Author: Anria Lalumin
Disclaimer: And here I shall plagiarise! If you don't know, I'm not telling you! (sorry Gwynn. . . .)
Warnings: little bit o' bad language, angst, some weird comparisons.
Pairings: You're still asking me about that? Jeez, would've thought you'd've figured it out by now. . . .
Dedicated to Karen from KanaDUH, and sorry this took so long!

Trust + Part 4

Zechs felt superfluous.

He watched Duo, lying flat out on the floor muttering to himself over the disassembled computer components, and felt completely, truly, and utterly, useless. There was nothing for him to do that Duo hadn't already taken over -- which at the moment consisted solely of trying to form a method of communication with the outside world. About all he could do was try to work out who was holding them, how many of them there were, and what they wanted, which had about as much purpose as looking for one grain of flour dropped in the Pacific Ocean.

The blond man sighed heavily, eyes blurring slightly as he once again looked at the list on the piece of paper. There were always the usual suspects whenever there were rumours of terrorist activity, but those organisations were often simply a lot of bark and no bite. A couple of times they would get together and organise a small bomb strike, but those were almost always picked up by Preventers or the police and dealt with quickly. Most of the time they pranced around and postured, making speeches about their cause, but no one really did anything. People were just enjoying Relena's peace way too much to cause trouble.

Zechs had been working on this for the past three days, and all he could think of was that it was a more radical branch of one of those organisations deciding to go about things their own way. It certainly didn't seem like a new bunch of lunatics -- they kept a very close watch for even the slightest hint of any militaristic factions, and so for them to be this organised and get so far with their plan -- whatever the hell that was -- they had to be part of one the Preventers already knew existed and had stopped paying so much attention to when they hadn't done anything for a long time. It was virtually inconceivable that they just popped up out of nowhere without Une getting wind of it.

As for their numbers, well, that was impossible to tell. There seemed to be a large amount of them, but estimating the total would require a lot more opportunities to see the men than had been given. Being frog-marched down a couple of corridors once and once only didn't exactly help much.

He sighed again and set down his pen, grinding the heels of his palms into his eyes to try and make the focus. It didn't work, but that didn't stop him from trying.

"Damn it!"

Zechs' head jerked up at Duo's infuriated exclamation, staring bemusedly as the man threw down his makeshift screwdriver, fisting his hands into his braid.

Looked like he wasn't the only one who was frustrated.

Duo thrust himself to his feet and stamped off in the direction of the antechamber they had first been placed into. It was one of the few places in the apartment the braided man felt comfortable in; he seemed te equate a large amount of the rest of it with Zechs, and thus could not relax. Or rather, he could relax all too easily, which disturbed him.

Zechs let out his breath and leaned back in his chair, tilting his head back to look at the ceiling. The past few days had been tense, to say the least; Duo seemed to waver between being nice to him without realising what he was doing, being nice to him because of their 'truce', being nasty to him on principle (which Zechs still hadn't figured out), and being nasty to him because he suddenly remembered that he had been nice to him a moment before and he wasn't supposed to like him.

Had he said before this was starting to give him a headache? Scratch that, he had a migraine just trying to keep up with the braided man's mood changes, never mind responding to whatever comment came out of his mouth.

So far, he had worked out a couple of things. One, Duo wasn't being nasty to him because he disliked him as a person -- quite the opposite, in fact he seemed to like him when he wasn't paying attention. Two, Duo trusted him, apparently against the man's better judgement. Three, whenever the American realised he was working on those two set of conditions, it was a toss-up between whether he would lay into Zechs instantly or suddenly remember a pressing engagement in the next room.

All that indicated was that the man had some serious personal issues to work out. Having had more than his fair share of those, Zechs opted to be nice to him when he could and leave him alone when he appeared to need it. Heck knows he could have done with a little more consideration after the first Eve War, when working through his own problems.

It suddenly occurred to him that being nice to Duo wasn't helping the man any.

Zechs snickered. Well, it could be looked on as his own revenge for the comments he'd had to suffer over the past three days. His own way of not making the conclusions Duo had to come to any easier. The result of this was that the tension between them was palpable.

He had to say, he was looking forward to the explosive argument that was bound to come in the next couple of days.

***

Duo slammed the door to the antechamber behind him, before giving into his frustration and let out a short yell, hands fisted into his hair.

This whole damn thing was going nowhere! It should have been stupidly easier to make a communicator, given his knowledge of machinery and mechanics, even if there was no telephone line to hook it up to. It should have taken no more than maybe a day at most, if there were a couple of glitches.

Of course, all that was operating on the idea that he actually had the necessary tools. A screwdriver, a hammer, some strong gloves, a soldering iron. . . . The list went on and on.

All he had to work with was a small bent piece of metal masquerading as a screwdriver.

It was incredibly frustrating. Duo was not a person much given to patience, and time and time again he found himself having to remind himself to slow down, calm down, that if he threw the goddamn piece of shit against the wall it might eliminate their only chance of getting out of there.

Zechs wasn't helping any.

Sure, there wasn't much he could do to help, in practical terms. Even if the man had a better knowledge of mechanics -- which wasn't likely, considering that all throughout his life he had had people who would have looked after any mobile suits he used and therefore removed any possible practical knowledge he might have acquired, barring what the OZ Academy taught their students -- he would have been completely useless as the delicate pieces they had to work with meant that there really wasn't much space to work in. That, more than anything, was most likely what was getting to Duo -- the fact that he was finding his hands, which he had been so proud at being able to fix anything, to build anything, to be one of the few signs on his body that he was ever going to get taller -- they were just too big for this job, at times.

However, it didn't help that whenever Duo tried to start a harmless little argument that would blow away all the tension created from this fucked up mission, Zechs would just smile and nod at whatever insult he gave him and ask him what he wanted for lunch.

Duo had the sudden wild thought that maybe that was how Sally coped with Wufei in one of his rants.

He started giggling at the complete incongruity of the mental image of himself in the traditional white garments of Wufei's clan, hair yanked back tightly on his head, strutting around waving his hands in the air over some obscure point with Zechs sitting, smiling and nodding his head and his hair twisted into two pigtails.

Duo put his face in his hands, smothering the hysterical giggles that gradually turned into sobbing gasps for air. The way things were going, he could actually see them ending up like that. Minus the bad hair styles.

The thing was, he actually liked Zechs. And that was causing him more frustration and mental angst than any other thing about the whole shitty situation.

When Duo was mean, Zechs was nice. When Duo needed quiet, Zechs was quiet. When Duo needed to let his frustrations out, he provided a perfect opportunity. Hell, when Duo needed a drink all he had to do was look up and there was the blasted man with a glass!

It was causing him some serious problems. There was absolutely nothing the man did that Duo could attack him for. He even held up well under some insults that had Duo cringing, and he'd heard more than his fair share and had learned to take all of them with a pinch of salt. He never even mentioned the cuddling problem, even though they both knew it would send Duo cringing back into his shell if he did!

"Why me?" Duo asked the ceiling, tilting his head back to study the opulent design. "Why him?"

The ceiling didn't reply.

Duo sighed and slumped in the nearest chair. He just wanted to go home, to forget this whole stupid mess and get on with his blasted life without the interference of one too-perfect Zechs bloody Merquise! Hell, he'd even settle for getting out of this apartment for five minutes!

As if in answer to Duo's thoughts, the outer door opened.

+

[part 3] [part 5] [back to Anria's fic]