting. But there was no place he could get coffee in the middle of the night... he would have to wait until breakfast. Damn.

He spent awhile longer thinking about how much he would enjoy a nice, hot cup of coffee.... mmm. His stomach rumbled, reminding him that all he'd eaten today was a couple of ration bars he'd brought with him. Regretfully he stopped thinking about coffee, or any other edible thing. He doubted that his stomach could grow loud enough to give him away -- but better safe than sorry.

A movement down below caught his eye, and he watched silently as the guards were relieved and went off to... well, they left. Yeah. It was close to evening, so they were probably going to -- um, go relax. Because they would be hungry -- no, tired! they would be tired -- after being out here for four hours straight. Of course. They were.... tired. And he wasn't -- tired -- at all.

...Actually, he was tired. He leaned his head back and half-closed his eyes as fatigue washed over him. It had been a long, long day. Suddenly his back ached and his ass was sore, and he thought he was getting a cramp in his leg. He shifted, carefully, slowly, and stretched out the offending muscle. It muttered a brief complaint and then eased, and he sighed with relief. Damn, trees were great and all, but they did not make wonderful all-day seats. 'Comfortable' was definitely a relative term. Hell, it was flat out wrong.

He stared up through the thick green leaves overhead. They rustled, moving in the almost non-existent wind. Tiny rays of golden light glinted off their edges. Was the sun setting? It was maybe a shade darker... It was very late afternoon. Might even be evening. He thought briefly about digging out the digital watch in his pocket. Nah... he didn't want to know. He couldn't move until it was full dark, anyway -- at least an hour, maybe two. By then, he wouldn't need a watch to tell him it was safe to go.

The leaves rustled some more, whispering among themselves. He wondered what they were saying. What did leaves talk about? Probably wondering who the crazy human was sitting in their tree all day. Maybe laughing at how sore he was going to be; served him right for invading their sanctuary.

As if to confirm his thoughts, a sudden gust of wind whooshed through them, like faint, rustling laughter. He scowled, and raised his hand to make a rude gesture in their general direction -- then stopped, thinking better of it. He was still in their territory, after all... he should wait to antagonize them until he was safely on the ground again.

Having successfully distracted himself, he grinned sardonically at the whimsical idea. As if leaves could do anything to him -- he should worry more about those damn soldiers from the base. He leaned back, seeing no one after a quick scan of the surrounding area. God, he was bored. Tired and aching, hungry, and bored.

Why again was he the one doing the legwork here? Yuy was probably sitting back in their room, on an actual chair, a really comfortable chair, doing God knew what on that infernal laptop. Supposedly, hacking in to get the plans for the base, so they would be able to organize their mission once Duo got back. Duo wasn't a bad hacker himself -- he could have done that, he thought. Probably. Yuy, of course, would be sure that he could do it much better and faster than anyone else.

He was likely right. But Duo could have done it in a reasonable amount of time, and then tough guy Yuy would be the one out here with a sore ass and a cramp in his leg. Or more likely, be out here and be perfectly fine, without a single tense muscle or strained limb. And he probably wouldn't be bored, either. Did Yuy even get bored?


Heero pushed his chair back and stood, feeling restless. It was almost evening now, and Maxwell would be back soon, assuming he hadn't gotten himself into trouble. Heero dismissed that idea almost before he thought it. No, of course he hadn't had any trouble.

Even Maxwell couldn't get into trouble on a simple recon. He went to go get something to eat.

The dining room was crowded, as usual, and loud, as was even more usual. Heero really hated schools. Making no acknowledgement other than a brief nod to the few people who greeted him, he finished eating as quickly as possible. He snagged two cups of coffee before making his way back to his room. The coffee would be cold by the time Maxwell got back, but it was better than nothing. Heero doubted he would get anything out of him about the mission before he'd had his coffee.

He wandered aimlessly around the room for several minutes, straightening an already neat room. Habit was hard to break, and neither of them had much to begin with. Maxwell seemed to enjoy being in a place where he didn't have to be ready to leave at any moment, and his things were more scattered than Heero's, but still, the room was hardly cluttered.

Heero picked up some books that had been left on the floor (had Maxwell been studying, or actually doing homework? for gods knew what reason -- maybe he was bored...) and made a neat stack of them on the table, lining them up so the edges met evenly.

It was so quiet. He set the second cup of coffee down on the desk, and went over to look out of the window, absently watching people walking past in the yard as he tried to place the feeling of discontent.

Not that he missed the 02 pilot, of course. But he had grown used to having him around, in the week and a half they had been here. Naturally, Heero didn't pay any attention to him when he was here, but in some odd way the background noise of Maxwell's chatter, or the rather disturbing music he listened to, helped him focus.

He leaned against the windowsill and wrapped his hands around his warm mug of coffee, breathing in the steam. It wasn't that cold in here, at least, it shouldn't be; but his hands were cold. He flexed the fingers of each hand in turn, curling them against his palm to soak up the residual heat before cradling his mug in both hands again.

Since he had stopped fighting that odd feeling of unease that Maxwell gave him, and begun to simply ignore him, life had fallen into familiar, routine patterns. Heero would be working, doing the minimal studying required to keep up with his classes, or on his laptop doing research for the mission. Maxwell would be sitting, standing, or roaming around the room, doing whatever the hell it was he did. Reading, talking -- whether to Heero or himself, Heero never knew and didn't much care -- or occasionally singing or humming along with whatever he was listening to. Always at ease, always cheerful, no matter what he was doing.

It was with an odd sense of dismay that Heero realized he'd allowed that feeling of ease to soothe him, to take a hold of him and relax him while he concentrated on other, more important things.

He didn't remember relaxing his guard -- on the contrary, he thought he'd been more resistant to Maxwell than ever. Heero had been taking no notice of him whatsoever unless it was absolutely necessary. And Maxwell had seemed content to let him be, continuing to be his usual friendly self, but not as intrusive or demanding as another student would have been. Most of the time, Heero could pretend he wasn't there at all.

Nevertheless, now that he was gone, the strange, hollow restlessness of something not being there existed.

Something about Maxwell was... comfortable. Heero tried the word on for size, decided it was adequate. A feeling of comfort. He snorted. Soldiers didn't need comfort. Soldiers couldn't afford comfort. Maxwell was a damned nuisance... he sometimes wished he could just strike off on his own, break this uneasy alliance the five of them had, and fight OZ alone, the way he had when he first came to Earth. But on a professional level... it was better this way.

Heero took a drink of his coffee and made a face. He preferred tea, mostly -- coffee was generally too dark and bitter for his taste. And he had forgotten to grab any kind of creamer or sweetener.

He frowned. Maxwell liked his black. Somehow, this must be his fault. Scowling, he turned away from the window and went back to his desk.


Duo rubbed his eyes, wearily. He couldn't fall asleep; it would be not only unwise, but dangerous, and he had no desire to risk tumbling out of the tree. He needed something else to think about, something to keep his mind occupied, and his thoughts drifted inevitably to something he'd been avoiding.

He hadn't seen Yuy for awhile, and had pretty much convinced himself that he had given up on the Wing pilot by the time this assignment had started. Finding himself rooming with Yuy hadn't changed that, although Duo had to admit that he was still attracted to him. He snorted. Attracted, hell -- he'd never wanted anyone so badly in his life. Not so much the cold emotionless soldier he was so familiar with -- although Yuy was pretty damn sexy even then -- but the more elusive glimpses of fire and heart beneath that frozen exterior.

The partner who was like his other half; the one who disappeared as soon as the job was done. The one who made him ache with loss every time he appeared to tease Duo with a glimpse, and then vanished, like an insubstantial dream.

A very attractive dream. He wished like hell that Yuy wasn't so fucking hot, even when he was being a bastard. It was bloody hard to forget the dream entirely when even the reality was so... mmm. A grin spread across his face, and with some effort he refrained from licking his lips. His eyes slid closed, and he hummed softly in appreciation of the image behind his eyes.

Yeah... a damn attractive dream. He decided that was okay as long as he remembered that was all it was. Duo supposed he could afford his fantasy; he knew it would never be anything more than that.


...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."

A hand lifted his hair, awkwardly, and draped it over his bare shoulder, making him shiver slightly. The hand stroked gently down the shining length, fingers brushing his skin almost by accident... but it was no accident.

Duo closed his eyes, soaking in the pure sensation of touch as flames licked across his body. A warm hand lay on his shoulder, the flat palm rough with calluses. Duo knew those calluses very well; they were mirrored on his own hands. They were the result of years of piloting and using various weapons -- the hands of a warrior. Hard hands, yet the touch was gentle, full of restrained power. Hands that could crush him, but slid over his skin in caressing fashion, mapping out the lines of his back and shoulders in silken fire.

God... this slow sweet torture was going to kill him. A mere touch, that was all, from anyone else it would hardly mean anything.... but a touch from Yuy, however brief, was like a spark of fire, even when it was an accidental brush in the course of a day. This, however, the deliberate searching fingers on his skin... it was like being struck by lightning. It was hard to breathe, and he couldn't hear -- couldn't hear a thing past the roaring in his ears.

Duo reached blindly, seeking, needing to touch in return, heard the slight gasp as he found the bare arm attached to the hand on his hair. He ran his fingertips lightly, teasingly up to the elbow, then back down the inside of the forearm. Another rumble in his ear might have been words, or merely an unintelligible growl... he didn't know. It didn't matter.

He turned to face forward and placed his feet on the floor, pulling Yuy closer to stand between his legs. So close... just a handsbreadth apart, if that. He could feel the heat over his entire body, the skin burning as if the surrounding air were suddenly still and far too hot. Raising a hand, he carefully retraced his way up Yuy's arm, not teasingly this time but in a smooth caress, mimicking the hand still resting on his back.

His palm slid up over bicep and shoulder, fingers molding to fit the slight curves and bunches of the muscles. Turning his hand, he brushed his knuckles along the collarbone, evoking a slight tremble from his partner. The hand on his back stilled, the steady, warm pressure a center of heat on his burning skin.

He lifted his hand and gently, reverently touched the hollow of Yuy's throat with the tips of his fingers. Yuy swallowed convulsively, and tipped his head back. Duo chuckled, a deep, throaty sound, and let his fingers trail downward. When he reached the center of the flat, hard chest, he spread his hand and moved sideways, brushing over a nipple with the tip of each finger. He was rewarded with a sudden sharp intake of breath, then a low moan as he bent his head and flicked his tongue across the nub on the other side.

The pressure on his back vanished suddenly, and his loose hair was lifted and spilled down behind him. A hand tangled in the hair at the base of his neck, forcing his head back, eliciting a faint sound of loss as he was pulled away from the delicious taste of smooth golden skin.

Then a strong arm crushed him up against the firm hard body before him, and Yuy's mouth descended on his with bruising force. Oh god, yes... he parted his lips willingly, opening for the hot wet entrance of a probing tongue, searching, owning every crevice of his mouth. Hell yeah... he returned the kiss enthusiastically, meeting the assault with his own, a hand on Yuy's neck to hold him -- not that he showed any inclination to stop.

A hand on his shoulder pushed him back -- he thought vaguely that Yuy must have let go of his hair to get a hand free -- and he pulled the Wing pilot with him as he lay back on the bed. The sheets were cool against his back for barely an instant before the heat blazed up again, erasing any memory other than the fire of skin pressed against bare skin, and the fierce hunger of Yuy's mouth sealed on his.

God, it was so good.... all he wanted was more...


A rude shout broke in at this point, shattering the illusion into tarnished splinters of false memory. "Hey! You up there!"

Duo's first thought was, 'What the hell?' The second was, 'Oh, shit!'


Heero had finally taken his work to the library. It seemed that Maxwell could annoy him even when he wasn't there... Heero kept expecting to hear him, kept trying to tune him out only to realize that it was already quiet. He found himself listening for Maxwell's step in the hall or his voice behind him, dreading the inevitable return to normalcy.

He couldn't even enjoy the silence; it seemed too fragile, and as time edged closer to evening he kept expecting that at any second Maxwell's eternally cheerful voice or his annoying laughter would come to shatter it.

So he had taken himself and his laptop to the library, submerging himself in the electronic world, oblivious to the whispering background of library traffic.

When he finally wandered back into their room, he was surprised to see it was dark, save for the moonlight streaming in the window. He had been in the library for longer than he had realized. A rush of satisfaction filled him; he had successfully regained his concentration. He hadn't thought about Maxwell at all for hours.

Then he frowned. Where was Maxwell? He should be back by now. But his bed was empty.

He went over to the desk, not bothering to turn on a light, absently picking up a few papers and laying them neatly on the stack of books to his left before setting his laptop down. A quick glance at the clock confirmed the time; it was late. Maxwell should definitely be back by now.

Heero checked the room quickly in the faint light from the window, but there was no sign of Maxwell or even a pile of his stuff dumped on the floor to show that he had gone to eat or shower. He hadn't returned yet. Heero's frown grew deeper. If that idiot had managed to fuck up such a simple mission, Heero was going to let him have it when he got back. There was no way he should have had any trouble at all. He wasn't even supposed to have been on the base.

Damn him. If he had somehow managed to get himself captured, Heero was NOT going to rescue him. If he got his ass into trouble on an easy mission like that, he could get himself out. Heero crossed to the window, as if it were a looking glass to tell him Maxwell's whereabouts. There was nothing outside but the dark, empty schoolyard.

He turned his back on it and leaned against the sill with his hands in his pockets. Shit. He wasn't worried about Maxwell, who could bloody well take care of himself. But this meant the overall mission was going to be delayed by at least a day, maybe more if Maxwell had gotten himself injured.

The frown turned into a scowl, and Heero folded his arms, glaring at the ugly, practical carpet on the floor. He hated this school, and he wanted to move on as quickly as possible. He growled softly, wanting to hit something, then caught himself. God damn it... not again.

As always, the irrational anger faded quickly once he realized it's source. How the hell did Maxwell always fuck with his head like that? Why couldn't Heero seem react at all reasonably when he was around? Even indirectly, he provoked the most extreme and insensible responses.... it was maddening and frustrating, and Heero was sick to death of it.

He sighed, and pushed away from the window. He should just go to bed -- if Maxwell was this late, any kind of debriefing would have to wait until morning anyway.

He stood motionless, surveying the darkened room. The silent, very empty, darkened room. His eyes fell on the neatly made beds. Maxwell's, of course, had not been slept in, and was unnaturally tidy. It never looked that neat even after Maxwell had straightened it in the morning. The scene held an almost surreal, dreamlike quality, and with some effort, Heero ignored the prickle of unease at the back of his neck.

Annoyed, he strode over to the bed, intent on rumpling it a bit. Maxwell would be back soon enough, and there was no point in leaving it neatly made when he probably wouldn't even notice if it was. He paused in the act of reaching for the coverlet, recognizing yet another irrational reaction. Fuck! What the hell was wrong with him?

He groaned in frustration and confusion, sitting on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. He had successfully ignored Maxwell just fine while he was here, dismissing him without a thought the whole time. Now that he was gone, Heero was losing his ability to focus? This did not make sense. He took a deep breath, reaching for the center of calm he had found earlier.

It didn't matter. None of it mattered. Maxwell would be back yet tonight, probably very soon, and most likely, nothing had gone wrong. Heero would just sit here and wait for him, and chew him out for the delay when he got back.

He scooted back to lean against the wall, crossing his legs and folding his arms. He would wait a little while, just to make sure Maxwell hadn't screwed anything up on his mission.

Nothing had happened to him. Of course not.

on to chapter 5

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