Author: Anria Lalumin
Warnings: language, angst, sap, humour, shounen ai and yaoi later on

Lizards = thoughts/emphasis
::Lizards:: = sound effects

Trust + Part 6

As soon as Duo caught sight of a pale fall of hair spilling over the edge of the stretcher, he was on his feet and charging straight towards Zechs, only to collide with an immovable mountain of Thug.

"Get the fuck out of my way!" he yelled, squirming and struggling to get to Zechs even as the goon grabbed his arms and began forcefully moving him backwards. Duo stared after the stretcher as a man in a white lab coat directed the goons carrying it to move the unconscious man into the main body of the apartment. "Shit, let go of me!"

"Mr Maxwell." Suddenly, the man in the lab coat was in front of him, pressing a packet of pills into his hand. "Give him one every four hours, no more, no less. The cast is not to become wet."

Duo stared at the packet, going still. Painkillers. Possibly mixed with sedatives and God knows what else.

I HATE pills.

Pills had always represented death to him. If you needed to take them, you were ill. If you took them you died. But more than anything else, they took away your control. Control had always been very important to him, and he had a feeling it was for Zechs as well.

I'll ask him before I give him the bloody pills. So ner.

If Duo wasn't in such a serious mood, he would have burst out laughing at the sheer childishness of his last thought. However, it seemed like he'd been in a permanently serious mood for the past few days, and wasn't likely to come out of it any time soon.

When he looked up, the goons and the doctor had gone. Shaking himself and berating himself for the lack of awareness, he slammed into the main body of the apartment, eyes roving swiftly to catch sight of Zechs through the bedroom door, lying on the bed. He marched through, about to demand the man's opinion on the drugs, and stopped dead.

Zechs was asleep. The long blond hair spilled out over the bedcovers, bruised face nestled against the pillows. He had a split lip and a black eye, Duo noticed. Funny, he hadn't seen anyone hit him in the face.

Duo's eyes ran slowly down the length of his companion's body. The shirt was dirtied and ripped, one sleeve cut away to make room for the cast. It was partially unbuttoned, allowing him to see the developing bruises on the pale skin underneath, a few spots of dried blood spattering both skin and clothes. All in all, the elegant ex-Prince of Sank was a certified mess.

Despite that, he was gorgeous.

Duo jumped at the thought and hurriedly backed out of the room. Shutting the door, he leaned against it, staring into space.

Zechs Merquise, gorgeous?

Well, yeah, of course he was. But Duo never expected that to mean anything.

It would be like Heero. Sure, the guy was very attractive, and Duo knew that objectively, but that didn't mean he was attracted to him. Come to think of it, he'd always gone more for . . . blonds. . . .

Gah! Shut up!

He shoved away from the bedroom door, clutching his scalp with his hands. This was the absolute last thing he needed!

Okay, Duo, calm down. Everything will be okay if you just calm down.

Duo forced himself to lower his hands and take deep breaths, shutting his eyes for a moment. He stood there in complete silence for a while, slowly taking in a breath, holding it and letting it out. When he felt he was calm again, he opened his eyes.

"First things first," he muttered, and set about scouring the apartment for cushions, pillows, anything that would make his injured companion more comfortable. He felt a little guilty about keeping a pillow and a blanket back for himself once he'd found the airing cupboard, [1] but he wasn't going to risk getting so cold in the middle of the night he'd climb in the same bed and accidentally knock the man's arm. They were on bad enough terms already.

He rather carefully avoided thinking about the other reason he didn't want to stay in the same bed as Zechs.

Duo quietly deposited his armful of pillows and blankets at the foot of the bed and retreated quickly from the room. He shut the door behind him and leaned against it, staring blankly, before his stomach brought him back to Earth with a loud growl.

Despite his distress from a short while before, Duo chuckled. "Looks like one of us knows what he's doing," he murmured, and set off to raid the kitchen.

An omelette and two pieces of toast later, Duo found himself back in the living room sprawled on the floor with the skeleton of the communications device laid out in front of him. He had found it stuffed down the back of one of the sofa cushions, and was peering at it, trying to make out any damage. He couldn't see any, but his mind was only half on the job. The other half was quite stubbornly insisting on contemplating the situation with Zechs.

I wonder when he's gonna wake up. The doctor guy said to give him one of the pills every four hours, but it's only been three so far. . . . I wonder if he wanted me to wake the guy up or if the pills should wear off every four hours.

Duo scowled at the communicator. Dammit, there is no point in continually wondering about these things. What's that phrase? Oh yeah, "time will tell." So don't think about it and get on with your work.

He kept that firmly in mind every time some part of him tried to distract him form his task.

Two hours later, Duo was engrossed in trying to remove a tiny lump of dirt that had got caught up in a fairly vital part of the communicator when he heard movement from the bedroom. He froze, straining his ears to be certain he had heard what he thought he had, and scrambled up from his position on the floor as it was confirmed.

Bursting into the bedroom, he was confronted with the sight of Zechs trying to get out of the bed without moving his arm. The man was scowling, more in pain than in irritation, being as cautious of the broken bone as possible.

"Don't move!" Duo cried out, rushing to the man's side and trying to shove him back into bed. "Anything you want, I'll get it for you! You need to rest!"

Zechs glowered at him. "I want to go to the bathroom," he said. "I don't think you can help me with that."

Duo froze, and promptly went bright red. His mouth flapped open and closed in a very good imitation of a goldfish, while evil little demons painted a picture in his head that was at once both horrifying and incredibly appealing. He squeaked and almost ran out of the room.

Inside the bedroom, Zechs stared at the now-closed door, and shook his head. He wasn't even going to ask.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Duo hid in the living room for a while, pretending to be engrossed in making the communicator. He was rather stubbornly ignoring any sort of thought that had to do with Zechs, knowing as soon as he did he would remember the mental image he'd had in the bedroom, and go bright red. Again. And then with his luck, Zechs would walk in the door right at that very moment and demand to know why he was blushing, which would just make him blush harder.

So Duo was thoroughly ignoring the tiny part of his mind which had dragged out the image, put a couch in front of it, grabbed some popcorn and was openly drooling.

He jumped when the bedroom door opened, whacking his head on the table beside him as he did so. "Aw, fuck," he whimpered, clutching a hand to his head and staggering upright. When he focused again, Zechs was standing in the bedroom doorway giving him a look that was decidedly not friendly.

Duo gulped and lowered his hand, standing up straight. See? Even he thinks it's your fault.

"Have you eaten all the food in the apartment or am I finally allowed some sustenance?" the blond man demanded. Duo shook his head mutely and hurried into the kitchen, feeling incredibly small and not liking the sensation much.

Look on this as payback, Maxwell, he thought to himself. You made him feel like this.

Zechs followed him into the other room and sat in one of the chairs, cradling his arm and scowling at everything in sight. Duo avoided looking at him as he hurriedly made an omelette - the fastest thing he knew how to cook - so he could get the hell out of the kitchen ASAP.

Zechs muttered a "thank you" at him as he deposited the plate in front of the man, and leaned forward to eat. Duo was about to leave when he saw the other man wince and reposition his arm so it wasn't knocking against the table, as it had been in his previous position. This prompted him to speak.

"Um, Zechs," he said hesitantly, then blurted the rest out in a rush. "The doctor who brought you in gave me some pills and said to give them to you every hour but I thought I'd ask you first since I don't know what's in them or what they'll do but it's pretty likely they're painkillers so if you want some I can go get them and-"

Duo's mouth slammed shut as two piercing blue eyes turned to look at him. His instincts were screaming at him to run, but his muscles were petrified solid. He would never have had this sort of reaction usually, but this situation was far from a usual one - he was determined not to offend the other man again, and since he was standing on fairly shaky ground anyway from his previous association with him and the man's current bad mood, any time he felt the slightest bit threatened he froze. He didn't know what else to do.

"You had these pills since before I woke up," Zechs said flatly.

"Yes," Duo squeaked.

"You knew I was going to be in pain the moment I woke up."


"Then why in God's name did you not give them to me?!"

"I'll go get them now," Duo squeaked, and fled. Shit, this is worse than I thought it would be, he thought morosely as he retrieved the pills. He paused outside the kitchen door, and readied himself to deposit the pills on the table and run as quickly as possible.

He made it as far as the door again on his way out before Zechs stopped him. "Duo," he called.

Duo froze, then forced himself to unfreeze and slowly turned around. He plastered what he hoped was close to an inquisitive expression on his face, since he knew if he tried to talk his voice would decide to pretend someone had just grabbed his balls and squeezed.

Zechs dropped his fork and sighed, rubbing his eyes. For the first time, Duo noticed the thin lines of tension at the edges of his mouth and the crease between his brows, signs that the man was suffering pain and trying not to let it show. "I'm sorry, Duo," he said. "I didn't mean to snap. I'm just not used to dealing with this continual ache - I can deal with pain over a short period of time, but any longer and my control snaps." He raised his head, giving his companion a rueful smile. "Thank you for the pills and the omelette."

Duo blinked at him, and summoned enough presence of mind to stammer out, "You're welcome," before he fled into the relative safety of the living room.

Sinking to the floor beside the shell of a communications device, he stared blindly into space for a while.

Shit, Maxwell. You can never take the easy path, can you?


[1] Airing cupboard - I'm not sure if anyone else has these, but in our house we put towels and bedcovers and stuff in there right over the boiler so it stays all nice and warm and fluffy. ^_^ I just used it because that's where if we had any spare blankets or pillows they'd be.

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