Author: BleedToBlue
Genre: Gundam Wing Fanfiction
Pairing: 6x2, 1xR, 3x4, hints of 5x2
Warning: m/m, possibly R-ish

The Entropy of Memory + Chapter 4

The new-and-not-necessarily improved Zechs was how Duo had come to regard his partner since the lunch fiasco. He was still considering the freighter to Mars as a viable option. When he'd checked with Une earlier in the day there were no missions on the far side of the sphere or on a distant satellite that called for his expertise. Une had looked at him in a decidedly odd manner when he'd asked about it.

"Agent Maxwell, if you don't take the time-off you put in for I'll put you on administrative leave and ask Sally Po to do a full work-up to determine if you are physically and mentally fit for duty." Une smiled in a decidedly shark-like manner and added. "Do you understand me, Mr. Maxwell?"

Well....eeep. "Yes, ma'am." he'd all but squeaked in answer as he'd backed out of her office.

"And Duo?" Une's voice stopped him in his tracks.

"Yes?"

"Try to relax and enjoy yourself, it won't kill you."

Une was scary.

Zechs was in their office working steadily at his computer while Duo sat and alternately watched Zechs surreptitiously or stared at his own computer screen where he'd pulled up a schedule of departures for Mars, just for fun. Looking at Zechs had become a very bad habit and one he couldn't quite break. There was so much of Zechs to look at, and it was all good.

Duo double checked the freighter schedule and thought about calling Howard to see if there was an unscheduled salvage run going...anywhere.
The Sweepers were a definite possibility, but he supposed that was one of the first places anyone would look for him. And Howard would want an explanation for his sudden need to disappear. Nope, the chance for a clean escape wasn't looking really positive.

He should have been helping finish the reports but somehow his heart wasn't in it. He didn't like paperwork or writing up reports at the best of times. This wasn't the best of times. He certainly wasn't in any hurry to start his weekend of fun-with-a-capital-F (and that stood for fucked in his book.) Which brought his attention back in circular fashion to his partner and he stifled a groan at the way his own thoughts betrayed him.

It was just going on noon when Zechs surprised him by announcing, in that particularly irritating tone of voice that Duo defined as 'bossy’, that the reports were finished and as soon as Une had them they could leave.

Duo didn't know if Zechs had used magic, or voodoo, or sheer force of will. Like Heero he wasn't bothered by small things like mounds of paperwork, other people's schedules, or the rules of nature; they just didn't seem to apply to him. For just a moment he found himself wishing he could talk to Heero; about Quatre, about Zechs, about how much he missed his best friend.

"I'll inform Lady Une that we are finished." Zechs announced in a brisk and businesslike voice he reserved for the office. And usually Duo wasn't bothered much by it but Zechs had been different since the lunch with Quatre. He decided to ignore the annoying tone of voice.

"Better you than me." Duo answered in a low sing-song voice, not intending Zechs to hear it, not looking up. He was not going to watch Zechs walk away no matter how much he enjoyed the view. He did look up when he heard the door close and was surprised to find Zechs standing there, watching him.

"I feel I owe you an apology." And Zechs didn't look too happy about it Duo thought but this should be good.

"You do?" Duo blurted out. Surprise and suspicion, mostly suspicion, rendered Duo capable of mere monosyllables. He didn't want an apology was what he had meant to say because he knew he owed Zechs one. And he didn't want to go down that conversational path.

"I know you aren't exactly thrilled about spending the weekend with me but..." Duo cut Zechs off before he could get any further.

"I'm spending the weekend with friends; you're going to be there, too. We aren't spending the weekend 'together' so don't apologise. You don't owe me anything."

Duo did think he was owed an apology for the whole 'ride up and show me the way' manuever but if Zechs couldn't see that, then Duo wasn't going to point it out. And plotting with Quatre, that was worth a little groveling, too. In Duo's opinion, though he was sure he wasn't getting an apology for that. And he wasn't sure why Zechs was apologising anyway.

"I see. None the less, I'm looking forward to it. I'd hoped you were as well. Even if you find my company less than desirable." Zechs replied in an even tone, and seemed less offended than Duo expected. Trust Zechs to be polite and well mannered, and make him feel rude and uncouth. He wasn't going to apologise.

Zechs didn't offer any more apologies and his voice returned to brisk and businesslike. "I'll speak with Une." He paused a moment, and added. " And Duo."

"Yeah?"

"Mars really isn't very nice this time of year."

Duo managed to get his mouth closed as Zechs' footsteps disappeared down the hall. Zechs was tricky.

Duo was looking forward to a last free evening without any structure before leaving for Quatre's. Quatre always had a schedule. The war had only honed his skills as a tactician, and running WEI had given Quatre a whole new outlook on time management. He liked to get the maximum for his time and effort.

Duo foresaw that one day he'd arrive at one of Quatre’s get-to-gethers to find Quatre handing out schedules. Quatre had already called several times to talk about his plans, and fill Duo in on some sort of renovations that were going on but Duo had to admit he wasn't much interested and had only paid limited attention.

As soon as he was sure Zechs had made it to the elevator Duo shut down his computer, giving one last look at the Mars departures and headed for the parking garage. If Duo knew anything about Zechs and Une it wouldn't be a quick conversation. No point in waiting around.

The hand on his shoulder was a surprise, and he turned with a start to see Zechs wearing a smile that was very similar to the scary Une smile. Busted. The hand tightened as Zechs said, "Maxwell, I will pick you up in one hour."

Duo blurted out, "What happened to tomorrow morning?" He didn't whine, really, he was sure it hadn't come out as a whine. And he didn't care much for Zechs' tone.

"Change of plans. We can get away early. One hour, in front of your apartment." Zechs' hand was still on his shoulder and Duo noticed that the busy hallway was filled with agents and other people and that they were all looking. Not the best time or place for a 'discussion.' Zechs was still waiting for an acknowledgement.

Duo nodded, shrugged the hand off his shoulder, and headed to his car.
On the way home he contemplated hiding in his apartment and not going which sounded good until he got to the part where Quatre sent the Maguanacs to retrieve him and Trowa pounded him for upsetting Quatre.

His afternoon was topped off by the blinking light on his answering machine. Quatre's face popped up, very pleased and excited. "Zechs says you are coming early. I'm so happy you can make it this evening...don't bother to eat on the road, we'll have a late supper here and..."

There was more, quite a bit more but Duo turned it off and went into the bedroom to pack.

Zechs timing was impeccable; the phone rang as Duo finished zipping up his duffle bag. Zechs was almost as punctual as Heero, a disturbing trend in comparsions was emerging and Duo wasn't sure it was a good thing at all.

It wasn't that Zechs was like Heero. Heero was blunt, to the point, and often spoke in cryptic monosyllables. Zechs was witty and charming, and considerate of other people's feelings and made Duo feel things he'd never felt before. He loved Heero and whatever he felt for Zechs was entirely beside the point.

Time had made thinking about Heero less painful and time would take care of everything else, too. Duo thought it would be good when he could go back to being friends with Heero. Friends, partners, nothing more complicated or painful or confusing. The phone was still ringing.

He thought about ignoring it, about not answering the door, and wondered just how long it would take Zechs to find his apartment and if Zechs could pick locks; if he'd dare. Duo thought he just might, his collaboration with Quatre proved he was sneaky and underhanded. He picked up the phone not bothering with 'hello.'

"I'm on my way." and hung up without waiting for a response.

Duo took a last look around his peaceful, tidy little apartment, sighed and closed the door behind him.

Zechs was waiting in front of the apartment building; wearing a smug expression, and draped decoratively against a shiny, low-slung sports car. Somehow Duo found the expression and the expensive silver automobile annoying. Zechs looked as sleek and exotic as the car and the smug look told Duo he knew exactly how good he looked.

Duo scowled instead of saying hello, and had the satisfaction of seeing Zechs’ smug expression waver a bit. Duo threw his bag into the already open trunk, climbed into the car and slammed the door. He watched as Zechs walked to the driver's side and wondered how the man was going to fit those long legs into the small car.

Zechs had little difficulty fitting into the car Duo noted sourly, and had recovered his self-assurance. Zechs closed his own door and grinned over at Duo. "I guess this means no kiss hello?" Then had the nerve to laugh at Duo's expression.

'Oh,' Duo thought, 'It's going to be a very long trip.'

[ch. 3] [ch. 5] [back to BleedToBlues' fic]