Author: Anria Lalumin
Disclaimer: not mine! Don't sue!
Warnings: uh . . . language? Eensie bit of angst? Duo still being stupid? Don't worry, that last one should change soon.
Pairings: none yet, but I'm working on it.

Lizards = thoughts/emphasis

Trust + Part 3

If you'd told Duo that he'd wake up at any point in his life wrapped around Zechs Merquise like an overgrown kitten, he'd have called you a blind fool and knocked you a good one.

After laughing his ass off, of course.

That was, however, the position he found himself in the next morning.

"Holy fuck!"

Once Duo had woken up enough to realise just who it was he was glomped onto like there was no tomorrow, he threw himself away from the man, scrambling backwards on the bed on his hands and feet, eyes wide with shock. However, he misjudged the distance he had until he reached the other side of the bed -- or just didn't care -- and fell backwards off the bed, cracking his already sore head on the floor on the other side.

Duo slapped a hand over his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose and waiting for the sparks behind his eyelids to fade. He could feel his face burning: he had to look incredibly stupid, his torso firmly planted on the floor and his legs so twisted up in the covers one ankle was suspended above the floor, the other leg propped on the bed up to the knee. He refused to open his eyes and acknowledge that he had overreacted and made a royal fool of himself, even when the bedcovers that had remained on the bed rustled with movement.

"Good morning to you too. I wasn't aware I was so repulsive."

If Duo hadn't been put into a superbly pissy mood by falling off the bed and whacking his head on the floor already, that would have made him laugh. As it was, he just scrunched his eyes tighter shut and pretended the last five minutes hadn't happened.

Better yet, the last two days.

The bedcovers rustled again, indicating Zechs had stood up. The sound of the door opening reached Duo's ears. "I believe I will leave you alone to gather what remains of your dignity," Zechs said from the vicinity of the room's exit. "After all, I'm hardly the person you most wish to see right now."

The door shut.

Duo lay still for a moment, pinching the bridge of his nose harder. "Yeah, go make a damn fool out of yourself why don't you, Maxwell," he muttered, before opening his eyes and beginning to disentangle his bare feet from the covers. The only thing he had taken off last night were his shoes -- and seeing as how he had woken up next to Zechs Merquise, of all people, he was suddenly very glad of that fact.

Duo sat on the bed, rubbing his face to try and return some feeling to it -- and get rid of the blush. He didn't blush! Blushing was for girls! Ick. Okay, focus on what you're gonna do today -- take that computer apart and see if there's anything to make a radio transmitter out of. Even Morse code will do, as long as it reaches Une.

That was better. No longer focusing on his humiliating wakeup ritual, Duo found his blush fading and confidence returning to him. Half his mind focused on what he could do with computer components, while the other half wondered if Zechs was making breakfast, and if he was, could he please hurry up.

Sighing to himself, Duo stood and made his way to the door, not bothering to root around in the wardrobe and chest for clothes that would fit him, that the whackos who'd brought them there had supposedly left. Entering the central room, he was caught by the sight through the door of Zechs leaning against the counter in the kitchen, arms crossed over his chest and staring at the floor. A sizzling sound indicated that yes, the man had started cooking.

Why can't I make my mind up about him? Duo wondered. I spend the better part of my life despising him, then curl up like a baby beside him and go to sleep. How can you trust someone you hate?

Good question. The only other person he'd ever trusted so instinctively had been. . . .

Shut up, Duo told himself viciously. That's in the past.

He strode across the carpeted floor silently, the thick surface muffling his footsteps. Making no noise was a habit to him, but Zechs' head still snapped up as soon as he began moving.

Uncharacteristically, Duo said nothing as he entered the kitchen, merely sitting down at the table across from Zechs. The blond man stared at him silently for a moment, before turning back to the food sizzling on the stove.

Duo could see it now, and his mouth started watering. Pancakes!


"Wooh yeah!"

Neither said anything more while Zechs dished out the previously cooked pancakes onto a plate and handed them to Duo. The braided man wasn't at the table, however -- about the only part of him visible was his butt as he rummaged around in the cupboard.

He surfaced a couple of seconds later with a huge and rather obviously fake smile plastered on his face, arms full of sugar, maple syrup, and a couple of lemons. "Here we go -- the best of stuff for eatin' pancakes with!" he declared, dumping his load on the table and grabbing his plate, squeezing lemon juice liberally over it, then almost emptying the entire sugar supply he had with him on top of that. "You havin' any?" he asked Zechs, mumbling as he stuffed his loaded fork into his mouth.

"In a moment," Zechs replied, trying not to gape as Duo attacked the pancakes like he hadn't eaten for a month.

The whole atmosphere was awkward. Duo's smile was strained at the edges, and damned if Zechs could think of anything to say to ease the tension between them, leaving them both in an uncomfortable silence. Both were avoiding mentioning anything about that morning and the previous night, Duo out of embarrassment, and Zechs out of sheer courtesy. And the fact that he was finding it very hard to have any sort of antagonism towards Duo, despite the other man's words and actions.

Searching desperately for something to relieve the tense silence that had fallen over the kitchen, broken only by the sizzling of the frying batter, Zechs blurted out the first thing that sounded remotely plausible as a topic of conversation. "Why were you put on this mission with me? You usually work with Quatre, don't you?"

Duo swallowed and licked his lips before speaking. "Usually, yeah," he said, "but Q broke his arm on the last mission, and even if this mission was s'pposed to be really easy and all, Preventers regulations still states he can't go out into the field until his arms heals." He shrugged and ate another mouthful.

Zechs digested that, then frowned. "If you don't mind me asking, why do you partner with Quatre? If he and Trowa are lovers, then I would have thought it more likely that they would want to back each other up on missions."

Duo shrugged again. "According to Q, neither one of them wants to go on a mission with the other one because they'd be too caught up worrying about the other one to concentrate fully on the mission. Which is why Tro-Tro usually partners Wuffie, and Q goes with me." He scooped more pancakes into his mouth and chewed thoughtfully for a moment. "That's probably why Wufei doesn't want to be anywhere near Sally when he's on a mission. Worrying about the person you love, and all."

"And Heero left Preventers when he married Relena," Zechs murmured, mostly to himself.

"Yep. See, she's got him wrapped round her little finger, and she doesn't realise it at all!" Duo snickered. "Prob'ly for the best. Lord knows what she'd get him to do if she did realise. . . ."

Zechs ignored Duo, taking his own pile of pancakes and sitting down across from Duo, beginning to eat, much more slowly and with far more decorum than the American.

Their short interlude of conversation had eased the tension between them somewhat, most likely due to Duo temporarily forgetting he didn't like Zechs since most of his attention was on his food. The blond man had noticed Duo did that occasionally -- which led him to believe that Duo's 'hatred' of him was not as well-grounded the other man would like to believe.

"So when we get out of this, I'll be back on roster with Q," Duo said suddenly, having followed a completely different line of thought to Zechs'. He grinned at the older man. "Which is good, 'cause I wouldn't want to be permanently partnered with you anyway."

Or maybe he hadn't followed such a different line of thought.

Zechs suddenly felt irritated. "Why? Because we're oh-so-in love?" he asked sarcastically.

Duo snorted. "Not a chance in hell. Even if you do make really good pancakes."

Zechs eyes him bemusedly. Such a bundle of contradictions Duo was -- one minute insulting him, then next complimenting him.

He really wished the man would make up his mind. This was beginning to give him a headache.

~ End Part 3

And that cleared absolutely nothing up! >.< Great. Um, comments?
And no, the lemon juice was not meant to be an innuendo.

[part 2] [part 4] [back to Anria's fic]