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Common Ground 1

Common Ground 1 - See the third update in three days?  See it?  I rock.  (Thank you, commenters - you make me write!)

Wufei had managed to forget about his non-date for all of Sunday and most of Monday.  He'd had reports to finish for his client, and then a long phone call with Sally, who started the call by demanding to know what he'd done to "scare off" David.  Wufei had nearly said "David who?", thus narrowly avoiding a long lecture about paying attention in favor of a long lecture about how sad it would be if he grew old alone - and how it would be All His Fault.  Wufei had managed to escape without another appointment to relieve his "loneliness."  He spent several minutes thankful that he was alone, and then gone back to his paperwork.

So it hadn't been until Monday night that he'd realized that he was supposed to meet Treize the next day.  That night, it had seemed easy to put aside the thoughts.  He'd been buzzed, going on tipsy, Saturday night.  He'd also been sexually frustrated, and thus vulnerable, and the man had clearly been accustomed to charming young men.  Thinking back, he'd been tall compared to Wufei, but still an inch or two shy of just plain tall.  And while it was true that he had had very nice eyes, hadn't he had strange eyebrows?  And a large nose (not that Wufei had much room to throw stones).  And he'd just made assumptions about what Wufei would want, or what he meant, or what he wanted.  In the full light of day, that was unacceptable.  'I have no intentions of dating you," purred a memory-voice.  Completely unacceptable, Wufei assured himself, and went to bed.

Tuesday morning, he had breakfast with his client, handed over the papers, and received his final check.  It had been a straightforward case - an investigation into the sources behind the companies buying up stock in a handful of top vineyards - but it had been time consuming, and the amount was enough to pay rent and food bills for several months, with a little left over.  Feeling cheerful, he went back to the apartment.  Duo was sleeping, so he went for a run, took another shower, and then stood in a towel in front of his closet, a feeling of horror beginning to squeeze his chest.

He had to think of something to wear on his not-date.  And the longer he stood there, the worse the feeling got.  He didn't want to look nice, because he wasn't trying to impress Treize.  But then, if he looked too ragged, then Treize would assume that Wufei was actively trying to look like he wasn't on a date, which might indicate that he cared about what Treize thought.  Wufei groped blindly, came up with a pair of training pants, and discarded them.  Finally, after going through his meagre wardrobe twice, he found a pair of jeans that he hadn't worn in at least a year, and a green button-up shirt that was neither stained nor expensive-looking.  By the time that decision was made, he only had a few brief moments to brush his hair, tie it back, and find his car keys.  The lack of time was a mercy, because he knew that left to his own devices, he'd only stare at the mirror, change his clothes again, and then give in to despair. 

He still managed to be five minutes early, and grab a table in the corner.  He ordered iced tea, and pretended to peruse the menu until Treize walked in.  Treize glanced around.  When he spotted Wufei, he smiled, and Wufei's stomach rolled over slowly.  It was not an entirely unpleasant sensation. 

"I wasn't sure you'd come," Treize confessed.

Wufei shrugged.  The thought hadn't even really occured to him, although it certainly seemed like a good idea now.  Treize sat next to him, and Wufei wondered if he could really feel the larger man's body heat, or if it was just his imagination.

They sat in silence until the waitress showed up to take their orders.  As soon as she left, Treize turned to him with a smile.  "I'm sorry about Saturday night.  I have the feeling I might have dismissed your concerns, and I certainly didn't mean to do that."

Wufei shrugged.  "You did dismiss them, but that's not anything unusual.  Everyone else does, too.  No hard feelings."

Treize smiled.  "You know, most people have a few nasty relationships.  How old are you, twenty-five?"

"About that," Wufei agreed.  He was actually twenty-two, but he certainly didn't want to add to his perceived vulnerability.

"Let's see.  By your age, I'd managed to get my girlfriend pregnant.  We planned to get married, but neither of us counted on the strain a baby can put on a relationship - especially when one of the members is gay."  He smirked.  "And I knew I was gay, although I had very altruistic thoughts of recreating myself in this nuclear family.  Leia was my 'experiment' with the fairer sex.  Needless to say, we never got married."

"What did your parents say?" Wufei asked, faintly horrified.  Their food arrived, and he ate mechanically.

"Not much.  My mother gave her tacit approval, and my father offered to pay my way at any college at least a thousand miles away."  He chuckled.  "Although they were living in northern Russia at the time, so it wasn't much of a hardship.  I ended up at Oxford, which is an excellent place for a young man who has had enough of committed relationships."  Treize's eyes were distant with memory.  "It's a mercy that one of my first flings impressed upon me the need for safe sex, or I probably would have ended up with all kinds of nasty diseases."  Wufei flushed, and Treize laughed.  "Oh, I do sound old when I talk like that.  I'm sorry."

Wufei shrugged it off.  "So what then?"

"Then?  Then there was Zechs."  The nostalgia faded to something warm, and Wufei saw that Treize was still in love with the memory, at the very least, if not with the man.  There was no other explanation for his expression.  "Very possibly the most beautiful man I've ever seen.  I don't think . . . I don't think I understood love properly, until him.  Although it took us six months before we actually made it to bed together."

Wufei was silent.

"We were together two years.  He wanted to do something noble - give his life to mankind, that sort of rot.  There was a hostage situation - well."  Treize straightened.  "He died," he finished. 

"I'm very sorry," Wufei murmured. 

Treize smiled at him - a real smile.  "I won't lie and tell you that it doesn't matter, that the good days were all that mattered.  But even knowing that there probably won't be another Zechs, that doesn't mean that there can't be something else."

Wufei sighed.  "That's very uplifting, but . . ."

"What, still hung up on your own Zechs?"

"Oh, God, no," Wufei said, amused by the very idea.  "No, my first relationship was with my wife.  She was not an experiment - the whole affair was very carefully arranged and managed.  We were supposed to have many sons - that kind of thing." 

"An arranged marriage?"

"It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I'm afraid I didn't have your . . . self-awareness.  I had no idea I was gay.  We hated each other.  I probably deserved it; I treated her terribly."

"How old were you?"

"Sixteen."

"Jesus."

"It wasn't . . ."  Wufei struggled, torn between justifying his parents' action and admitting just how much he'd suffered.  "It wasn't so bad," he said finally.  "We got divorced not long after she got her permanent residency status here."  The divorce had rocked his family to the foundations - his mother had never forgiven him.  He laughed self-consciously.  "We're better friends now than we were when we were married."

"I can understand that.  So what then?"

Wufei laughed.  "So then my roommate's friend got me drunk and seduced me.  That might have actually worked out, if I hadn't been a complete homophobe, and terrified by the thought of becoming one of Them."  He pushed his plate back.  "Then came Trowa, who really loved me, at least until he discovered someone who wasn't terrified of his own homosexuality; Mark, who was married with four children; Phil, who used drugs and stole money; the one who wanted a wife, the one who wanted a sugar daddy, the one who was really straight, and the one who was a felon.  I'm afraid those are the highlights, since the whole list and sordid details would take another few days."

Treize was watching him seriously.

"Convinced yet?" Wufei asked.

"Of what?"

"That I'm right, and you're better off finding yourself someone else."

"Oh, was that what you were doing?  No, I'm afraid you're failing miserably at that.  You're doing a fairly good job of convincing me that you're unlucky, and that you have bad taste in men."

Wufei threw up his hands.  "Look, I'm not interested."

"Really?"  Treize touched his hand, and Wufei suppressed the urge to jerk it back, because it felt rather like low-level electricity was humming between them.  "Because I think you're interested in me despite yourself."

Wufei almost protested, then sighed.  "I find you attractive.  That's not the same thing as being interested."

"Well, it's the same as being interested in something." 

Wufei glanced up, and swallowed hard.  Treize's eyes were slightly dilated, and watching him with a concentration that Wufei found extremely unnerving.  Had he been watching that closely during the whole meal?  Wufei had mostly been studying his plate, or the flower arrangement, and he suddenly felt like he'd missed an entire other conversation.  Perhaps an important one, judging by the look in Treize's eyes, which was not at all repulsed.  "Treize -"

"Yes?"

"You don't want me."

"Why don't you let me decide what I do and don't want?"  Treize asked.  Wufei struggled with an answer for a moment.  Treize slid his hand around Wufei's wrist, caressing the pulse gently.  "Stop trying to warn me off."

Wufei felt a flush start up his neck.  "Fine," he managed, ignoring the sharp, hungry expression on his companion's face.  He could tell himself that he was only doing this because Treize was a predator, and the worst thing to do around a predator was run.  He could tell himself that later, because right now, the slow curve of Treize's smile was sending shocks all the way to his toes.  "But only if you let me decide what I want.  Stop pretending you know all about me."

"Certainly."  Treize's breath tickled his fingertips.  "I promise to investigate every single bit of you before drawing any conclusions."

Wufei swallowed hard.  "That's not what I meant."

"No?"

"No."  Wufei waited a moment, then shook his head.  "There's no hope that you're going to stop that, is there."

"Stop what?" Treize asked, and then chuckled as Wufei gave him an acid glare and pulled his hand free.  "I'm not going to stop flirting until you stop reacting so deliciously - all flushes and self-consciousness."

Wufei took a gulp of iced tea.  "Can we change the subject?"

Miraculously, Treize shrugged, leaning back.  He wasn't that much further away, but Wufei felt his pulse calm.  The look in those dark blue eyes was no longer predatory.  It was as though a magician had snapped his fingers, releasing him from a glamour.  Wufei felt a stab of ... something.  Irritation.  "As you wish," Treize said.  Seemingly without effort, Treize steered them into a conversation about historical fiction and historical fact, and the gray areas in between.

Wufei might have been convinced that the hunger was gone, if it hadn't been for the way Treize's eyes smoldered whenever they focused on him.  It set off a low-key kind of thrum in the pit of his stomach, a warning that he was playing with fire, whether or not Treize kept his hands and insinuations to himself. 

Still, it wasn't enough of a warning that Wufei didn't take the initiative when their checks arrived.  He paid his in cash, and then stood, stretching.  "There's an exhibit at the Hosfelt I want to see.  I was thinking some afternoon later this week.  Perhaps - perhaps you'd care to join me?"

Treize stood.  "I would be delighted."

"Good," Wufei managed.   "I should go.  I'll call you with the details."  He turned, feeling as though he was too warm altogether.  He pushed through the door, into the brilliant sunshine.  He was unlocking the door of his car when Treize caught his wrist.  His heart slammed into gear.  If this continued, he wouldn't need to go to the gym any longer.  Wufei turned, very aware of the larger man and the slim, strong fingers around his wrist.

"I never gave you my number," Treize said, and pushed a scrap of paper into his hand. 

Wufei didn't even glance at it.  This close, he could smell Treize's cologne, something vaguely floral and smokey.  His heart was hammering in his chest.  "This is insane," he whispered.

Treize folded Wufei's fingers around the number.  "I should very much like to kiss you," he murmured.  "Is that too fast for you?"

Fast.  Wufei's heart was too fast.  The earth under his feet seemed to be spinning very fast.  But Treize's arm, brushing past his side to brace against the car, was not moving at all.  He knew himself well enough that as soon as he was in his car, the doubts would return.  On the other hand, he wanted.  "Yes."

"Yes, it's too fast, or yes, you'll let me?"

"Kiss me," Wufei responded.  There was one sweet moment of anticipation, and then Treize bent further.  Their lips brushed, and Wufei shuddered.  It was not sweet, although it was slow and gentle.  One arm wound around Wufei's waist, tugging him close, and Treize was all he could feel, smell, and taste.  It was over far too quickly, just as Wufei was expecting it to become fierce.  

Treize drew back a scant inch.  "Say my name."  Treize's tenor was huskier than usual.

"Treize."  Wufei's own voice was not quite normal, either.  The larger man shivered.  For a moment, Wufei was certain that Treize was going to kiss him again, not at all gently, but instead he sighed and stepped back.  Wufei blinked in the suddenly brilliant sun, once again realizing that they were in a public parking lot.  "I should go."

"You'll call me?"

Wufei nodded.  Treize ran a finger down his cheek, and walked back to his own car.  Wufei stood alone, leaning against his vehicle, for a good two minutes, wondering whether he was very lucky, or completely insane.  Or both. 
Tags: 13x5
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