Author: BleedToBlue
Genre: Gundam Wing
Pairing: 6x2, 3x4, 1xR, hint of 5x2.
Warning: Suggested m/m
Follow Up to Just a Wedding

Disclaimer: I don't own them, and make no profit from them

A/N: Much thanks and gratitude to marasminefor beta-ing, all her invaluable help and for being a good friend.

I appreciate all the encouragement and kind reviews I've received. Thanks for reading.

The Entropy of Memory + Chapter 5

Traffic was heavy. They didn't make small talk but sat in a not quite uncompanionable silence, some sort of soft music playing, the sleek car sliding in and out of the knots and tangles made by other, less skilled drivers. From the corner of his eye Duo saw Zechs glance at him now and again, and once noticed a small smile ghost over his face; there and gone so quickly he almost doubted he saw it. Duo turned his head away and stared out the window, watching the city go by.

Duo could see his reflection in the glass and Zechs' as well, could see Zechs watching him, glancing first at the road and then back. Duo didn't really want to start the weekend off with an argument but he wanted to clear the air. Zechs spoke first, before Duo could decide what he wanted to say, how he wanted to say it.

"You look exhausted, Maxwell. Try and get some sleep."

Duo snorted, trust Zechs to sound thoughtful and concerned just when he wanted to tell him to leave him alone. He wanted to deny that he was tired but the yawn he tried to stifle gave him away. Now Zechs had a definite grin and Duo closed his eyes so that he didn't have to see Zechs’ grin.. He felt, not uncomfortable in the situation but as if something had changed. Duo couldn't be sure he liked it. He wasn't sure what Zechs was so pleased about, he had a nagging feeling that it had something to do with Quatre's meddling; well, that was another talk he'd have to have.

A sarcastic "Yes, Mom," was the best comeback Duo could manage, another
indication of how tired he really was. It didn't seem to phase Zechs in the least. He looked quite pleased with himself.

Duo wanted to ask why, why are you here, what do you want, why do you care, but couldn't think of a good way to phrase the questions; or maybe he just didn't want to hear the answers. He also refrained from asking how Zechs was going to find Quatre's without his invaluable assistance since he already knew that answer.

Zechs seemed to be something of a mind reader. He promptly grinned as if Duo had asked the question outloud and added, "I'll wake you up when I need directions."

"Zechs?" It was now or never, might as well get if over with, he didn't want to wait until they were at Quatre's.

"Yes?" Zechs glanced over at Duo, something in Duo's voice; determination maybe, had put a wary look on Zechs' face.

"Hey, today... in the office...I shouldn't have snarled at you but..I don't understand why you let Quatre push you into this." Duo's tone was puzzled.

"You don't think I wanted to spend time with you and get to know your friends?"

"I don't understand why you would. Since you've been my partner, I've avoided you, been rude to you, and ignored you. I don't think that makes me good company." Duo decided brutal honesty might work.

"I acted like an ass at Heero's wedding. I didn't even tell you I was leaving. Une made a mistake putting us together. We aren't friends, I'm not comfortable working with you. I don't think I can do this and I don't understand why you even want to?"

Zechs expression was hard to read. "We'll talk about it later. You're tired, get some rest."

Duo just looked at him and started to speak, Zechs interrupted. "We'll talk about it later. I promise."

Duo shrugged and turned his face to the window. He didn't feel better, it wasn't settled, and he was pretty sure he didn't want to talk about 'it' later. He didn't like the way Zechs said 'I promise.'

He hadn't planned on sleeping but the next thing he knew someone was shaking his shoulder. He'd was caught in a strange dream; Heero was standing next to him and trying to tell him something but Duo couldn't understand. He was trying to warn him but about what Duo didn't know. Duo could hear someone calling his name.

But it wasn't Heero, it was Zechs.

"Duo? Duo. Wake up, we have a problem."

Duo was wide-awake in that instant; Zechs was watching the rearview mirror. They were traveling down a two-lane blacktop that Duo recognized as being the last main road before the private drive leading to the Winner cabin. A long, narrow, winding road with spectacular drop-offs into deep gorges and canyons. In the daylight you could look down and see how far to the bottom but at night it was just black and empty.

The night was dark and broken clouds obscured the stars, occasionally the clouds would move and shift, then a bit of the crescent moon showed but it gave little light. Duo caught a glimpse of a car some distance back, running without lights. He didn't think they'd just forgotten to turn them on, probably had night vision goggles. The roads were too dangerous otherwise.

"How long?" Duo asked as he unfastened his seat belt and reached to pull his gun from the small of his back. Zechs glanced over, surprise on his face.

"I missed that." Duo grinned at his admission.

"I never go anywhere unarmed; I'm on too many people's 'Needs to Die' lists." Duo noticed the big gun lying in Zechs lap; his name was on a lot of those lists, too. Duo didn't mention the knife in his boot.

"Put your seatbelt back on." That command voice was back, Duo knew they were most definitely going to have a talk about that. But it was Zechs' car, and he was right.

"How long?" Duo repeated his question as he laid his gun in his lap and refastened his seatbelt. Then he checked the clip, flipped the safety off, and waited for an answer.

"I wasn't sure in the city, not until the moon came out and I caught a glimpse of them with their lights off." Zechs was driving fast over the narrow curving road that wound through the mountains. They weren't too far from Quatre's but Duo didn't want to lead them there in case they didn't already know the location. Quatre had lots of security but better they lost them or lead them away.

"I could be having a quiet evening at home." It was the first reference Duo had made to their early departure. "This is too much like my day job." He gave a small laugh but Zechs frowned.

"I thought an unscheduled departure might prevent any problems." Zechs was expecting problems? As if he'd heard Duo's thoughts he continued. "Just good practice to change things up."

"If this was planned or they are professionals there'll be a second car or a sniper with a night scope ahead." Duo stated the obvious and Zechs gave him an irritated glance.

"They couldn't have had time to get a sniper ahead of us." He responded.

"Maybe." Duo replied. It all depended on how someone had known they'd be there, and when; Duo started to run over the possibilities in his mind.

The car behind them pulled closer and that was saying a lot about its capabilities; Zechs' car was very fast and he was pushing the limits for the road. His driving skills were more than adequate; excellent in fact, Duo noted, but the road was narrow and situated on the edge of dangerous cliffs.

It was not an ideal place to exchange gunfire or risk being run off the road; being run off the road meant a long fall to the bottom of a deep ravine. A long stretch of straight road up ahead might be an ideal location for a sniper.

Duo pulled his cellphone from his pocket and called Quatre to alert his security to their problem. He could hear Trowa in the background giving instructions before he disconnected. They just needed to stay out of trouble until help arrived. He hadn’t forgotten that sometimes trouble doesn't always come from an external source. He wondered how the people in the other car knew where they’d be.

The car following them turned on its lights, they must have realized that they'd been seen or maybe they just didn't care anymore. That seemed ominous to Duo. The car was still too far back for handguns and it wasn't war; they couldn't just shoot people without provocation. Driving with your lights off was stupid but it didn't make people assassins or criminals. Zechs had reached a series of sharp curves and the car trailing them dropped back.

"There's a fire road around the next bend." Duo told Zechs. "Hit the brakes as soon as we're around the curve, then make a hard right past the third marker post; we might be able to lose them." He'd driven his motorcycle on these roads often on his way to Quatre's. He knew them first hand, fire roads were fun, at least on a bike; Zechs' car wasn't made for off-road.

Duo hoped the other car wouldn't make the curve until they were off the main road. "Downshift when I tell you, don't hit the brakes until after the curve, cut your lights." Duo instructed Zechs who nodded in agreement. It gave Duo a small, surprising thrill that Zechs trusted him and was willingly to follow his lead, no questions asked.

"I'll count off the posts, hit the brakes after the third one and make a hard right turn." Duo said as the curve loomed ahead. Duo counted, calling the numbers aloud; Zechs hit the brakes on 'three' and made the hard turn onto the dirt road, wrestling the small car over ruts and between trees and through heavy brush. Branches scraped down the side of the car; Duo winced, Zechs' shiny paint job would be ruined.

The small car bounced, lurched, and bottomed out on the hard packed dirt road. Duo thought it sounded a lot like the undercarriage was being ripped out. Zechs pulled the car into the deep shadows of the trees and cut the engine.

The night was silent except for the whine of a car in the distance. Duo and Zechs stared out into the night, guns out, watching and waiting. Duo's heart was pounding in his ears. The only other sounds Duo heard were Zechs' soft breathing and his clothes rustling as Zechs shifted in his seat. The space between them fairly crackled with tension and electricity, or maybe, Duo thought, maybe it was his imagination.

Duo glanced over at Zechs and saw a flash of white teeth out of the darkness as Zechs grinned at him. Zechs presence filled the small car. Duo could smell his aftershave, the leather of his jacket, all mingled with gun oil and the smell of the pine trees. He'd sat in the dark with others in dangerous situations; this seemed familiar, exciting and somehow comforting.

Duo chalked the rush up to being in a dangerous situation but he felt hyper aware of Zechs; his warmth, his nearness. They sat, guns in hands, waiting in the darkness. The car didn't return.

The inside of the car was compact; an apt description was that climbing into it was more like putting it on than getting into it. Zechs shifted, restless in his seat, his body inclined towards Duo. One hand made an abortive gesture in his direction, the other still held his gun.

It was probably a side effect of the adrenaline rush, but for a moment Duo thought about reaching out, grabbing Zechs by the shirt, winding his hand in all that hair, and kissing him. Thought about how his mouth would be hot and wet, lips parting, letting his tongue in, tasting Zechs. His heart pounded, and his blood burned through his veins. Duo gripped his gun tighter.

Instead of leaning closer to Zechs, Duo turned and stared out the window, into the dark and put the thought of how Zechs felt in his arms and the idea of kissing him out of his mind. If he had looked back at Zechs he might have seen a look that mirrored the disappointment he felt. A feeling he wasn't going to examine too closely.

"I don't think they're coming back. Either we lost them or they realized we called for back-up." Zechs voice was a hoarse whisper; husky and intimate.

Duo heard Zechs settle back in his seat. Kissing your partner in the heat of the moment was a bad idea, a really bad idea, Duo reminded himself. He didn't need anymore complications in his life; Duo wished his hormones would realize that fact and cooperate by going away.

"What was that about?" Duo asked, puzzled and thinking out loud now. "What were they doing?" The car hadn't tried to run them off the road, no shots fired, no sign of a sniper; maybe they hadn't been following them after all.

Maybe it wasn't anything more exciting than someone driving down a dangerous road at night with their lights off. Maybe.

Duo called Quatre to let him know their location and soon the road would be crawling with cars and security people. Maybe they'd over reacted, and it was all for nothing but maybe not.

As security arrived they caught a ride back to Quatre's and left Zechs now slightly less shiny car to be examined and towed to a garage for repairs. Zechs and Duo rode in silence back to the cabin, each lost in their own thoughts. There was no sign of the car that had followed them but then it had had plenty of time to disappear into the night. Duo wasn't looking forward to dealing with the aftermath but thought with some anticipation of a hot shower, a comfortable bed, and some distance from his partner.

[ch. 4] [ch. 6] [back to BleedToBlues' fic]