Author: BleedToBlue
Genre: Gundam Wing Fanfiction
Pairings: 6x2, 3x4, 1xR, 1+2, hints of 5x2.
Rating: R-ish
Warnings: Implied m/m

A/N: Follow up to Just a Wedding
Many thanks to everyone who has read/reviewed/encouraged, and to Dacia for archiving my stories.
Thanks especially to Marasmine for beta-ing and poking me with the sharp stick and for all her help.

The Entropy of Memory + Chapter 2

It was just lunch. At least that's what he told himself. Another small campaign in his ongoing war. Just lunch with friends and co-workers, after the successful completion of a case; the criminal tried and convicted. Just a meal, except that... Duo would be there, and he felt like his brain might short circuit thinking about it.

He hadn't seen Duo in weeks; hadn't touched him in months; hadn't stopped wanting him since he'd first been introduced to Duo at Relena's and Heero's party. Lunch and the first skirmish after weeks of non-engagement.

He had thought he'd been conducting a simple flirtation, then a complicated seduction, and finally he'd realized that it was a courtship. He'd flirted and pursued; charmed and teased by turns; but in the end, to his bemusement, he'd been the one seduced.

Zechs' heart had been captured by a slender, tough-as-nails, ex-gundam pilot who wasn't impressed by Zechs' looks, his money, or his name. A man who was curiously shy underneath the brash, bold exterior, and who didn't seem to want anything to do with him. Zechs didn't intend to let that stop him. Duo had let him in once; there had been something between them; there was something there still.

Not that the seduction had been intentional on Duo's part; but Zechs' had gone oh-so-willingly. He'd thought, he'd hoped, that it had meant as much to Duo as it had to him. Zechs' had fallen quickly, willingly, completely; not frightened of the intensity of emotion because he was too busy experiencing the welcome sensation of falling in love again. And hadn't thought that it might be unwelcome or overwhelming for Duo, who was still raw from loss. He'd misjudged, misunderstood the depth of Duo's fears. But he was going to fix it.

He'd kissed Duo. Duo had kissed him back, enthusiastically; had turned the kiss against him, controlled it. Zechs had given in to his own longings and desires, letting his body overrule his common sense. Zechs thought letting Duo take the lead, be in control, would reasure him that Zechs was serious. He'd not known how fragile Duo's emotions were but he'd thought that telling Duo how he felt, what he wanted and hoped for between the two of them, would convince Duo to trust him. Duo had listened, hadn't denied Zechs' feelings; he'd had held Zechs, kissed him, loved him. Then Duo was gone.

He'd run, leaving Zechs waiting for him like a fool. Duo had been afraid and frightened but Zechs had been so sure of him, so confident, that he'd not seen or understood the fear. Duo had run; leaving Zechs angry with himself rather than Duo, and very much in love. And very determined. He considered the first round a draw; Duo wanted him. The rest might not be easy but he was sure of the outcome. Duo would be his, was his.

Zechs wasn't sure what Duo had finally responded to; maybe it was the kiss, maybe it was just Duo's own pain and heartbreak. Duo had waited for Zechs' to return from the airport and he'd wanted go with him. Zechs was sure that part hadn't been a lie, or his imagination. He should n't have given Duo the opportunity to have doubts. Zechs didn't give up; he regrouped and re-organized, strategized and carried out his plans.

He'd handed Duo his heart and had every intention of taking Duo's captive in return. Soft and gentle and honest hadn't done it; he intended to use guerrilla warfare if necessary. Stealth, subterfuge, deception; overwhelming force if necessary. He had partners in crime now, and the plan should all fall together shortly.

It was much more than lunch. It was a campaign; and Duo was the objective.


Joining Preventers had been a calculated gamble. Waiting in Une’s office with his heart in his mouth, waiting for Duo to walk in the door, hoping he’d not made a terrible mistake, had been one of the longest hours of Zechs' life. An intermiable hour of making small talk with Une, who was smugly pleased that he’d finally acquiesced to her entreaties and joined the Preventers.

He wondered if Une had any idea why; it wouldn’t be surprising if she did. He was sure, no matter what she knew, that she was discreet. Une had agreed readily to his request to work with the Gundam pilots but it had been Une’s own suggestion that he become Duo’s partner. It suited his purpose.

It was more than he’d hoped for and that alone had raised his suspicions that Une knew all or at least some of it. He hoped that Relena wasn’t the source of her information. Thinking of Une and Relena discussing his love life was a bit unsettling. He’d been lost in that thought when Duo had knocked on the door and flung it wide open at Une’s response. And had seen Chang lurking in the hall with a fierce scowl on his handsome face.

Zechs' view of Duo was perfect as Duo walked into the room and caught sight of him. He saw the smile start to slide, and the moment that Duo regained control and slapped the mask back on. A casual observer would never have noticed, but he wasn't casual. He knew that Une, too, was sharp and focused, that she had seen and filed Duo’s reaction away for further consideration.

Zechs noted Une’s sly wording, urging them to 'let the past go and start fresh.' Now he was sure she knew. He hadn’t failed to understand most of Duo’s response to seeing him again. It was like deciphering complex code to understand Duo; Duo’s expressions, body language, his turn of phrase; all said something more than the surface value. Duo was surprised, then nervous, then something else; unhappy, uncomfortable, and the something else that Zechs couldn't quite put his finger on.

Zechs felt he was getting better at reading Duo, he had to be, he wouldn't make a mistake this time; wouldn't let Duo slip through his fingers. Duo might not lie but he was twisty, deceptive, devious; not easy. That difficulty, that challenge was, of course, part of the charm and attraction. But Zechs had seen the look on Duo's face.

He listened to Duo’s words and read the subtext. Duo was afraid, and at odds with himself. He wanted, but was terrified of losing people. He needed, and hated being vulnerable. Losing Heero had been a near fatal last blow to Duo’s willingness to take a chance; to reach out. Duo had risked a lot to reach out to Zechs, but he had reached out in desperation, and had seen it as weakness.

Duo had been vulnerable at the wedding but even then the warrior was there. Now, Zechs thought, here in his own environment Duo would feel in control, he'd be careful not to let Zechs see any cracks in his composure, it would be up to Zachs to convince Duo to give him another chance. Zechs had spent years as a soldier, trained to find his enemies weaknesses, and exploit them for his own purposes. But this was different. Duo wasn't an enemy, only his resistance to Zechs was. Duo's own uncertainties stood between them; those were the enemies Zechs needed to overcome. And he would.

Une had finished speaking, Duo had said his piece, and it had been his turn. Zechs had reached out and taken Duo's hand in his own and shook it, he'd felt the electricty between them; had known that Duo felt it, too. He smiled and at that moment was sure. Duo had snatched back his hand and left the room, muttering something about seeing Zechs in the office.

Zechs had started to follow but stopped as Une spoke.

"I hope your obsession doesn't cost me a good agent." Une wasn't smiling anymore.

"It's hardly your business." Zechs replied stiffly.

"Oh, it's very much my business. He's not going to stay here unless there's something worth staying for. He's been on the verge of leaving or getting himself killed since Heero left." Une answered.

"Then how could it be my fault if he leaves now?" Zechs asked.

"Don't push too hard, Zechs. If you do he'll be gone and we'll never see him again." Une hesitated for a moment. "Though you may not believe it, and Duo never will, I rather like the Gundam boys. And they make damn good Preventers." She added the last in her usual brisk, no-nonsense tone.

Zechs eyed Une warily. "Is that all?" Une nodded and he left to find his new office and his new partner. Duo, of course, was nowhere to be seen.

The idea of being with Duo was one thing, reality hadn't been so ideal or easy. Duo was friendly on the surface; polite, and elusive. He volunteered for every opportunity to work solo. At a meeting with Une, Duo suggested that Trowa and Zechs were imminently more qualified to work together on a particular case; that Duo was correct didn't make it easier.

Being paired with Trowa could have been overcome but Duo's skills were needed on one of the more remote satellites, keeping him off earth for weeks. Although working with Trowa had had some unexpected benefits, finding that Quatre would be his friend and partner in crime was one.

Quatre's sharp intelligence and wicked sense of humor weren't as suprising as his finely honed empathy which seemed to make his acceptance of Zechs almost effortless. Being accepted by those closest to Duo was helpful; being aided and abetted by Duo's friends was even better.

Duo had returned from his assignment and the case Zechs had worked on with Trowa had been finished up today. Duo had returned and managed to avoid Zechs. Zechs was tired of waiting. He'd begun to have fantasies about sex in the office. Fantasies that involved his desk and Duo naked...he intended to resolve the situation. Although he was sure that however things ended up he'd not stop fantasizing about Duo and sex.

Zechs was startled from his thoughts by Trowa.

"We're here, are you ready?" Trowa pulled the car to the curb.

"I'm sorry. I was thinking about...things." Zechs opened the car door and got out.

"Things named Duo?" Trowa locked the car and started for the restaraunt.

Zechs smiled and nodded. Duo was his, even if he didn't know it yet.

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